Title: Cruel War (Gilded Sovereign #1)
Author: Dani René
Genre: New Adult, Dark, Bully Romance
Publisher: Dani René Books
Publication date: September 2019
Ebook: 237 pages
My Rating: ★★★★


I hate her. I want Dahlia to pay. Tynewood is my town, and she doesn’t belong here. While rage fuels me, my blood burns with desire.
I want vengeance, and I’ll get it.
No. Matter. What.
We’re on opposite sides of the battlefield — a poised flower, a raging warrior, and a mountain of secrets between us.
I knew he was bad news the moment I laid eyes on him. Anger and lust swirl together when he looks at me, but I don’t know why. War has commenced, and as secrets unfold, it looks like the battle has only just begun. He wants to hurt me. He loves to see me cry.
What Ares Lancaster doesn’t realize is, I’m not afraid of the darkness inside him.
Lies. Revenge. Bloodshed.
When war comes to a head, nobody is safe from the destruction it leaves in its wake.


Cruel War is the first book in The Gilded Sovereign series and can be read as a stand-alone. The blurb intrigued me, I have read other books by Dani Rene and was familiar with her darker style of writing and this one was right up my alley.

" Revenge, like power and greed, is insatiable. It craves, it poisons, and it infests you like an addiction, and you’ll never be free."

A secret society, lies, deceit and an intricate plot, this story gripped me from the first pages. Ares is out for revenge after witnessing a terrible crime at a tender age. His family is part of a secret society that governs the world and now he and his best friends are meant to be the leaders of this organization. They rule the town of Tynewood, like gods among mortals. But when by a twist of destiny Dahlia enters his life, something else besides hatred starts nestling in Ares’s heart. He wants to punish her for her father’s sins but Dahlia, though innocent and kind-hearted, is also feisty and strong-headed and challenges him at every turn, which makes Ares fall in love with her. I loved their banter and constant teasing, it was a battle of wills between them. It was a slow burn romance, but when they finally got together their chemistry was explosive.

“I don’t know why, but there’s this tether between us, and I’m about to tie it even tighter.”

The secondary characters were also intriguing. Ares’s best friends and his brother Phillipe made this story even more appealing. I hope they each get their own book because I need to know more about all those charismatic gods.

The writing was engaging, the pacing was good and I enjoyed the dual 1st person POV. A dark romance full of angst, secrets, and twists, this book will keep you glued to the pages. If you like the enemies to lovers trope you definitely need to give this book a try. I recommend it!