book reviews

ARC Review | King of Corium by C. Hallman & J.L. Beck

King of Corium by C. Hallman & J. L. Beck

♛ New Adult, Dark Romance

♛ Release Date: 10/25/2021

♛ ★★★★

Welcome to Corium University where criminal masterminds send their progeny to learn the trade and keep the family legacy going. Corium is the last place Aspen wants to be after her arms dealer father turns evidence over to the feds implicating the largest criminal families in the game. Unfortunately those criminals were a step ahead of him and now he’s sitting in prison instead and he’s taken his family down with him. 

Quinton Rossi, son of the most powerful criminal in the mob, heads to Corium for an escape from everything thats happened in his life over the last year- namely the feds showing up at his home and the untimely death of his sister Adela. The last thing he wants to deal with is sharing space with Aspen, the rat who’s father attempted to ruin the lives of his family and so many others. One thing is for sure though- if he has to live in the same building with her he’s going to make sure she pays for the crimes of her parents. One rule of Corium is that they are not to kill one another but when Quinton is done with Aspen she’ll be wishing for death. 

Corium is a dark mafia romance thats not for the feint of heart. There are a lot of scenes where there is no consent given for sexual acts and that non-consent isn’t challenged in the book. Personally this doesn’t bother me. When I go into a dark romance book like this I am accepting that these types of themes are most likely present. So if you’re a reader that would be triggered by this or a reader that feels the need to police all the nuances of the books they read than I recommend skipping this one.

I feel this book had equal amounts of things I liked and things that I didn’t. I LOVED the set-up for the story. A secret school for criminals hidden in the wilds of Alaska? Yes, please. That setting drew me immediately to this title and it definitely delivered. As far as I can tell the Alaskan wilderness will play an even bigger role in book two. Aspen showing up at this school after what her father did would take a lot of bravery. I think Aspen was portrayed well as far as being a woman who was clearly lonely and desperate for a friend but still tough enough to push back against her attackers. I liked her a lot. I also feel the authors were successful in making me like Quinton despite all that he does to Aspen for his own gain. I was definitely invested in the story and actually felt real sadness when I reached the end… especially once I read that cliffhanger. I’ll warn all potential readers right now: the cliffhanger is KILLER- and book two doesn’t come out until January. Honestly? Knowing what I know now I probably would have held off on reading this one until closer to the next installments release because that ending physically hurt my heart. 

I do have a few criticisms but nothing that would stop me from reading the next book- as a matter of fact I plan to start one of the other series by this author duo in the mean time. The writing style felt a bit amateurish to me. Knowing these authors have written multiple books I will admit to being confused by this. The writing wasn’t bad by any means but it lacked flavor. One element of the writing that DID bother me was the authors use of the phrase “It feels like something bad is going to happen.” Instead of building up tension or foreboding organically the authors used this phrase. So instead of feeling that tension I was simply told that I should be feeling it. I did read an advanced copy of this book so it’s possible some changes were made in the final drafts. There is a lot of repetitive phrases and it always feels as though the author is trying to convince me of how tough Quinton is. So there were definitely a few things that could have used some polishing but all in all I quite liked this story. 

This series has great potential and King of Corium was a solid opener into the world. I’m beyond excited to get my hands on book two as soon as I can and to read some of their other titles until then. Please be aware of some trigger warnings: death of a sibling, abandonment, physical and emotional abuse, rape, starvation, and grief.

About the Authors

C. Hallman

J.L. Beck

J.L. Beck and C. Hallman are an international bestselling author duo who writes dark and contemporary romance.

J.L Beck is a USA Today bestselling author, she has written over fifty different romance novels. She started her writing journey back in 2014 and hasn’t slowed down a second since then. She’s captivated by real romance and loves reading about “ALPHA” males, as well as sassy heroines that know or may not know what they want. She is best known for delivering a happily ever after but has ended things on a cliffhanger a time or two.

C. Hallman is a USA Today bestselling author who wrote her debut novel in 2018. Born and raised in Germany, Cassandra moved to the United States when she was eighteen. She’s now a mom to three boys and happily married. With a love for reading, that love slowly transpired into writing. She put fingers to the keyboard and started writing about the dark side of romance.

In January 2019, the two authors teamed up and wrote their first novel together, Convict Me. The book turned into a popular six-part dark romance series. Quickly, the pair realized how great they worked together snd decided to write as a duo indefinitely. Since then, they have published four successful series including the international bestseller The North Woods University series and the Amazon top 75 Bestseller Savage Beginnings.

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Check out their website here for more info!

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