Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

“King of Wrath” review: A spicy introduction to the “Kings of Sin” series

Courtesy of Piatkus Books

When I first got back into reading in May 2023, I thought I knew the tropes I loved in books. However, the more books I read, the more I am thankful that I am so wrong about my favorite romance book styles.

I picked up “King of Wrath” by Ana Huang after a month-long reading slump, and it was the perfect book to pull me out of it. Billionaire romance, hate to love, and an arranged marriage are just a few tropes Huang delivers perfectly in the first book of her ‘Kings of Sin’ series, a steamy seven-book series themed around the seven deadly sins. This spicy romance novel follows Dante Russo, the arrogant and ruthless billionaire CEO of the Russo Group, and Vivian Lau, an ambitious and elegant heiress to the Lau Jewels fortune. Neither wants to wed, but due to secrets and lies, both must put what they want aside for the protection and security of their families, despite severely disliking one another.

“King of Wrath” explores a “rags to riches” story with Vivian, detailing how the Lau family rose to their fortune. But it also offers a “rich to richer” story with Dante and the effects of his upbringing in a luxurious family and lifestyle. Adding the contrasting lifestyles between Dante and Vivian while exploring the similarities they have about money, relationships, and family adds depth to the plot, bringing their love story to a new level. I loved how the old and new money families were portrayed in “King of Wrath,” with new money families not typically being seen in billionaire romances. While a billionaire lifestyle is unfamiliar to readers, Huang did not lose the sense of vulnerability and fear we all have as humans, a thing that made me feel connected to an otherwise foreign story.

Because Dante is married to his work and never planned to marry, and because Vivian only agrees to their arranged marriage out of duty to her family, “King of Wrath” is immediately full of hatred and tension with a heavy underlying tone of love and lust. The melding of the two seemingly opposite characters was sweetly portrayed. Vivian is a headstrong female lead who knows what she wants and refuses to have anyone hold her back from it. Meanwhile, Dante is a possessive and jealous male lead set in his ways. The supposed dislike and disdain for one another builds up to beautiful love confessions and intoxicating spicy chapters. Their hot and cold relationship caused me to get so wrapped up in their story that I was reading it during any spare minute I had.

Huang’s side characters are beautifully captured and drove me to crave more of their stories. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: books are nothing without the added details of the supporting characters. Huang gives the right amount of attention to others without taking away from the main love interests in “King of Wrath. Sloane and Isabella, for example, set up potential leads in other books that fall under the billionaire love trope. If you read and loved Ana Huang’s popular “Twisted” series, you’ll love the character mentions (I’m looking at you Christian Harper fans) in this series, which is set in the same universe.

While I am a slow-burn romance reader at heart, the pacing of “King of Wrath” could not have been more perfect. Dante and Vivian’s love story takes place over the course of a year with the pacing being a faster pace than I would normally prefer. However, Huang still achieves the tension, yearning, and uncertainty a slower-paced book would hold. This, paired with the swoon-worthy dialogue from Dante Russo and the powerful voice of Vivian Lau, made for an excellent winter break read.

“King of Wrath” is the perfect book for book lovers who get entangled in love stories centered around secrets and slow angst, and want to plummet into rich worlds that are unfamiliar to themselves. It quickly became my favorite romance read of 2023. If you end up loving “King of Wrath”, be sure to keep up with the ongoing ‘Kings of Sin’ series with the April 30th release of the fourth book, “King of Sloth.”

A quote from the novel that I think encapsulates its themes well is: “Somehow, somewhere along the way, I’d fallen in love … Not like or lust. Love, in all its terrifying, unpredictable, unwanted glory.”

5/5 stars.

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