Review – Empire by Rachel Van Dyken



** This book CANNOT read as a stand alone. **

I have lost everything.

My purpose

My love

My soul

Death knocks on my door, I want to answer, but every time I reach for the handle — the promise I made her brings me back.

So I breathe.

I live.

I hate.

And I allow the anger to boil beneath the surface of a perfectly indifferent facade. I am broken, I don’t want to be fixed.

But the Empire is crumbling and it’s my job to fix it.

My job to mend the pieces that were scattered over thirty years ago.

A trip to New York, only one chance to redeem a lost part of our mafia family.

The only issue is, the only way to fix it, is to do something I swore I’d never do again.

An arranged marriage.

Only this time,

I won’t fall.

Or so help me God, I will kill her myself.

My name is Sergio Abandonoto, you think you know my pain, my suffering, my anger, my hate?

You have no idea.

I am the mafia.

I am the darkness.

Blood in. No out.

Rebecca Review-001

5starEmpire cannot be read as a stand alone, you must read the beginning of Sergio’s journey in Elude. As always, my review is spoiler free, but please proceed with caution if you haven’t read the previous books in this series. You can read our review of Elude HERE.

It has been almost a full year since Rachel Van Dyken wrecked my heart with Elude, and to say I’ve been anxious for Empire is an understatement. I learned a while ago to trust completely in RVD and have faith she would deliver exactly what readers longed for. However, I wasn’t prepared for how emotionally exhausting Empire is, and it easily ties Ember as my favorite book in the series. From the dedication page until the the last chapter, I felt with all my reading soul the gut wrenching story of Sergio and Val.

“Life is full of two-twirl moments–don’t allow her to settle for only one.”

When I started crying on Chapter 2 of this book, I knew this was going to be a devastating read. I think watching someone learn to move on is even more difficult than loss itself. Sergio is just going through the motions and my heart ached for him immensely. Val is a refreshing change and nothing like the other ladies of this series. I immediately loved her innocence and child like charm. Not only is she a book nerd, but she is witty and caring to her overbearing family. She is exactly what Sergio needed, even if he refuses to see it. I wanted to hug Sergio one moment and slap him the next. Their journey is intense and filled with a vast array of emotions. There are highs and lows, laughter and tears, and heartbreak and healing.

“Sometimes, it’s nice to be someone’s hero. Just for once.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be Eagle Elite without new revelations and plot twists. Even after seven books, they remain fresh and completely unexpected. Frank has been a prominent character since the early books, but he really shines through in Empire. I enjoyed being inside his head and seeing him battle his inner demons. We are introduced to new and interesting characters, including my favorite, Dante. As always, RVD does a magnificent job of balancing intense moments with fun and light-hearted ones. At this point, all the characters feel like family, and I treasure the extra scenes with Nixon and crew. I can’t tell you how many times I laughed through tears, and that is a testament to just how incredible this book is. Yes, there are sad moments, but I smiled more than I cried, and couldn’t have loved it more.

I will be counting the days until the next installment. Eagle Elite has become one my favorite contemporary series of all time, and I highly recommend it to any adult romance reader.

The loving couple in the rain

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Get the beginning of Sergio’s story in Elude on sale now. 


Meet The Author-001


Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!
Want to be kept up to date on new releases? Text MAFIA to 66866!

You can connect with her on Facebook or join her fan group Rachel’s New Rockin Readers. Her website is

Amazon Author Page:


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