Helllooooo, bibliophiles! Long time, no see! I know I warned you all I was starting a bit of a lengthy series and I would be M.I.A. until it was finished, but I didn’t know it would take this long. Let me explain. Aside from real life and the silliness of adulthood, I needed emotional and mental breaks from my current series. I knew going into it that it was a dark romance, but I wasn’t prepared for how dark. It was consuming and wound up shattering my soul to the core. What book or series could possibly do such a thing? The Indebted series by Pepper Winters.
It all starts with book one, Debt Inheritance. I was not sure I know what to do with this story once I was done. How could only 200+ pages be so dark and twisted? As I kept forging ahead, I repeated, “this is so f*cked up”. However, I couldn’t let issues and conflict go unanswered, so for my own sanity, I plowed ahead and moved forward.
Nothing about this story is pleasant. It probably makes you wonder why I kept reading it at all, right? The writing is gorgeous despite the ominous mood throughout and some sick side of me needed to keep going with it to find out how the hell all this madness ends. Like I stated prior, I needed a sense of closure.
Nila Weaver is part of a long line that owes a tremendous debt. No one knows what the debt consists of or why, but the Hawk clan are sharks in the water, and they want blood. Weaver blood.. and LOTS of it. Just as Nila reaches a pinnacle in her successful fashion design career, she’s all but swept away into Jethro Hawk’s custody before madness ensues and her future tumbles out of her control.
The poor girl is essentially stripped of her identity, made to sleep with dogs in a kennel, is barely given clothes or food, and has to serve everyone in the house, in any way they request, no questions asked. For everything she does correctly, and without argument, she gets a sliver of her own family history. For everything she refuses, she is punished severely and her life is threatened.
I’ve been warned that once this series ends, I’m going to need recovery time. I want to say I’m ready for it, but I’m not sure I can be 100% honest on that front. As I move on, you’ll see why.
Good gahhhhhh!!! Book two, First Debt, happens, and it’s brutal. What the hell is up with this series?! I mean, congrats to Pepper Winters because she has my sanity off its freaking rocker with the Hawk family.
I mean, I essentially knew what to expect from them, but when it came to Nila, her emotions and reactions, I was with Jethro because I was forever surprised. The heart and the mind are getting all mixed up and I could see this building to a bloody mess (quite literally, not just the cheeky expression).
How does it sit properly in a reader’s mind that the heroine of this saga is living in a massive English estate, among her family’s enemy, while she pays back debts that are centuries old before they eventually kill her… and she knows it’s coming? I know Nila was strictly in survival mode, but I did plenty of freaking out for her because as the story progresses, I kept thinking of what her end result was supposed to be and I was so uncomfortable knowing what was ahead for her.
Even accidentally stumbling across a few spoilers and knowing how some things would play out (I’m sorry, I couldn’t help knowing just a little for my own comfort), didn’t seem to help me sleep better at night for this poor girl. Holy Moses, what a roller coaster. I tried to plow through these books because they’re of reasonable length, but I couldn’t because the subject matter put me on overload.
I’m not kidding when I say these books might be the death of me. You think they can’t get worse as they progress, but they absolutely do, and book three, Second Debt, proves just that. Each individual installment was so twisted that my heart got palpitations from the ridiculous good vs. evil of these stories.
Nila Weaver is still under the control of the Hawk family. Centuries have passed and they’re above the law, so they get away with extracting debt from her against her will, as has been done for hundreds of years, only now, things are getting complicated and Nila is taking control.
One minute, I’m screaming at Nila to run from Jethro. Who sticks by the man who has been destined to torture and eventually kill you? While I understand the girl’s mentality and the line of her thought process, it’s still a LOT to wrap my brain around. I don’t think it’s something I’d be strong enough to do, but she’s in survival mode, so I had to give her credit for her bravery.
One small sliver of hope in this series was Jethro’s icy exterior FINALLY beginning to crack. I didn’t think it would, however, it’s scary to think that the more he begins to feel for Nila, the more danger he puts both of them in. They’re sharing a house with a family who wouldn’t hesitate to kill either of them.
When it came to this series, and book four, Third Debt, especially, I wasn’t sure how much more my heart could handle. Going into these books, I knew how rough it would be, and I was prepared for how brutal they really are, but I still felt blindsided every time I turned a page. Hell, I even came across some reviews with spoilers and knew (sort of) how it ended, and I was STILL beyond unsettled.
Nila and Jethro are playing with fire, and their lives are about to turn into a bloodbath. As much as they try to remain apart and fill their hearts with hate for one another, or just feel void of all emotions entirely, they can’t deny their destiny. They can’t deny each other anymore. Whether Jethro keeps popping pills and remaining secluded in his bachelor wing, or Nila spends time with his kinder brother, Kestrel, there’s still an undeniable love between them that they can’t hide from much longer, even if it would mean saving their own lives.
Nila’s days are numbered the longer she remains imprisoned with the Hawks. She’s coming to terms with her mortality, and it’s starting to break her. She needs Jethro now more than ever, but because of their surnames, he must do what he can to remain her mortal enemy, her tormentor, and her executioner.
While I worried endlessly for Nila, I was also very aware of Jethro, because the more he denied her and what his heart felt for her, the closer he was coming to his own demise. His father is watching his son’s every move, and he’s not happy. Unlike most fathers, he’s not afraid to kill, and now instead of one target, he has at least two.
I was petrified to move on, but move on to the next installment, I did!!
This series is absolutely unreal. My heart is shattered into a million pieces, my head is ready to explode, and I’ve been walking around in a funk since I began book one what feels like ages ago. Yet, still, I continue on because one, Pepper Winters has reeled me in hook, line, and sinker, and two, because I can’t stop now and not know how this saga will end.
As I was about 90% done with this installment, Fourth Debt, I thought, “You know what? All the torture and abuse that has happened throughout this story have been obliterated because when something good happens, it’s so unbelievable, that it just tramples over the darkness tenfold”. Never let yourself think that with these books.. not one of them.
Jethro and his brother, Kes, are dead, Vaughn (Nila’s twin brother) is in captivity, Jasmine, Jethro’s sister, is hindered by her family and kept from being Nila’s last hope, and Cut (Jethro’s father), Bonnie (Jethro’s grandmother), and Daniel (Jethro’s youngest brother), have increased their method of torture on Ms. Weaver to the point she finally begins to crack. Not just crack really, but splinter apart entirely. She tries desperately to cling to a sliver of hope to kill them all and get revenge for everyone and everything they’ve taken from her, but as days turn to weeks, she becomes a ghost of herself, and loses her spark by the minute. Which was exactly the Hawks’ goal.
Unbeknownst to her, help is on the way in the form of an army, but will they arrive too late to save her?
As usual, I was gobsmacked (yep.. went there). I had a feeling it would end the way it did, but I refuse to wrap my brain around it because it was too much to handle. I had nothing more to say than to just shut down and shut off the outside world until I could get through book six and the epilogue because the cliffhangers are shredded me apart, and I don’t enjoy a lack of closure. Even though my heart is ready to burst from the suspense and the amount of evil Nila and her few alliances must endure in order to simply survive, I still insisted on pressing on so that I would know they must be okay when I hit the last page of the final book. My fingers were forever crossed and I’m struggled onward no matter how much it hurt!
My thoughts weren’t even coherent by time I finished book six, Final Debt! What a ride! This story has gone so many different ways since I first began this journey, and almost everyone is completely changed compared to where they started.
The debts are coming due faster and in a much more brutal manner. Nila and Jethro are tested to their absolute limits. Honestly, the reason it took me so long to read this installment was because I had to keep taking breaks. Trying to understand the magnitude of the torture they were enduring both physically and mentally drove me insane to the point I found their story hard to handle and keep in the palm of my hand.
The entire concept behind this series is sick and twisted, but I couldn’t help but remain intrigued and find out if either of their characters were capable of proper change and a chance at a true future. I won’t spoil that aspect, but I will say this series has essentially rendered me speechless. What a powerful story. Told so brutally and in an absolutely stunning manner.
What a wonderful ending to a tale I wasn’t so sure would achieve any level of happiness what-so-ever!
This journey was a long one, and frankly, one that wrecked my emotions to no end. All along the way, I had friends who had read the series encourage me to stick with it, but at points, I had to wonder if they were nuts. Whenever I thought, “things can’t possibly get worse”, they always did, and I couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel for Nila or Jethro, and that broke my heart.
Reading the epilogue and finding out what happens after all the debts of the inheritance are repaid, brought immense closure to my mind and my heart. While it did go the way I thought it might, there were also a few surprises thrown into the mix which kept me on my toes as well. The epilogue did a fantastic job of giving me all I asked for and more as I trudged through the first six stories. That light I couldn’t see, finally made its presence known, and it was blinding in radiance and happiness!
Needless to say, friends, you’re not crazy for making me stick with this story. I’m insanely glad I saw it through to the end, and now, a messed up part of me is sad to leave these characters behind. My time at Hawksridge may have been terrifying at first, but eventually, it became a bit of a home, so I’m bummed to leave the hills and valleys of the English countryside with the Hawk family and find a new batch of characters to love.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need time to tend to my wounds and heal what’s left of my heart.