Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review of Larissa Ione's Immortal Rider

Title: Immortal Rider (Lords of Deliverance #2)
Author: Larissa Ione
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Format: Mass Market Paperback & eBook
Source: NetGalley & Purchased
Publication Date: November 22, 2011
Rating: 4 out of 5

I’m a big fan of Larissa Ione’s paranormal romances, both her Demonica series and her current spin-off series, Lords of Deliverance. In November I was so excited to find a copy of Immortal Rider in the stores early that I bought a copy, forgetting that I had an e-ARC on my Kindle (oops). But I made the mistake of reading a few negative reviews before I read the book, and they put me off reading the book for a while. I just finished the book the other night, and now I really regret having read those reviews, because I absolutely loved the book! Ms. Ione does a great job of incorporating her usual sense of humor and sizzling romance in this book, while this book is a shade darker in tone than her previous books (not unexpectedly, given the subject matter of the coming apocalypse). That said, the one issue that bothered the other reviewers did bother me as well, which prevents me from giving this a full 5 out of 5. Even so, this is a great addition to the series.
If you’ve never read any of the Demonica or Lords of Deliverance books, I highly suggest you not begin with Immortal Rider, because the world building is complex. It’s very well done, and each of the novels includes a glossary at the beginning or end of the book, but I’m not a fan of having to turn back and look up terms when I’m reading. That said, you CAN start the Lords of Deliverance  series with the first book, Eternal Rider, since that’s the beginning of a new series and the set up is explained. I reviewed Eternal Rider last year here , and it was the first of Ms. Ione’s books I’d ever read. I was able to follow along without any difficulties, but I fear that would not be the case with Immortal Rider.
Each of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse carries a seal. If that seal is broken, the world finds itself one step closer to the Apocalypse and said Horseman transforms from kick-ass immortal into scary Apocalypse bringer. This happens to Reseph, who becomes Pestilence, in the last book of the Demonica series, setting up the action for the Lords of Deliverance. The three remaining Horsemen (Ares, Limos, and Thanatos) have managed to avoid breaking their seals thus far and are actively fighting Pestilence or searching for ways to restore their brother to his Reseph persona. Limos, who would be Famine if her seal were broken, is the only female of the group, and Immortal Rider is her book.
As the book begins, the three siblings are celebrating Ares’ marriage to Cara, when human ally Arik Wagner makes the mistake of planting a very passionate kiss on Limos. Big mistake, because Limos is Satan’s fiancée, and he is a very jealous demon. Demons appear and drag Arik to Sheoul (hell) to torture him. If he says Limos’s name just once, she’ll be whisked back to hell and forced to marry Satan, who no doubt always leaves the toilet seat up.
Limos, her brothers, and their allies search for Arik, who has stubbornly refused to say Limos’ name. Once he manages his escape from hell, Limos has to convince him that he’s no longer being tortured and find a way to prevent both her marriage to her fiancé and the breaking of her seal. All of this is complicated by Limos’s penchant for lying, Pestilence’s attempts to kill his siblings and bring about the Apocalypse, and the untimely disappearance of the Horsemen’s angelic watchers, Harvester and Reaver. Oh, and there’s also the sizzling chemistry between Limos and Arik. So there’s LOTS going on in this book.
Larissa Ione’s books always have tons of action, scorching sex scenes, and lots of humor, and Immortal Rider is no exception. Limos and Arik are perfect for each other, as both have damaged pasts and are kick ass fighters. The book is chock full of action, with the Horsemen and their allies fighting off demons and Pestilence while searching for Arik. The fast pace of the action kept me turning the pages, and the smoking hot sex scenes will have you fanning yourself. And some of the characters’ one liners will have you rolling in the aisles (“Taj Mahell” and “The Biblical Horseman’s Secret Aegis Baby” were my favorites).
My biggest problem with the book (and that of other reviewers as well) has to do with a scene between Thanatos and a human ally of the Horsemen, Regan. Regan has been sent to seduce Thanatos. Unfortunately, she deceives him into having full-on intercourse when he’d explicitly stated that he did not want to have intercourse. And let’s face it – that’s rape. A lot of other reviewers have been uncomfortable with this scene, as was I, but Ms. Ione doesn’t pull her punches. The scene and its aftermath are uncomfortable for the reader deliberately. You SHOULD be uncomfortable with the scene, and the characters reflect that.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book, and I feel that the positive outweighs the negative with this book. I’m definitely intrigued about the third book in the series, Lethal Rider, which is coming out in May 2012, and will deal with the aftermath of Thanatos and Regan’s encounter.

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