Author: Larissa Ione
Plot Type: Soul Mate Romance (SMR)
NOVELS AND NOVELLAS
5.5 "Azagoth" (novella, 1001 Dark Nights, 6/2014)
6. Revenant (12/2014) (FINAL NOVEL)
Apocalypse: Lords of Deliverance Compendium (e-book, 5/2012)
Revenant—Reaver's fraternal twin brother—is the newest Sheoulic Watcher. He recently learned that his memory was wiped clean at least twice during his thousands of years of existence. He also has learned that he is an angel and that his mother was forced to choose which of her newborn twins would go to heaven and which would remain with her in the underworld. With a heavy heart, she kept Revenant and sent Reaver on to a much better heavenly life. As the book begins, Revenant is—understandably—an emotional mess. Satan no longer trusts him because he fears that Revenant will now turn his allegiance to the angels, but the angels don't want Revenant because he carries the taint of Satan's blood in his veins. (As an infant, Revenant was forcibly fed Satan's blood so that he would become an evil tool that Satan could use at will.)
In the midst of this emotional storm, Revenant falls for Blaspheme, a doctor at Eidolon's Underworld General Hospital. Blaspheme, who is masquerading as a False Angel, has her own identity problems. She is actually a vyrm—the winged offspring of an angel and a fallen angel—and is, thus, in danger from both Satan's demons and heaven's angels. Both sides consider the vyrm to be abominations who must be destroyed because they have the power to destroy the immediate family of an angel or a fallen angel with a mere second of eye contact. Ever since she was born, Blaspheme has hidden her true genetic heritage behind a cloaking spell that makes her appear to be a False Angel, but that spell is rapidly weakening, but Blaspheme is not willing to take a life—the requirement for regenerating her false-angel glamour.
So…both Revenant and Blaspheme have led difficult lives, and neither one trusts anyone. At this point, Revenant is being rejected by everyone, including his own twin brother and his niece and nephews—the four horsemen. Although Blaspheme's mother loves her and tries to protect her, she insists that Blaspheme must maintain her cloaking spell, which requires killing a fallen angel. Blaspheme's situation takes a major turn for the worst when an Eradicator Angel attempts to kill her mother and then goes after her. But never fear, Revenant isn't going to let anything happen to his lady love. The passion-filled romance between Revenant and Blaspheme doesn't always run smoothly, but you can be sure that an HEA is in their future.
Meanwhile, Satan has tasked Revenant with keeping Gethel alive and healthy until she gives birth to Lucifer, who is being reborn after his death in a previous book. Revenant wants Lucifer dead because he knows that Lucifer will take his place as Satan's right-hand man, so he tries to figure out how to make that happen. He decides to involve Blaspheme in Gethel's health-care situation for two reasons: It will give him a chance to get up close and personal with Blaspheme, and it will provide insight as to the state of Gethel's health. In a touching (and darkly humorous) series of scenes midway through the book, Blaspheme is horrified when she learns that Gethel plans to snack on a box of cute little kittens. By that time big, bad, scary Revenant's growing love for Blaspheme has made him so soft-hearted that he rescues the furry little creatures from their terrible fate.
The plot twists and turns as it moves back and forth between the two story lines. Adding to the drama is the hostile relationship between Reaver and Revenant and the knowledge that one of the archangels is involved in some behind-the-scenes plotting against Blaspheme and her mother. That's all the plot I'm willing to divulge because I don't want to give out any spoilers. Be ready for lots of deception, the disclosure of more long-held secrets, and a slam-bang final showdown that ties up all the loose threads in the series story arc for a long time to come.
Although one or two improbable coincidences pop up (particularly near the end), this finale is quite satisfying. The story moves along at a fast pace, and the romance has just enough angst to make it interesting but not overwhelmingly anguished. As always, the author weaves her trademark snarky humor throughout the story lines. For example, at one point, Blaspheme questions Revenant about what dark source he used to find a powerful spell…perhaps a dark sorcerer? "He shrugged. "Demonic Spells dot com." Apparently, even demons and angels know how to google.
Click HERE to read an excerpt from Revenant. Click HERE to read an extra epilogue that identifies the true father (sperm donor) of Idess and Lore's new baby.
This series is an follow-up to Ione's DEMONICA series and begins immediately after the fifth novel in that series: Sin Undone. Click HERE to read an overview of the mythology and reviews of the books in the DEMONICA series. Here are the titles of those books and the names of the lead lovers in each:
In the Prologue to Eternal Rider, Reseph's seal breaks, and he becomes evil-to-the-core Pestilence—the first of the Horsemen—and the countdown to Armageddon begins. Pestilence's goal is to break each of his siblings' Seals, beginning with Ares, whom we first met in Sin Undone (book 5 of DEMONICA). According to the rules of this diabolical game, each sibling has an Agimortus—a trigger that causes the Seal to break. The Agimortus for each sibling is different, and it may take the form of a person, an object, or an event. For Ares the trigger is the death of the being who has Ares' Agimortus symbol branded on his or her body. As the story begins, Ares' Agimortus is on the body of a fallen angel, but just before Pestilence kills him, the fallen angel quickly transfers the brand to a human woman: Cara Thompson, a beautiful, but emotionally damaged, woman who has a magical talent that she has tried to suppress. The story follows Ares and Cara as they attempt to evade Pestilence and (of course) fall for each other along the way. We also meet the rest of Ares' family: Thanatos ("Than"), who believes that his Seal will break if he has intercourse, and Limos, who must remain a virgin or she will become the bride of Satan—so now you know what the next two books will be about. Many of the leading characters from the DEMONICA SERIES show up, so if you haven't read that series, those parts of the story may be a bit confusing. I think, though, that you can understand the main points of the story without the DEMONICA background. After all, it follows the typical paranormal romance formula: meet, fall in lust, hate each other, have sex, like each other, have sex, achieve HEA, have more sex.
The third novel picks up the love/hate story of Thanatos ("Than") and Regan eight months after Regan's betrayal and Than's resulting violence at the end of Immortal Rider. Regan is now in the final weeks of her pregnancy and has been living in seclusion at Aegis headquarters in Germany. Than has spent the past eight months paralyzed and heavily sedated by Limo and Ares in order to keep him under control after he went on a mindless killing spree after Regan betrayed him. Having intercourse with Regan did not break Than's seal after all. As it turns out, Than's Agimortus is actually the baby. If the baby dies, Than's seal breaks. As the story opens, Than escapes and is able to track Regan down because of his connection with his unborn child. He kidnaps Regan from Aegis and brings her to his estate, planning to punish her, or kill her, for what she did to him. When Than learns she plans to give the child away, he is even more enraged. This, on top of his months of imprisonment, nearly drives him over the edge. Regan loves Than, but she is sure that their relationship will never work out because of what she has done to him and because his rage has, in the past, driven him to kill innocents, including his closest friend and his father, so she fears for her life and the child's life.
In the meantime, Pestilence is up to some new and devious tricks. He is working on a plan to release thousands of demons, and he is turning the day-walkers against Than. In this book, we learn just what the mysterious relationship is between Than and the vampires—both day-walkers and night-walkers. We also learn more information about the identity of the Horsemen's father. Mostly, the book follows the romance, as Than and Regan try to work through their distrust, anger, and hurt feelings and get back to the passion that we (and they) know is there. The climactic ending sets up the premise for Reseph's story, which will be told in book 4.
NOVEL 4: Rogue Rider
Book four is the long-awaited story of Reseph/Pestilence, the first of the Horsemen to have his seal broken—way back in the Prologue to Eternal Rider. From that point until the ending of book three, Pestilence murdered, raped, tortured, and otherwise brutalized millions of human and supernatural innocents—including members of his own family. In fact, the plots of the first three books all revolve around the efforts of the remaining three Horsemen to rein in their gone-to-the-dark-side brother, and as this book begins, they believe that they killed him at the end of the previous book.
The romance part of the plot follows the growing attraction between Reseph and Jillian as Reseph falls in love for the first time in his 5,000-year life. As he begins to get flashes of his memory back, he worries that he is not the good guy that Jillian believes him to be. When his brothers and sister track him down, his memory fully returns, and all of Pestilence's horrific deeds come flooding back into his mind, causing a major mental breakdown. Jillian must decide whether she can accept Reseph as he is—with his dark side still somehow intact—or whether she will turn her back on him forever. In turn, Reseph is torn between his great love for Jillian and the knowledge that Pestilence may emerge and hurt Jillian, not to mention the fact that he cannot forgive himself for all the harm Pestilence has inflicted.
This story is just as anguished and tortured as you would expect. How can Reseph live with himself as he remembers the horrible things he did while he was Pestilence? How can his family members forgive him for what he has put them through? Will he ever find love and redemption? As Reseph muses to himself in a bit of an understatement, "Tormenting your family and killing millions of people wasn't an easy thing to put behind you." (p. 309) Of course, all of those questions are answered in this book, and in a very satisfying manner. This continues to be a strong paranormal romance series in which the series story arc is cleverly contrived and is just as important as the romance. Click HERE to read an excerpt from Rogue Rider.
NOVEL 5: Reaver
The romance—which is, of course, the primary story line—moves along just as unsteadily and roughly as you would imagine. Remember: Both Reaver and Harvester have had parts of their memories wiped away, so all of their feelings for one another have been built on emotional instinct—and that emotion has mostly been hate. As it turns out, both Reaver and Harvester have done things to hurt the other, but they have also had a period of time during which they loved one another. After Reaver rescues Harvester from her hellish torture, they spend the rest of the book trying to escape from a wide variety of enemies, both demonic and angelic. Their lengthy and dangerous dash for freedom is over-stuffed with repetitive scenes of demon attacks, some of which could have been omitted, but the two fugitives eventually begin to bare their souls (and body parts) to one another, and their memories start to come back.
One scene that demonstrates the author's clever manipulation of her mythology takes place in a marketplace in Persephone's Playground—a place in which demons with inner-goodness tendencies can meet up with others having the same problem. Harvester explains it to Reaver: "You know how, in the human realm, there are places where evil gathers to see blood spilled at dog fights or to sell human children? Well, in Sheoul there are places where non-evil people can meet with their own kind and not be judged….Just like a Christian white-bread male might fall to temptation and sneak out for a night of drinking and debauchery, people [here]…sometimes get the urge to be rebels and visit the other side of the tracks now and then. The good side." (p. 215)
Except for the overdone demon attacks, this is a great, complex story that provides many, many "Aha" moments as we learn the causes and effects of past events, some that have been delineated in previous books and some that are all new to us—but are part of the characters' history. If you are a fan of the series, this book is a must-read. If you are new to the series, this is not a good place to start.
I thought that this was going to be the final book in the series, but it seems that there is at least one, and probably two, more couples whose love stories must be told. The next novel will follow the romance that develops between Revenant, the newest Sheoulic Watcher, and Blaspheme, a doctor at Eidolon's Underworld General Hospital who is masquerading as a False Angel. And I'm guessing that we'll also be getting Tavin's story. In Reaver, Tavin, a Seminus demon, is one of three assassins who accompany Reaver on his rescue mission to Sheoul. Unfortunately for Tavin, his life is forever changed after Reaver heals the grievous injuries he suffers during one of the demon battles. This series just keeps getting better and better.
The author includes a brief glossary of demonic terms at the beginning of the book. Click HERE to read the Prologue from Reaver.
NOVELLA 5.5: "Azagoth"
That "willing mate" is Lilliana, a relatively young angel whom we have met previously in this series when she had dealings with Reaver. The arrogant Raphael calls Lilliana into his Heavenly office and gives her two choices: either become Azagoth's mate or have her angelic ability (time traveling) stripped away and spend eternity doing menial labor. Raphael also offers her a nefarious deal on the side. If she steals Azagoth's two-way chronoglass and brings it to Raphael within 30 days, he just might forgive all of her transgressions. Those transgressions include violating a time-travel rule after she was taken prisoner by an angel who tortured her and forced her to travel into the past to search for a holy object that he intended to use against another angel. When angels time travel, they must stay within an impenetrable bubble called a shrowd, which keeps them invisible and prevents them from interacting with anyone outside the shrowd. In desperation, Lilliana broke out of the shrowd in hopes that when the alarm was raised, the angels who answered it would rescue her. Instead, they punished her and refused to listen to her explanation.
The relationship between Azagoth and Lilliana begins on a hostile note but soon develops into a lustful one. Azagoth has not left Sheoul-gra for thousands of years, so when Lilliana takes him on a few one-hour time travels, he feels emotions for the first time since he left Heaven. This has a number of effects on him and on Sheoul-gra. Namely, it amps up his lustful feelings for Lilliana and results in positive changes in the landscape of Sheoul-gra. The two have several graphic love scenes, in one of which a spanking bench is a prominent feature. Unfortunately, Lilliana's side deal with Raphael about stealing the chronograph rears its ugly head just when the couple seems to be getting along fine, and their romantic situation gets very dark for awhile. But never fear, this is a paranormal romance, and that means that the couple gets their HEA by the time the story ends.
The romance has high levels of angst because both Azagoth and Lilliana have led lives filled with darkness and tragedy. Luckily this is a novella, so the plot is not overloaded with lengthy, anguished interior monologues. The two do have a few of those, but just enough so that we get their entire sad back stories. Lilliana does have one major TSTL moment when she succumbs to jealousy and does some severe damage to Azagoth's life, but she manages to redeem herself.
This novella is important to the series because it provides answers to several questions: What is Azagoth's connection to Lilith? How did Lilith become so powerful? What is Azagoth's connection to Reaver and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? It also serves as a follow-up on Lilliana, who until now was just an anonymous angel who risked angelic punishment to help Reaver. Click HERE to read an excerpt on the amazon.com page for this novella. Just click on the cover art at top left on that page.