Author: Larissa Ione
Plot Type: Soul Mate Romance (SMR)
"Azagoth" (part of the 1001 Dark Nights project)(novella, 6/2014)
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.
Here are the happy couples in each book:
> Eternal Rider: Ares & Cara
> Immortal Rider: Arik & Limos
> Lethal Rider: Thanatos & Regan
> Rogue Rider: Reseph & Jillian
On her web site, Ione includes some informative pages. Click HERE to read Demonica Overkill: Snippets of Demonic Life, which consists of short stories to update readers on the lives of the DEMONICA characters, many of whom appear in LORDS OF DELIVERANCE as supporting characters. Click HERE for a link to an on-line version of the Demon Compendium—everything you ever wanted to know about Demons and DEMONICA.
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.
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.
BOOK 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.