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Thursday, December 1, 2011

REVIEW: "Immortal Rider" by Larissa Ione

TITLE: Immortal Rider
AUTHOR: Larissa Ione
SERIES: Lords of Deliverance #2
GENRE: Paranormal Romance
PUBLISHER: 
PUBLICATION DATE:
READ DATE: November 2011
SOURCE: Barnes and Noble
SUMMARY: Sexy, powerful, and immortal, Limos is on a crash course with destiny. She’s been marked as Satan’s bride and her jealous fianc√© wants her all to himself. The only way this Horseman can keep herself—and everyone else—safe is to keep her distance. But not even Limos can save herself from the secrets she’s kept . . . or resist the seductive allure of one very brave human.

Arik Wagner knows the saying “love hurts” better than most, yet he never thought stealing a kiss from Limos would land him in Hell. Literally. It takes all his military training to survive the demon torture, but once he’s topside, Arik realizes that the agony has just begun. With the Apocalypse looming and Satan demanding his bride, will Arik and Limos surrender to the desire smoldering between them? Or will giving in to their passion unleash hell on earth?


MY THOUGHTS:

A common theme in paranormal romance right now is the approaching apocalypse and how groups of people, demons, angels, etc. band together to prevent such tragedy.  Larissa Ione's Lords of Deliverance series is probably one of my absolute favorite approaches to this theme and her latest Immortal Rider amps up the adrenaline even more and has be waiting with bated breath for the next book.

The Lords of Deliverance series is a spinoff of Ione's popular Demonica series.  In Ione's paranormal universe, there is a whole other subculture of demons living alongside humanity.  Like humans, there are good and bad demons and, of course, there are plenty of pesky angels in the mix.  The main characters of this series are four siblings (Ares, Limos, Thanatos, and Reseph) who are destined to become the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse if their guarded seals ever break.  In Eternal Rider, the first book in the series, readers saw Reseph's seal break (due to events that occurred in the final book of the Demonica series) and he transformed into Pestilence and began reeking havoc on the world in an effort to turn his siblings.  We also saw Ares struggle with his destiny of becoming the Horseman War.

Now, we have Immortal Rider which focuses on the only female Horsemen Limos who would become Famine and Arik Wagner, a soldier in a military unit that specializes in the paranormal world.  Like most of Ione's works, this book has fascinating characters that are tortured, but lively, detailed worldbuilding, and a complex, but easy to follow plot.

At the very beginning, Limos and Arik meet up at a party being held Ares and his wife Cara.  They do a little fancy flirting which results in Arik stealing a kiss.  Unfortunately, Limos is the betrothed of the prince of darkness himself and Arik is dragged into the deepest part of hell and forced to undergo unimaginable torture for daring to kiss Satan's bride-to-be.  Once Arik manages to escape from hell, he, Limos, and their little gang of demons, angels, and humans must try to battle against Pestilence, keep the other Horsemen's seals from breaking, and keep Satan from claiming Limos forever.

Arik and Limos are a great paranormal couple.  They have significant obstacles to overcome and it is obvious that they will not have an easy ride to happily ever after.  But, despite these conflicts, they display powerful feelings for each other and make it easy to root for their happiness. 

Arik is a tortured soul, even before his journey to hell and back, who has never been comfortable with committed relationships.  His childhood showed him the dark side of loving someone who didn't reciprocate and he strove to avoid it at all costs in his own life and he has a protective side that was honed in his actions to help his mother and sister as a teenager.  Arik is stubborn and willing to do anything for his loved ones which makes him great hero material. 

Limos was a little harder to like at first.  She is the only female Horsemen which gives her the reputation of being hard-nosed and cold.  While Limos is one of the toughest paranormal heroines I've read about in awhile, she has a feminine side which evolved due to her demonic reputation.  Limos comes with alot of baggage which Ione doesn't reveal until later in the book, but once everything comes out, I really sympathized with her plight. 

There are many great secondary characters in this book as well.  I am most interested in Thanatos, who would become the Horsemen Death, and the Aegis warrior Regan.  Regan is sent on a mission to seduce Thanatos in an attempt to save the world which makes more sense in the book, but Thanatos proves to be stubborn about it for his own personal reasons.  Their story ended on a bit of a cliffhanger so I am eager to find out more about them.  I also continue to be fascinated with Pestilence and am wondering how Ione will redeem him by the time his turn comes around.  He is just such a deliciously evil villain!

We also got quite a few scenes with main characters from the Demonica series.  Arik's sister, Runa, was one of the heroines in this series so it makes sense that these characters would pop up.  What I really enjoyed about these scenes was that they were there for a reason, not just to show off how happy they are.  Wraith from Passion Unleashed and Idess from Ecstasy Unveiled had some especially significant roles in the plot of Immortal Rider.

My favorite aspect of a Larissa Ione book is her world-building.  She has developed this world where demons, angels, and humans interact and makes it seem like it could be real.  She uses some popular demons like vampires and werewolves, but also provides some creativity in her original creations such as the Seminus demons from the Demonica series.  Ione has a definite grasp of the world her character inhabit which makes for some fascinating reading.

And finally, the plot of Immortal Rider is complex without going overboard.  There are alot of details  provided to readers, but they are done in such as way to be easy to remember.  The story flows from one scene to the other without too much choppiness.  While I'm sure this book could be read as a stand-alone, I recommend that interested readers at least check out the first book in the Lords of Deliverance series prior to reading this one or, even better, read the Demonica series so you can get a real feel for this world.  You won't regret it!


4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS

SERIES INFORMATION:

Demonica (prequel series)
1. Pleasure Unbound (Eidolon and Tayla)
2. Desire Unchained (Shade and Runa)
3. Passion Unleashed (Wraith and Serena)
4. Ecstasy Unveiled (Lore and Idess)
5. Sin Undone (Con and Sin)

Lords of Deliverance
1. Eternal Rider (Ares and Cara)
2. Immortal Rider (Arik and Limos)
3. Lethal Rider (Thanatos and Regan) [To Be Released 2012]
4. Rogue Rider (Reseph and Jillian )[To Be Released 2012]
5. Untitled-Reaver's book [To Be Released 2013]

INTERESTING LINKS:

Book Depository Page
Goodreads Page
Author Website

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