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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

NOVELLA REVIEW: "Azagoth" by Larissa Ione

Azagoth (1001 Dark Nights, #6; Lords of Deliverance, #5.5;  Demonica, #10.5)
Azagoth by Larissa Ione
(Demonica #10.5; Lords of Deliverance #5.5)

Goodreads -- Amazon
Author Website

For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality, Violence)
Paranormal Romance (Angels and Demons)

Evil Eye Concepts -- Published in June 10, 2014
Ebook, 200 pages
Read in June 2014
Purchased from Amazon

THEMES
Alpha and Tortured Hero, Kick-Ass Heroine, Time Travel

SUMMARY
Even in the fathomless depths of the underworld and the bleak chambers of a damaged heart, the bonds of love can heal…or destroy.

He holds the ability to annihilate souls in the palm of his hand. He commands the respect of the most dangerous of demons and the most powerful of angels. He can seduce and dominate any female he wants with a mere look. But for all Azagoth’s power, he’s bound by shackles of his own making, and only an angel with a secret holds the key to his release.

She’s an angel with the extraordinary ability to travel through time and space. An angel with a tormented past she can’t escape. And when Lilliana is sent to Azagoth’s underworld realm, she finds that her past isn’t all she can’t escape. For the irresistibly sexy fallen angel known as Azagoth is also known as the Grim Reaper, and when he claims a soul, it’s forever…


FIRST LINE
"There's very little that frightens me more than the Grim Reaper when he's horny."

MY THOUGHTS
Larissa Ione's Demonica series and its spin-off, Lords of Deliverance, are some of my favorite paranormal romance novels.  I love the creativity, the character development, and, of course, the steamy romance that never fails to make me sigh with happiness.  Another aspect of the series that I enjoy is Ione's affection for anti-heroes and that she makes sure readers know that things are never black and white in her world.  Azagoth is a great example of this since it focuses on the Grim Reaper himself and, somehow, turns him into a sympathetic hero while retaining his basic bad boy nature.

This novella opens with Azagoth (the Grim Reaper and father of Idess from Ecstasy Unveiled) re-iterating to the angels (for the millionth) time that he is done sleeping with the angel females that Heaven sends him in order to continue the creation of the Memitim, earthbound angels.  This is a pattern that has been going on thousands of years and he has finally had enough for two reasons: 1) Satan has proclaimed that he will kill Memitim if one more is born and 2) Azagoth is lonely and wants to find a mate.  So he demands that Heaven send him a female that he will be able to keep as a lover and companion in exchange for not releasing all the demonic souls in Hell upon the earth.

While this is not the happiest or healthiest of scenarios to start a romance, it goes along with the way that the Demonica world works with its intertwined rules and morals between angels, humans, and demons.  Azagoth does not start off the book as the most likable guy with his demands and his violent tendencies towards the demons and fallen angels around him.  But, Ione does a masterful job of showing readers how volunteering for the Grim Reaper job as an angel has effected him mentally and physically.  It also doesn't hurt that she makes sure we know that angels are not always good and demons are not always bad in this world.

The female that is "volunteered" to become Azagoth's mate is Lilliana, a time traveler who is sent to the underworld (Sheoul) after screwing up her own angelic duty.  She is given the opportunity to repent by hooking up with Azagoth and stealing something from him that the archangels in Heaven want as their own.  Despite the distasteful situation she puts herself in, I really liked Lilliana.  She is strong-willed and determined to do what she thinks is right no matter what her superiors think.  Azagoth needs someone who can stand up to him and show him that things are not lost in his world.  The romance is pretty quick (since this is a short story), but I thought it developed in an interesting way.

Like with other books in this series, Larissa Ione provides such vivid details of both Heaven and Sheoul that I feel like I'm standing right there.  Readers can feel the desolation that Azagoth lives in and how it contrasts with the area he grew up in.  I also loved getting to see the different types of demons that live in his realm like the griminions who made me think of troll-like versions of the minions in Despicable Me.  I think readers can read this as an introduction to the world of Demonica since it never assumes that they know the inner workings of the series though I highly recommend reading the series in order to grasp the full effect of Ione's worldbuilding.

The only major issue that I had with Azagoth as a story is that I wish it had been longer so there would have been more development for Lilliana and Azagoth as a couple.  I got to know them as individuals pretty well, but wish we could have seen more scenes with them developing feelings for one another.  But, overall, I thought this was an entertaining and thought-provoking installment in an already fabulous series.


4 STARS


STEAM LEVEL
Fever -- Definitely graphic, but still emotional descriptions.

FAVORITE QUOTE
"Touch me without my consent and you'll lose an arm."
So, fight over flight.  And probably a touch of hate.  He liked her spirit.  She needed to work on her threats, however.  "Never threaten someone with losing a limb when you can go gorier.  Try this next time: Touch me without my consent and I'll guy you with my teeth and then strangle you with your own intestines.  See how much better that sounds?"
She glared, "If you'll give me paper and a pen, I'll take notes."
He was starting to like this chick.

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. Pleasure Unbound
2. Desire Unchained
3. Passion Unleashed
3.5. Eternity Embraced
4. Ecstasy Unveiled
5. Sin Undone
6. Eternal Rider
6.5. Vampire Fight Club
7. Immortal Rider
7.5. Eternal Damnation
8. Lethal Rider
9. Rogue Rider
10. Reaver
10.5. Azagoth
11. Revenant (Coming 2014)

CHALLENGES READ FOR


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