Ecstasy Unveiled by Larissa Ione
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Larissa Ione hit the ground running with this one, and I was along for the ride. What can I say? I loved Lore. I felt so bad for him. Ms. Ione brought him to full, vibrant life for me. I do love my assassin characters, so Lore was already in there for me. However, it was his vulnerability and his sense of loneliness which opened the door of my heart fully. I wanted to beat up Shade and Wraith for being mean to him. He needed their support, and they could hardly judge him, considering that they had some pretty unsavory pasts themselves. In fact, Lore was a bit more 'clean-cut' than both of them. Don't get me wrong. Lore is definitely a killer, but he does have a conscience. He'd rather take punishment then harm women or children. He feels a serious sense of remorse over the people he accidentally killed with his hand, which can take (or give) life with contact. It makes satiating his need for sex very difficult. Fortunately, Lore is a cambion (half-human/half-demon), so he can resort to self-gratification (which is something that the full-blooded Seminus demons cannot do). I have to admit those scenes were very sexy! I liked that he was somewhat innocent in some ways about sex (his experience was very furtive, not that satisfying encounters). He never experienced the tenderness of a true sensual encounter with someone he could touch fully and spend time enjoying.
Just when Lore is hoping that he can get himself and his sister out of the Assassin contract he has with the head of the demonic Assassin's Guild, he's given the worst job he ever imagined: He has to kill a man who he only recently restored life to. This kill will cause a serious rift in his new-found family. But, he can't refuse, or his sister will be killed instead. So, Lore is sure to make enemies out of his brothers and their family and friends. He's between a rock and a hard place.
But, he gets an unexpected ally in an Angel-in-Waiting, Idess. Idess has lived two millenia, and she's hoping she will soon gain her wings and Ascend to heaven. She must protect Primori, which are people who will have an important role to play out in the world. If she does this successfully, and lives a pure life, she can become a full-fledged angel. Her primori happens to be the man that Lore has to kill, only things shift, and she soon realizes that she has to protect Lore as well. As she keeps Lore captive and under her protection, she falls in love with the deadly assassin with a lonely heart. Things heat up between this unlikely couple, and that was nice reading. But, more importantly, I loved the bond between them. How they gave each other solace as each of them had led lives of denial. Ms. Ione did such a great job of pairing Lore and Idess. I loved them both. Idess was a tough, kickbutt woman, but also had a very warm, sweet nature. She truly believed in doing the right thing and was very dedicated to it, even with the tremendous self-sacrifices she made.
Another thing I loved about this book was the complexity of the storylines. There's not just a romance here. You see the progression of the storyline at Underworld General Hospital (UGH), which is still having problems, due to some rowdy ghosts causing damage, and an outbreak that is killing werewolves. And the real culprits behind a lot of the happenings in this book were pure evil. They made me shudder.
It was great catching up with the brothers and their mates. I really liked Eidolon in this book. Actually, I love him more and more with each book. He has a lot of qualities I admire: discipline, intelligence, honor, the ability to make peace. He is a great guy to head up this family and UGH. I do have to admit, I wanted to punch Shade a few times. He was being a jerk in this book. Although I eventually found out there was a good reason for why he was being so contrary. Lore's sister Sin is an interesting character. She's just as tortured as Lore, as the only female Seminus demon in existence (that's not as fun as it sounds). She's as hard as they come (a really tough life does that to a person), but I felt so much sympathy for her. I have a feeling her book is going to get me in the gut. Yet, I imagine I will do some laughing as she keeps her brothers (and her future mate) on their toes.
I couldn't put this book down. I know I say that often, but it's really true with this book! Larissa Ione knows how to write a very involving story. She writes very sexy stories, and the steaminess is so seemlessly integrated into the story (and not too raunchy or borderline gross). I love that she is able to have this sexy world, but have so much else going on. Her world-building is incredible, and the emotional complexity of her characters make these books fantastic reads. I find myself wanting to shake a character in one scene, and in the next, wanting to give him or her a big hug. She gives this world of demons and angels some heartiness. This is paranormal romance that I think a horror or dark fantasy fan would eat up if they took the plunge. The settings and places in these books are so vivid, I feel like I'm there (which isn't always a good thing). She's not afraid to add some blood and guts when it's warranted, but it's done tastefully. There are a lot of layers here, with demons who are good and angels who are bad, and the other way around. Yet, she hasn't abandoned classic ideas of the supernatural world that have a lot of power for me; but managed to tell her unique stories and integrate those into it very well. I am so glad that I read Pleasure Unbound and found this world she's created. They make for some hours of true reading enjoyment. Thanks for the awesome reading experience, Ms. Ione!
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