Friday, January 29, 2010

Review: Pleasure Unbound, Larissa Ione

Pleasure Unbound (Demonica, Book 1)
Author: Larissa Ione
Publisher: Forever
Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages

Summary: Eidolon cannot resist this fiery, dangerous woman who fills him with both rage and passion. Not only is she his avowed enemy, but she could very well be the hunter who has been preying upon his people. Torn between his need for the truth and his quest to find his perfect mate before a horrific transformation claims him forever, Eidolon will dare the unthinkable-and let Tayla possess him, body and soul...

I've been following Larissa Ione on Twitter for awhile now, and her Demonica books were recommended to me over and over. They sounded intriguing; the teasers say the first book involves demon doctors in disguise, and my husband is an RN in an inner city Emergency Department. I'm thinking a couple of the ER people I've met could indeed be demons in disguise. *snicker* Last weekend my copy of Pleasure Unbound arrived from Amazon. I was almost afraid I'd be disappointed because I had heard SO MUCH about this book.

Pleasure Unbound starts out with a scene in the Emergency Department of Underworld General Hospital. (Yes, that's UGH.) The demons aren't in disguise in this hospital because it's run by demons to treat demons, not humans. Right from the start we learn a few things:

All demons are not evil.

Demons tend to have sarcastic wits and quick tempers.

Demons love sex, some WAY more than others.

The book is fun and dark at the same time, but it's not until we meet all the main characters and start to figure out that all is not black and white in the Demonica world that we start to care about what happens to them. Larissa Ione's characters are complex and all is not as it appears to be. At first we see humans vs. demons; hatred on both sides with no room for compromise. The book is not a fast, fun read, but instead a sexy, dark, witty read that takes the reader through many emotions including anger, sadness, relief, frustration and titillation. (Webster defines as "to excite pleasurably" which fits perfectly.) Who IS the bad guy here? Will the plot be about finding a Happily Ever After too, or is this world too dark for that?

I really liked Pleasure Unbound, and it lived up to all the recommendations. Fans of J.R. Ward, Gena Showalter, Lara Adrian and Kresley Cole will love Larissa Ione's books. They each focus on the story of a particular male in the rich cast of characters, but there is also mystery, kick-butt fight scenes, and witty interaction. For me, when a series or book has a dark element , I need humor to offset the fight against evil. I love this exchange between Eilodon and Tayla:

"You eat fast food?"

"Only when there's a shortage of live sheep and small children."

Smartass. At least she hoped he was being a smartass. "I'm fresh out of those things, but I have stale marshmallows and oranges."

Pleasure Unbound has sarcastic, sometimes crude humor, erotic romance, studly demons and humans, but also cringe worthy evil demons, and humans who are just as bad. This book is not for the faint of heart; it's a gritty paranormal romance and dark urban fantasy rolled into one. I know I'll be reading it again, and all the books in the series.

Visit Larissa's website for excerpts, deleted scenes, writing tips and much more! She's here.