Monday, July 25, 2011

Snippet Reviews: Demonica

It's time once again for me to revisit one of my favorite series and attempt to describe what it was that made me keep reading. Larissa Ione's Demonica books are the best attempt at demon centered paranormal romance that I have come across so far. Dark, a little creepy, and very steamy. I would definitely label these as erotica. That being said, erotica is so subjective and difficult to apply a fair grade to. I will endeavor to do my best.

The overarching premise is that three brothers (who happen to be incubuses (incubi?)) run a hospital for demons and other creepy crawlies. Demons of their breed go through several stages of sexual maturity, and in the final stage they must either choose to bind themselves to one mate or go kind of crazy and start raping people. The mate bond, incidentally, is not exactly a fated mates thing. Readers are told up front that it goes wrong more often than not and one member of the pair kills the other to escape the bond.

My first comment applies to all of the books: I hate the naming scheme. They're all "Something Un-something" and I can never remember which is which. I've dealt with this a lot in my tenure as a paranormal romance reader--the Carpathian books are "Dark Something", J.R Ward's BDB books are "Lover Something", Ilona Andrew's Kate Daniel's books are "Magic Something". It's shorthand for readers to figure out which books belong to the same series. The same thing could be accomplished by just labeling and numbering them. Just a thought. Ok, end rant.

Book One: Pleasure Unbound  : I liked Eidolon, the hero, quite a bit. He's a doctor and a big brother and an all around stand up guy, despite being a demon. I never cared for Tayla, the heroine, quite as much. She's a demon slayer and she has a certain toughness about her that seems forced to me. I found her character arc pretty weak. It's erotica, so they fix their problems with sex quite often, but in Tayla's case I felt like sex was the last thing she needed (the first being a psychologist and the second being a solid ass kicking). I really liked the creepy demon hospital setting, and between that and the mate bonding system my interest was captured enough to continue with the series. 3 stars.

Book Two: Desire Unchained: Shade is probably my favorite hero of the series. He's pretty rough around the edges and has some dark tendencies (BDSM, because there just HAD to be one in the series somewhere). His relationship with Runa starts when she is still human, and he freaks out because he feels attached to her--this is a concept I'm fond of. I liked Runa, and I felt she and Shade both had satisfying and well balanced character development. I really enjoyed their love story. 4.5 stars.

Book Three: Passion Unleashed: Without a doubt I was not a fan of Wraith going into this book, but he redeems himself quite strongly. The heroine, Serena, annoyed me a bit because she projects virgin/martyr/helpless tendancies initially, but she gets more interesting. Wraith is the one that goes through the most in terms of emotional development. The plot had more in the way of mythology than the previous two books, and I really enjoyed that. 4 stars.

Book Four: Ecstasy Unveiled : Lore (the hero) is an assassin sent to kill Kynan, and Iness is essentially Kynan's guardian angel. I loved that premise, and I loved all of the world building employed in this book. Lore and Iness make a very interesting match. Unfortunately the pace of this book was a bit off and the plot is a bit disjointed at times. There are plot holes, as tends to happen when an author increases the complexity of their world. 4 stars.

Book Five: Sin Undone: In my opinion this book has the most coherent plot. Sin, our demon heroine, has actual demonic tendencies (other than the impulse to screw things) that she can't always keep from using. I really liked her and enjoyed her character arc. Conall is a good match for her. I felt a genuine emotional connection between them. This was a good, strong conclusion to the series. 4.5 stars.

If you like dark paranormal romance/erotica, I recommend these. Incidentally, there is a spin-off series called Lords of Deliverance in which many of the same characters appear. I will be reviewing the first one, Eternal Rider, soon. Happy Reading!

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