It's fair to say that Larissa Ione has her fair share of duds, even in an otherwise lovely series. That was certainly the case here. In the interest of full disclosure, it's not like I went into this book expecting a terrific read. As a hero, Reseph failed to excited me. He spent the previous three books as the vile, villainous version of himself. We were never given enough information on good Reseph to make me feel like I wanted to see his redemption story. Nevertheless, I was willing to try.
So, to recap, Reseph had been turned into Pestilence, and committed all sorts of crazy evil. In the last book, Pestilence was stabbed with a dagger that turned him back into Reseph. Now, Reaver (the guardian angel of the four horsemen), erased his memory and dropped him in a snow bank. Our heroine, Jillian, discovers him, takes him home to her cabin, and romance ensues. Jillain was once attacked by demons. When her neighbors start dying under very demon-like circumstances, she's determined to believe that Reseph is not to blame, despite the fact that he doesn't know who or what he is.
The first and most obvious issue with this book is pacing. We spend a lot of time with Reseph and Jillian in her cabin, just kind of waiting on something to happen. It is boring as hell. To rub salt in the wound, the payoff following all that boredom isn't particularly grand. There is just nothing within the plot that captivated any part of me.
Sadly, I was not enamored with Reseph. He has his charming moments, I'll admit. He's sweet and protective toward Jillian, and yet he appreciates her ability to take care of herself. I was regrettably distracted by the fact that he has amnesia, which of course I knew would come crashing down at some point. I was distracted by the nasty things he did while evil, however involuntary, and by whether the author was going to get around to resolving all of that angst. I wasn't crazy about the way his family handled his return, either. No one could decide whether it was okay to be pissed at him for what Pestilence did, or if all should be forgiven because it was all against his will. At the risk of getting a tiny bit spoilery, I was also really unsatisfied by the fact that he doesn't earn his redemption or return to sanity--the heroine kind of does it for him.
Jillian, who initially seemed bland and uninspired, actually turned out to be the more engaging of the two. She's survived a horrible ordeal, coped by living alone and working her ass off on her farm, and she makes huge sacrifices for what she believes is right. Her judgment in blindly trusting Reseph very questionable, but I'm willing to assume she simply has good instincts.
Whatever my expectations might have been for this book, it did not surprise me and it did not elate me. I can only hope Ione's next book will be better. 2 stars.