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Eternal Rider (Lords of Deliverance)
By Larissa Ione
Published 2011, Grand Central Publishing
Paperback, 402 pages
They are here. They ride. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.I loved that this book took a concept that I am very familiar with, the Four Horsemen from Revelation, and turned it on its head. For all of the repetitiveness of fantasy fiction using the same species over and over again - from mermaids to vampires - the horsemen are definitely new vehicles for enticing literature.
His name is Ares, and the fate of mankind rests on his powerful shoulders. If he falls to the forces of evil, the world falls too. As one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, he is far stronger than any mortal, but even he cannot fight his destiny forever. Not when his own brother plots against him.
Yet there is one last hope. Gifted in a way other humans can't-or won't-understand, Cara Thornhart is the key to both this Horseman's safety and his doom. But involving Cara will prove treacherous, even beyond the maddening, dangerous desire that seizes them the moment they meet. For staving off eternal darkness could have a staggering cost: Cara's life.
The background of the story is that all of the horsemen once lead human lives, but were cursed to become the horsemen after reacting very badly to the news that Lilith is their mother. Another interesting quirk on the common tale is that one of them is actually female, Limos. The four are destined to either fulfill the Biblical prophecy or the demonic equivalent - which none of them want to do. In addition, each of them have a unique method by which they fall into the demonic prophecy's designated role and must fight to keep said method from playing out.
Ares, whom the story says the Greek god of war is named for, is destined to become War should the being bearing his seal, or agimortus, dies. Thanks to Cara, a human, inadvertently crossing paths with a hellhound, she becomes the bearer of the agimortus. Luckily, she has a few tricks of her own to aid her in her new role. I liked Cara and the way she seemed to blossom despite her captivity and impending death, as well as how easily she could stand up to Ares. I would have liked a little more character development, as it did not feel like her character arc was complete.
Ares is also an interesting character. Even though he is drawn to wars and violence, with his very presence inciting violence and rage among humans, Cara is immune to this ability. Because of how her presence weakens him, Ares shows a vulnerability characteristic of the humanity he left behind thousands of years ago. Around Cara, he is simply a normal guy falling in love, and the way he attempts to "macho-up" to deal with it is positively adorable.
The violence in the book is both believable and quite gritty. Of course, the horsemen's supernatural abilities of strength and healing allow it to be especially intense and dramatic. The sexual scenes in the book are also quite graphic and detailed, without feeling cheesy or awkward.
The laws built into Ione's world of horsemen, angels, and demons is complex without being confusing. The reader is introduced to its structure piece by piece throughout the novel without being bombarded by the details, and all of the pieces fit together nicely. In addition, Ione even includes a glossary at the beginning of the book to help the reader become more accustomed to the world.
The other siblings are all unique and show lots of promise for future books in the series. Thanatos, destined to become Death, has a seductive air of mystery that had me wondering several times throughout the book if something would occur between him and Cara. The sister, Limos, destined to be Famine, also shows many interesting characteristics, such as a certain hidden madness that she struggles to keep leashed, and the chemistry she shares with Arik is palpable. Even though Reseph becomes Pestilence early in the book, I have a feeling he may prove to be the most interesting of the siblings under a theme of redemption. I only have to wait till December for Immortal Rider (Lords of Deliverance), which centers on Limos, to find out what happens next!
The Cover: This is a pretty generic romance novel cover - about the only thing that I can specifically relate to the novel is the water behind the male model.
First Line: "Her name was Lilith, and she was an evil succubus."
If that doesn't strike the fancy of any fan of fantasy fiction, nothing will!
Favorite Quote: "...and horror of horrors, he realized that he was experiencing some sort of a crush. He needed to kill something."