The Demonica series may have ended with the Sin Undone, but its rich world is very much alive thanks to Larissa Ione's spinoff series Lords of Deliverance. Off the bat, I can tell you that you don't have to have read the Demonica books to enjoy Eternal Rider. While it doesn't build the world from scratch, our main characters have their own story to tell.
Let me give you the basics. There are four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. They're not bad guys. In fact, they want to be a force for good. But each carries a seal, that if broken, will unleash his (or her) curse. The first Horseman, Pestilence, had his seal broken during the events of Sin Undone. Now he is hellbent on breaking the seals of his brothers and sister and bringing about the apocalypse.
Ares is the Horseman of War. His seal is carried by a Fallen Angel. That seal will break if the angel dies. But it can be passed to someone else... which is what happens. A human, Cara, becomes the unwitting recipient. This throws her together with Ares, who has to protect her to protect his seal.
It took me a little while to really get into the book. Ione's books are always richly layered and that takes time to establish. The great secondary characters and storylines have always heated up the page, even if the main characters needed time to stumble their way through the book to get together. Obviously, that didn't happen in Pleasure Unbound, but the sexual element was there in that one from the very beginning. Here, we have neither the luxury of a great secondary story with established characters (like Kynan & Gem or Luc & Kar gave us in previous installments) or the quick sexual relationship we were treated to with Tayla and Eidolon. The result was something of a slow-build.
Of course, when things begin to heat up, the second half of the book flies by. Ione does a great job putting sex on paper. A really great job. The tension is palpable between Ares and Cara... and the payoff is even better. Plus, those fantastic Demonica characters are back, albeit in supporting roles. It was wonderful to see our old friends again and revisit Underworld General Hospital. Ione has also laid the foundation for the next book in the series, centered on the female Horseman, Limos. My wheels are already spinning with ideas about what will happen next. 4 stars.
*ARC provided by Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group