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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione


In a place where ecstasy can cost you your life . . .

She's a demon-slayer who hungers for sensual pleasure-but fears it will always be denied her. Until Tayla Mancuso lands in a hospital run by demons in disguise, and the head doctor, Eidolon, makes her body burn with unslakable desire. But to prove her ultimate loyalty to her peers, she must betray the surgeon who saved her life.

Two lovers will dare to risk all.

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 . . .

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In the face of so many glowing reviews, I guess I expected to be blown away by this book, but really? I wasn't. Not that I didn't like it, because I did, but it didn't have an "OMG, WOW!" factor for me that it seems to have had for others. Maybe it's because I mostly had to read it in short snippets over several days, I dunno, but nothing here really left my jaw hanging or anything.



One thing that keeps me from being totally wow'd by this book is the heroine, Tayla. For the most part, I didn't really like her. She's supposed to be a badass demon slayer, and she is, at least in terms of fighting ability and talent, but her attitude seems kind of off, especially since she's also supposed to be a loyal soldier of the Aegis. It's clear almost from the start though that she has some attitude problems, and isn't necessarily as loyal as she pretends to be. She withholds information from them about her "condition", which she has no idea what's wrong with her, just that she has something going on that causes "seizures" that debilitate her suddenly and with little or no warning. Clearly this is something her superiors should know about if they're sending her out in the field, but she keeps quiet, because she doesn't trust them to not find a way to eliminate her and thus eliminate a liability if they find out. Actually, trust issues are her main attitude problem all around, and her defense mechanisms cause her to be more than a little arrogant, full of bravado, and downright rude for little or no reason many times. She's also not above smacking the hand that feeds her, as witnessed by her treatment of Eidolon as well as her mistrust of the Aegis members she works with. Though she does have some legitimate reasons for being mistrustful of others, she takes it to ridiculous lengths, refusing to give some people a chance even when they've been nothing but kind and helpful toward her just because of who or what they are.

In contrast to the hard-to-like heroine, Eidolon is a truly likeable hero. For all that he's a demon, is on the verge of a transformation that will likely turn him into a true monster, he's really a gentle and kind soul that just happened to be born on the wrong side of the good/evil line. We see this right from the beginning when Tayla is brought into his hospital. He has every reason to turn her away because of what she is, but he doesn't, and he even protects her from his brothers and others who want to torture her for information on the Aegis and then kill her. He's not a total or true pacifist though, for even he is apt to fly into a murderous rage under the right circumstances, and we also see examples here and there of how his morals can be pretty flexible on some issues, including being largely indifferent to some things that most (on the good side anyway) would be repulsed or at least offended by. Mostly though he's able to keep a cool head through any crisis or turmoil, and this, combined with his extensive patience and tolerance where Tayla and her actions are concerned, is a lot of what makes the book work and makes it an enjoyable read.

Given the nature of the seminus demons, I don't think you can really review this book (or likely any in the series) without touching on the sex, and I have to admit that most of it is pretty hot. Ione does a great job at building and portraying sexual tension not just as a lead up to sex, but also during the numerous times when Tayla and Eidolon are seriously lusting after one another but refusing to give into the urges. The sex isn't really what took center stage here though, for the rich descriptions, tangible emotions, and intricately layered plot are what really captured my interest. I particularly liked how the author kept the focus on the immediate problems the characters were trying to overcome and solve, but then once they had, gave us just a few glimpses at how what they were dealing with was truly just the surface of a much deeper plot, one that shows signs of perhaps being aimed against demons and Aegis alike. Some authors would have been hinting at the deeper layers all along, which likely would have just distracted from the immediate problems that needed to be solved, and so I liked that Ione didn't overwhelm us with too much depth all at once, but rather let us chew our way through the crust before letting us get a glimpse of how much more lay beyond what had been dealt with.

Fans of paranormal romance, especially those with a good bit of steam, will enjoy this book I'm sure. There's a little something for everyone with the inclusion of demons of many varieties, vampires, shifters, and possibly a few things we haven't encountered yet. This is one I'd definitely recommend, and I'll be looking forward to continuing the series.

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