Tuesday, August 12, 2008

“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...
The enjoyment of science fiction, fantasy or paranormal is due in part to one’s ability to suspend their disbelief. Diving into Pleasure Unbound I couldn’t quite believe what I was reading. If there was such a thing as gonzo paranormal romance this would be it. Gonzo is defined in many dictionaries as something that is exaggerated, bizarre or unconventional. Pleasure Unbound definitely qualifies.

Yes the world building here contains an assortment of demons, vampires, shapeshifters and slayers as you would find in many paranormal universes and even the standard setup of three brothers-Eidolon, Shade and Wraith. Eidolon is destined to find his mate in this story as are the other brothers in subsequent installments. But that’s where the similarity ends.

Here the brothers are demon doctors and healers and work in a secret underground demon hospital nursing the diverse breeds of demons that are injured or sick; some at the hands of the slayers and others through their own benign or malign behaviours. The opening scenes in the hospital ER read like a Dante’s Inferno version of an episode of ER. Dialogue is delivered straight and ranges from discussion of demon treatments, to murder, sex, torture and dating.

Tayla is a demon slayer, human, who learns she is half-demon (and a very nasty one at that) and has believed all demons to be evil. She discovers there are exceptions; mainly through her observations and interactions with Eidolon. She also has a tragic past. But by and large most of the demons species and portrayals are brutish and evil. Eidolon is going through his 100 year change. He is Seminus sex demon or incubus and if he doesn’t find a mate before the change he may become an insatiable murdering rapist and murderer. At times the scenes are written to show the characters redeeming values and empathy but it is a very uneasy mix and mostly seems out of place. There is lots of sex, violence and action, but not much in the way of believable romance. It is difficult to realistically like any of these characters.

As a gonzo paranormal adventure it works, as a paranormal romance, not so much. This is Book 1 in the Demonica series to be followed by Shadow Lover.

Read the first chapter.


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