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REVIEW: Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione

Dear Ms. Ione,

book review I’m not exactly sure what I expected of new Demonica paranormal series, but a story sounded in a demon hospital sounded interesting so I decided to give it a shot. What I found was a read that, for the most part, I found lively and entertaining, even if I sometimes found myself asking, “Wait, did that part really make sense?”

Eidolon is the eldest of three incubus brothers. Although he currently works as a doctor in the aforementioned demon hospital, he is rapidly approaching the final stage of his life cycle, which will result in him becoming a raging sex demon whose sole purpose in life is to get women — no matter the species — pregnant. It doesn’t sound too bad at first mention but then we learn that incubi who reach this stage usually go insane and end up raping everything in sight. As this often results in their being hunted down by the raped women’s enraged family members, Eidolon isn’t looking forward to it. The only way to circumvent this is by taking a mate but Eidolon’s been looking for a long time, and he’s all but given up.

Enter Tayla Mancuso. Tayla is an Aegis Guardian, a society of hunters whose life’s work is to take out demons. One night, against all reason, she’s brought into Eidolon’s hospital and because the very charter Eidolon helped write requires it, not only does he not kill Tayla, he heals her. But in doing so, he discovers something peculiar. It turns Tayla is half-demon herself and if she doesn’t assimilate the demonic DNA soon, she will die. For her part, Tayla knows something is wrong with her body. She’s been suffering from episodes in which she loses control of her body and in fact, the latest one resulted in the gruesome death of her partner.

Even more pressing is the fact that someone is killing demons and harvesting their bodies of organs. The demons think it’s the Aegi but Tayla insists it’s not them. So Eidolon and Tayla reluctantly team up to find the real culprit.

Despite the fact that I really wanted to like Tayla, I found some aspects of her character a little silly. Red leather? Really? I realize black leather is something of a cliché in the paranormal/urban fantasy subgenres, but it’s a staple for a reason. I just can’t imagine a stealthy hunter skulking around in the shadows dressed in red leather. Paired with Tayla’s described red hair, I found myself wondering if she was cosplaying as Red Sonja. And when she broke out the line about red leather hiding blood better, I afraid that statement wiped out any street cred her character might have had as a big, bad demon hunter.

In addition, Tayla has a specific sexual intimacy issue and this proves to be a roadblock in her burgeoning, but unwanted, relationship with Eidolon. Now perhaps this is my fault because I read the clues wrong and drew the incorrect conclusion, but I’d expected her intimacy issues stemmed from her half-demon heritage. In fact, I would have preferred this because not only is it a little different from the conventions we often encounter in the genre, but it made sense in what I’d interpreted to be Tayla’s character development with regards to her assimilating both sides of her parentage.

Instead, it’s revealed that Tayla’s intimacy issues are a result of past trauma. Not only are the reasons a bit unoriginal, the resolution of those issues occurred far too quick for me to completely buy. I just don’t see ten years of trauma being healed by a five minute pep talk and healing sex.

Even though I think the plot excelled at reversals — the morning after Tayla and Eidolon first successfully have sex was something to behold — I also felt the end suffered from obvious set-up for succeeding novels. While I understand that some loose ends are needed for the other two incubus brothers’ stories, I also think some plotlines were just left dangling. Combined with a final chapter that was a little too care bear for my states, this ended up being a C+ for me.

My regards,
Jia

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or Powells. No ebook format.

Jia is an avid reader who loves fantasy and young adult novels. She's also currently dipping her toes in the new adult genre but remains unconvinced by the prevalent need for traumatic pasts. Her favorite authors are Michelle West and Jacqueline Carey. YA authors whose works she's enjoyed include Holly Black, Laini Taylor, Ally Carter, and Megan Miranda. Jia's on a neverending quest for novels with diverse casts and multicultural settings. Feel free to email her with recommendations at [email protected]!

14 Comments

  1. Jennybrat
    Jul 03, 2008 @ 20:24:58

    Ebook format is available at Books on Board.

  2. DS
    Jul 04, 2008 @ 21:40:16

    I was suspicious of all the five star reviews on Amazon when this showed up in my recommended books. Then there was the Discussion created so some of the reviewers could repeat their raves.

    From your review I am glad I trusted my instincts and did not buy. Thank you.

  3. Greta
    Jul 05, 2008 @ 13:48:22

    Well I for one loved the book. It was excellent. I can’t wait for the second & third books to come out.

  4. KMont
    Jul 07, 2008 @ 14:49:36

    Aw man, now you’ve gone and done it. Now I have a sick, raging, all-out yearning to watch the campy, star-studded, red-hair-infused fantasy cluster f**k that is Red Sonja. My gosh it’s been years. How am I going to get the DH to watch THAT? Oh wait, there is ‘ole Red with her super short leather duds. DH bait, check.

    I just happened to pick this up today, opened it up and am already a bit confuzzle-huhed? over the first chapter. Only time and late-night binge reading will tell if the fog will clear. I picked it up because the premise sounded promising. Again, we shall see. Thanks for your review. It’s always good to read opposing viewpoints on a book.

  5. Jia
    Jul 07, 2008 @ 15:47:50

    KMont: I have an unholy love for that movie. It’s awful but I can’t help it. If it’s on TV, I must watch it. The same goes for the first Conan the Barbarian movie.

  6. Maria
    Jul 07, 2008 @ 16:10:19

    I enjoyed this book and would have given it a B. I thought the money was well spent, but that is because I don’t think that every book has to be the best thing I have ever read. Those kinds of books are few and far between.

    I thought this was a decent urban fantasy romp, worth my time and money and I look forward to the next book about Shade, the 2nd brother.

  7. Diane V
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 12:17:49

    I thought this was a great read – it was one of 3 paranormals that I really enjoyed when I was on vacation.

    This probably would get a B rating from me and the other 2 books I read “Sea Witch” by Virginia Kantra and “Bound by Shadow” by Anna Windsor would get an A-/B+ and an A respectively.

    “Bound by Shadow” is a kick-ass woman version of Ward’s Black Brotherhood without all the weird spellings, repetitive phrases and weak heroines. I almost didn’t buy the book because on the front cover it said “A Novel of the Dark Crescent Sisterhood” and I thought “oh, no…it’s another Ward rip-off”. Instead I was delightfully surprised by how wonderfully rich and textured the story was without all the crap (excuse me chrap) of Ward’s Brotherhood.

  8. Jia
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 12:34:50

    I was actually wondering about the Anna Windsor books. We didn’t receive any copies here at DA for review but I saw them mentioned elsewhere and I admit the “A Novel of the Dark Crescent Sisterhood” tagline turned me off. I do still like the Black Dagger Brotherhood books despite all their flaws, but I am a little tired of that particular set up.

  9. Kym
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 15:08:19

    I’m one of the people who gave this book one of the aforementioned 5-star Amazon reviewers because initially I really enjoyed it and found the story really original. After letting it sink in, though, I’m more apt to give it 4 stars because I keep remembering things that bother me. And that’s the problem with Amazon, once you review, you’re locked in… still, I’m looking forward to the rest of the books in this series, even though this one did wrap up a little prettily.

  10. joan
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 19:09:56

    Actually,I totally enjoyed Unbound Pleasure. Yes, the premise is similar

    but really, arent they all? I enjoye JR Ward, Gena Showalter, Sherrilyn Kenyon and now Anna Windsor and Larissa Ione. To be quite honest the premises are all similar. I commend each author for trying to put a new spin on a pretty old tail. I say bring it on for more Larissa Ione – it was worth the buy – I give this book a B+

  11. Karli
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 08:26:05

    i loved this book. it was the best book i have ever read. if you are into this stuff you will love it too. i was sad when it was over because i didnt want it to end. Thank you so much Larissa for writing this amazing book. try to write another one with the same characters. like a sequel. if you do i want to be the first to buy it . please write another one!!

  12. Triz
    Sep 05, 2008 @ 09:09:06

    AWESOME!!!!! I’M WAITING FOR THE HELLBOY BROTHER’S BOOKS!!
    HURRY! HURRY!!!

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