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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

'Pestilence' The Four Horsemen #1 by Laura Thalassa

From the BLURB:

They came to earth—Pestilence, War, Famine, Death—four horsemen riding their screaming steeds, racing to the corners of the world. Four horsemen with the power to destroy all of humanity. They came to earth, and they came to end us all. 

When Pestilence comes for Sara Burn’s town, one thing is certain: everyone she knows and loves is marked for death. Unless, of course, the angelic-looking horseman is stopped, which is exactly what Sara has in mind when she shoots the unholy beast off his steed.

Too bad no one told her Pestilence can’t be killed. 

Now the horseman, very much alive and very pissed off, has taken her prisoner, and he’s eager to make her suffer. Only, the longer she’s with him, the more uncertain she is about his true feelings towards her … and hers towards him. 

And now, well, Sara might still be able to save the world, but in order to do so, she'll have to sacrifice her heart in the process.

‘Pestilence’ is the first book in a new romance series (yes, you read that right) called ‘The Four Horsemen’ by author Laura Thalassa.

Ok. So. This is a new romance series with alternating heroes, who happen to be the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Death, Famine, War, and Conquest. Though in Thalassa’s series, ‘Conquest’ is interpreted as Pestilence, and he is the first hero we meet – or rather, anti-hero.

I kept seeing this book crop up on Goodreads, and I admit – I enjoyed the juxtaposition of a very romance-y front cover with the title PESTILENCE in shiny gold font. I probably would have shrugged it off as a grab in bad taste, but then I saw the Goodreads star-rating of a whopping 4.08 with 9,464 ratings. Um. WHAT?! I had to know what this was about.

And, reader – I was shocked to discover that I LOVED every moment of ‘Pestilence’. I particularly loved imagining the author at a party, when someone’s all like; “Oh, you’re a romance writer! And what’s your latest book called?” And she’s just like: *sips martini* “Pestilence.”

Our heroine in this first book is Sara Burns who is a fire-fighter (I know, I know) amongst her station buddies, she draws the short straw to stay behind in her township and take-out the riding Horseman whose presence will immediately lead to death for everyone in the vicinity. 

So, let’s get something straight; the disease Pestilence spreads simply by projecting and visiting a town is less STDs, and more air-born black plague and influenza viruses. There are boils and pustules though, and it’s definitely a gross death – but at least it’s hands-free, right?

Sara does indeed attempt to kill the Horseman, but then quickly realises that he’s immortal and unstoppable, and PISSED at the attempt on his life and that of his ‘loyal steed’. He decides to exact revenge on Sara by keeping her alive and forcing her to journey with him, spreading death and destruction.

Ok – fair warning – Pestilence and Sara’s first stages of romance are anything-but, and involve her trying to burn him alive and then him tying her to the back of his horse and dragging her along asphalt if she can no longer walk. Yeah. It’s gruesome. And a big part of me (much as I weirdly enjoyed this book?) always wanted them to circle back to the genesis of their courtship, like; “Remember when I went Salem Witch Trials on your ass and you nearly tore my arms off torturing me? Good times.”

But trust me – the relations do improve. Greatly. And this becomes a very hot and heavy romance, that I can really only think to liken to Briseis and Achilles in the atrocious 2004 mega-movie ‘Troy’, when Rose Byrne and Brad Pitt smouldered on the big-screen playing conqueror and conquest.

I mean. Never in my life did I think to read the line; “Standing on the other side of the room, his hair still dripping from the shower, is a very naked Pestilence,” would make me sit up and take notice but there you go. Thalassa makes it work, and kudos to her.

I will say the groundwork for the ‘Four Horsemen’ as a series with alternating heroes is a *little* weak, but mostly because Thalassa has left the Horsemen so open to interpretation … Sara and Pestilence do talk about God – but Pestilence confirms it’s an all-being type thing, and okay’s referring to God as a woman too. The Horsemen don’t have names so much as purposes, and it’s a little unclear how long they’ve been on earth for (I think they’ve been here all along, but only made their appearance known recently?) but Pestilence also implies that his “brothers” are currently sleeping … I don’t know. What I do know is; I am intrigued. And I am already calling it, that Death will probably be the Zsadist-esque (from ‘Black Dagger Brotherhood’ by J.R. Ward) most tortured bad boy and fan-favourite of the series.

I am only a little bummed that there’s no release date yet for second book ‘War’ – because, DAMN am I invested in this series now and I am 1000% committed to this erotic extravaganza of a biblical apocalypse.


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