Eternal Rider is the first book of the Lords of Deliverance series which is also a spin-off from the Demonica books. Unlike the original Demonica books which focuses around the demon hospital and the core characters who worked or linked there, The Lords of Deliverance focuses on four half angel and half demonic siblings cursed to hold seals that would transform them into the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.
In this book, Ares, who is the Horseman for War, tries to stop his seal from breaking. He is also constantly battling against his brother, Reseph, who has become Pestilence due to his seal breaking. Reseph is causing mayhem and havoc across the world with plagues and diseases. So Ares and his family (brother Thanatos, who is Death, and his sister Limos, who is Famine) are on the hunt to find out more about their seals, and to stop their brother Reseph from breaking them and succumbing to evil.
I really found that with this book, things are kicked up a notch and concentrates on the wider demonic and angelic world. I will try to remain spoiler free, but I have to mention a few spoilers because it's hard to avoid them. Due to the events of the last book, Sin Undone, Reseph's (who is one of the Horsemen) seal was broken because of the plague that occurred. And now the threat of a looming apocalypse is a step closer. When the Horsemens seals breaks, they become demons. Truly evil beings that will kill the people they love, and who want to bring upon an Apocalypse.
I would recommend that readers read the previous books in the Demonica series to get an understanding of the world-building and setting. Although the set-up is explained very well in the first few chapters in Eternal Rider, I think some of the nuances may be lost and it can get a tad overwhelming if you are not familiar with some of the characters, and previous events.
The book really opens up with a bang and never lets up in pace or high octane action, and that includes the smexy tension too! But things really get going when Cara, a struggling holistic vet with a secret healing ability that can also turn lethal, finds herself healing and bonded to a hellhound puppy called Chaos. And he definitely brings chaos on her head when events lead her to become the holder of Ares' seal. I loved Chaos' interactions with Cara, and for a scary demonic hellhound, he was definitely one of the cutest ones I have read about. However, Cara is soon hunted by demons including Pestilence whose main aim is to kill her and break the seal to turn Ares into War.
I have to say I really loved how the romance developed between Ares and Cara; they both faced each other with their own vulnerabilities and fears, and I really liked how that played out in the book. I really liked how Ares found it hard to remain detached from feeling close to anyone because it makes him vulnerable. Especially adding the troublesome fact that he's attracted to and amplifies violence which follows him everywhere he goes. As the book progresses, we learn how much this affects him especially in light of his tragic past, and how this created a lonely life with the exception of his siblings and a few trusted demon servants. Cara's past also holds painful memories and that had caused her to withdraw from the world. But I loved how their love became a core strength over the course of the book and made them both determined to get through their predicament so they could be together.
The supporting characters are also a highlight in the book, and we get to see appearances and cameos from previous characters from the Demonica books, and it was fun to see how their lives had progressed and changed. I think one of the best elements in the book were the relationships between the Horsemen themselves. Lima's carefree and irreverent attitude, and Thanatos' stoic and dedicated loyalty to his family really made you care for them. And the fact that Reseph -- who was the lighthearted brother but succumbed to evil -- adds to the great chemistry and tension. I will definitely be interested to see how Larissa Ione will be redeeming Reseph's character, because he does some really heinous things in this book and I think that will be a challenge.
Although this was the first book of the series, I really think is has promise, and that it may surpass the Demonica series for me. Larissa Ione has expanded her world with the same eye to detail and depth with engrossing characters who are really vivid and developed. I never get bored or lost in her books, yet and I am happy to say that Eternal Rider is another good installment in the world of the Demonica. I really felt that this is more epic in tone and feel and I really cannot wait for the second book to see how it all plays out. I truly think Larissa Ione is one of the best PNR authors around and Eternal Rider is a great start to the series, with great action, world-building and a heart-warming romance that really comes alive and draws the reader in.