Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Review: Desire Unchained

Title: Desire Unchained
Author: Larissa Ione
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Demonica/Book 2
Published: February 2009

Runa Wagner's life hasn't been easy. Her childhood was not a walk in the park by any means and her bad luck has followed her into adulthood. She's had one bad thing after another happen to her. Then she meets him. He's hot, sexy and amazing in bed. Just what Runa needs to get her mind off her problems. He's also more than just a gorgeous guy on a Harley. Runa finds out the hard way that Shade is not looking for a long term relationship. After getting her heart broken she's thrown into another world she had no idea existed.

The second helping of Larissa Ione's Demonica series is even better than the first. Pleasure Unbound got the series off to a good, solid start but Desire Unchained cemented the demon world into one of substance and realism. Yes, this is paranormal and fantasy but the way Ione has created her world she's given it a strong flavor of realism. While most of the characters may be demons and mythical creatures they have such powerful presence and emotions you can't help but believe they just might be real. If Mulder read these books he'd probably say "See, told ya Scully."

The heroine in Desire Unchained is a woman just trying to live her life and pursue her dreams. She's someone many of us could relate to. Then her life takes a dramatic change and she's left trying to pick up the pieces. Runa is a wonderful heroine. She's smart, self sufficient with strong survival instincts. No TSTL heroine here. Which is a good thing considering the hell she's been through and still more on the way before she and Shade are safe. She doesn't spend much time complaining about her situation, except to Shade. She does seem to enjoy giving him a hard time. Otherwise she has taken her future in hand and done what she could to make her new reality the best it could possibly be. Runa is also not afraid to fight and prefers to stand at Shade's side in a fight. She's a really good match for Shade because she doesn't let him get away with crap. He tries to giving her the brush off when she's asks about Underworld General Hospital (UGH), his brothers and his curse. She keeps after him and wears him down. Not willing to simply take his lame excuses.

Shade makes no excuses or apologizes for who and what he is. I like that. He's a Seminus Demon. Driven to give females what they need when it comes to sex. It's simply a fact of his life and he deals with it. He may not like all the aspects of it but it's something he can't change so why fight it. His loyalty to his brothers, Eidolon and Wraith, is what gives him strength. His job as an EMT for UGH gives him a purpose in life. Like any EMT, be they human or demon the job gets to him at times. The senseless loss of life he sees. Another example of Ione giving these demons humanity. But don't make the mistake of thinking they are tame creatures. Shade's got his demon instincts in spades. Shade's an alpha male all the way and has a need to protect Runa. But he does come to realize that she is far stronger than he first believed. Not only physical strength but emotional and mental strength.

Shade and Runa have no choice but to work as a team after they are tricked into bonding. And while Runa still cares about Shade, he's determined to keep her at a distance. This proves very difficult because of his overwhelming desire for her. Shade and Runa get very physical and tend to wear each other out. So if you enjoy hot sex scenes Ione without a doubt delivers. Ultimately, Shade's curse lays heavy on his mind and he is left with a terrible decision to make.

There's also Shade's brothers, E and Wraith, who are heavily involved in the story line and yet don't overwhelm the pages. The book is definitely Shade and Runa's story. Ione is able to create a blend of the primary and secondary characters without leaving the reader feeling shortchanged on the HEA. That blend gives us plenty of the continuing world and character development while still maintaining focus on the hero and heroine. And we get to see more of Gem and Kynan from the first book. I'm really hoping they get their own book. There are also more new characters introduced in Desire Unchained which gives this reader hope for many more books in the series.

One thing I want to mention is that I have a pet peeve when it comes to antagonists. I can't stand it when the protagonists are so overwhelmingly stronger and better fighters than the primary antagonists. If you're going to have a big-bad, then have a BIG-BAD. Don't wimp out. With Ione I've got no worries on that score. The antagonists she writes are sick, evil bastards and not easily defeated. The good guys really do have to work at outsmarting and out fighting the bad guys. And things don't always go in favor of the good guys. Shit happens and it happens to them. But that's okay. It makes for much better story-telling. And in the end that's what it's all about.

So, the Demonica series, IMO, is a must read for any paranormal fan and for anyone who's looking for a good story. Another good thing about this series ~ the next book comes out next month! Passion Unleashed is the story of Shade's brother Wraith (yum!). It's release date is March 31. And per Ione's website there are at least two more books in the series with release dates sometime next year.

Rating: A


  1. YAY!!! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I agree about everything you said, especially about not getting short-changed on the HEAs. There is SO much going on in these books, so many characters, yet we never lose sight of the love. Romance reading bliss!

  2. Sounds you really enjoyed it :) I still need to read book no.1, this should be the push needed to read it :)

  3. Darn it Leslie! I had to skim through your review just in case there's a Spoiler in there. But an A? I'm sooo looking forward to this one. I'll have to get back here and read it in depth once I'm done.

  4. KMont ~ Ione packs so much but didn't leave me wondering how Shade and Runa got to their HEA. Can't wait for Wraith's book!

    Nath ~ Definitely read book 1 first. It's good too.

    Hils ~ No spoilers. :) There were a few things I wanted to add but they would have been spoilers so I kept them out.

  5. I'm BACK! I read the book and loved it! YES! Runa and Shane were absolutely great together. KMont's right in her assessment there, you don't wonder at the end how they got to their HEA, you KNOW how they got there. I loved the villain in this piece... I guessed during the last book... na na na na na .... but, I must say he was more eeeeevil than I expected him to be, YES! No disappointments here, that's for sure. Can't wait for Wraith now, he's one sick puppy. OH, and loving, loving, loving Gem and Ky's secondary story.