I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review."Z" by Larissa Ione
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Published by Evil Eye Concepts Incorporated, 1001 Dark Nights Press on April 26, 2016
Source: my own shelves
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Also by this author: Bound by Night, Reaver, Revenant, Snowbound, "Bond of Destiny", "Azagoth", "Revenant's Epilogue", "Hades", "Razr"
A novella, and fourteenth in the Demonica paranormal romance series (third in the Demonica Underworld series and thirty-nine in 1001 Dark Nights), revolving around demons and angels. The couple focus is on Vex and Zhubaal.
Ione uses primarily a third person dual protagonist point-of-view with perspectives from Vex and Z, however, she also incorporates a third person point-of-view from some of the other characters in a lesser role.
Per usual, Ione delves into a male character who has appeared in previous stories, providing them with his own happily ever-after with a new female character — yes, Ione does reverse the gender roles in some stories.
It’s cute with the tough Vex holding Laura’s soul, the angel whom Z has been searching for, for decades. Z is so confused by what he feels from Vex. He knows Laura is in there, but this tough, sexually bold Vex is not her! They had a vow!
Oooh, Azagoth offers Vex a lousy deal. And it’s slightly worse than the deal Z offers. Talk about conflict!
It’s an intimate look into Azagoth’s realm and business dealings. And, dang, if Azagoth’s method of extracting souls isn’t one heckuva nasty experience! I don’t think that the dealers in souls do it that way! And the why of the ban on soul selling does reveal itself at the end. Who’d’ve thought? Certainly not Azagoth.
Whoa, who’d’ve thought the Archangels, Thrones, and Dominions were so power-hungry!? Or so mean and deceptive! It’s not at all what we’ve been taught about Heaven and its occupants! And yet . . .
It’s a question of Laura’s love but Vex’s identity, as well as her sexual past. So different from Laura and the vow she and Z had made. It’s yet another conflict in that Laura is part of her, but Vex is so very different from Laura. Something Z must learn to accept.
Hmm, Ione is setting us up for some future issues what with the overcrowding in the Inner Sanctum. Oops.
There’s action, but “Z” is primarily character-driven as Z and Vex have to resolve their different perspectives about the other. The pace does move along with the usual cursing, *grin*.
Those who buy and sell souls are being slaughtered, for Hell has changed its priorities. For Vex to survive, she must find another way to use her abilities . . . and stay alive.
Vex is an emim, the offspring of two fallen angels, and daemani who’s done some acting in porno films. Her father had been a lawyer at a demon-run law firm. Malice is also a daemani, a friend of the family, who helped Vex figure her life out. Super Evil is the soul still occupying Vex.
Zhubaal, an Ipsylum warrior, is Azagoth’s second-in-command. He’s been searching for his lost mate, Laura, another Ipsylum warrior, for a century.
Sheoul-gra is . . .
. . . Hell. Azagoth is the Grim Reaper. Lilliana is mated to Azagoth (Azagoth, 11). Razr is a fallen angel whom Azagoth has appointed to be his third-in-command. Cat is mated to Hades (Hades, 2 (DU), 13 D).
The Unfallen, fallen angels who haven’t entered Sheoul, can still be redeemed. Memitim are a special class of earthbound angel born to protect certain humans and earn their wings. Both are Azagoth’s children. Suman is a burly Memitim. Vane, an Unfallen, is susceptible to seduction.
“Jim Bob” and “Ricky Bobby” are snotty angels and spies for Revenant. Archangel Uriel. Revenant is the King of Hell (Revenant, LoD 6 & Dem 11) and uncle to the Four Horsemen’s children. Lilith is the mother of the Horsemen. Harvester is a fallen angel who worked both sides (Reaver, 5 (10)).
Rowan Arch, a powerful fallen angel-turned-demon, appears as a rich, influential Hollywood producer. His guards include Ramreel and Silas demons.
Othog is a servant of the great and powerful Frank, a former buyer and seller of souls. Brad Fisher had been captain of the high school football team.
Daemanis are demon soul magnets. A Shadow Angel is the most powerful class of fallen angel. Orphmages and Charnel Apostles formed a coalition against Revenant. Griminions are ugly little freaks who collect souls when a demon or evil human dies. A dillyoon is a type of butterfly faerie found in Heaven. Ipsylum are a specialized class of warrior angels, think special ops.
The Cover and Title
The cover is deep blues and teals with the short story series publisher, 1001 Dark Nights, occupying the upper two-thirds of the cover in a gradient that is rotating back and forth through a color spectrum of a purplish blue to black. The first “0” is filled with a silhouetted profile of a angel lunging to the right with his wings fully open while the second “0” is a view of some of the dilapidated buildings in Sheoul-gra. The bottom third has teal filigrees fading in and out against a dark, dark blue background with the title in a golden orange; the series info immediately below it in the same color. Below that is a testimonial in a lighter teal with the author’s name at the bottom in a rotating gradient of teals.
The title is all about Zhubaal, a.k.a. “Z”.