Pleasure Unbound introduces us to the Demonica world. In the good guys corner we have Tayla Mancuso - Aegis Demon Slayer. In the bad guys corner we have Eidolon - Seminus Demon and emergency room surgeon. Hmmm...maybe he's not such a bad guy after all. Unfortunately Tayla isn't as easily convinced and she soon finds herself torn between the world she depends on and the world that Eidolon could show her if only she'd believe in him. To make matters more complicated a group of bodysnatchers known as Ghouls (not the restless undead it's more of a derogatory term) are kidnapping demons and harvesting them for bodyparts. The Ghouls are playing the Aegi and the Demons off against each other and it's going to be down to Tayla, Eidolon and their friends to sort the mess out.
I really enjoyed this. And I think this is the first book this year by a new author (to me) that has got me interested in following a new series. It's not perfect but I'll start with the good stuff.
I admit I have a weakness for a book with a glossary. Preferably short with some interesting terms that make you want to read to see how it's all going to fit together. I especially like how the author has incorporated a taxonomic classification for the demon species with the Seminus demon as an example.
I like the setting, the idea of a demon hospital - Underground General - I thought was original and not something I'd seen before. I also liked the fact that there are demonic demons . They aren't all good and misunderstood, but they aren't all bad flesh eaters either.
A female Umber demon...had caught the patient sneaking into her nursery, and had somehow impaled him - several times - with a toilet brush.There are shades of grey, which I always find more interesting to read about. I was also interested later on when Eidolon is explaining about how there are exceptions in every species and how a Cruenti demon had wanted to train to work in the hospital. That would have been a fascinating story unfortunately he was ripped to shreds by his less empathetic family members.
It is a very real book in that respect. Larissa Ione doesn't flinch away from the realities of the world she has set up. Eidolon has to make difficult decisions and he's one of these characters that does the right thing, even when it's the harder thing to do.
I'm not as keen on the character of Tayla, I just didn't feel her as much. She felt a little immature to me but you could also attribute that to how she was raised, and essentially the Aegi do seem a little cult-like. So far though I'm liking the male characters more than the female.
The relationship between the brothers is very interesting. Shade and Wraith obviously have a much closer relationship. But Eidolon is prepared to make a huge sacrifice on behalf of his younger brother, though he acknowledges his brothers at best are morally grey.
This book is hot - quite a lot of sex, though I think this is mainly organic to the storyline. It didn't feel overly gratuitous, after all, Eidolon is an incubus. As are his two brothers - Shade and Wraith - looking forward to their books.
I like how Larissa Ione has managed to capture the feel of the world. She has multiple characters but they all interact believably with each other and leave me wanting to read their stories not just the other two brothers, but also Gem and Kynan, and the werewolf Luc. I think Kynan will probably get lots of votes for a story of his own. He may only be a human in a world of demons but he is one tough bloke.
On the quibble front.
Eidolon has a dog. It's mentioned on page 6. But even though Tayla goes to his appartment - no dog. Apparently the dog has gone away for a few days. But in the epilogue - still no dog. I'm just left with the wish that the dog had never been mentioned. As I was looking forward to seeing how Eidolon and the dog interacted. Why mention the dog if we're never going to get to meet it?
There is a slight tendency to melodrama at some points. Tayla in particular is a bit of a drama queen. Now there's nothing wrong with a bit of the dramatics, but it's very easy to do too much and get a little silly.
My quibbles aside, this has been one of my favourite books of the year. And Larissa Ione is currently my only nominee for breakout author of 2008. Can't wait to read Shade's book.