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Pleasure Unbound: A Demonica Novel    by Larissa Ione order for
Pleasure Unbound
by Larissa Ione
Order:  USA  Can
Forever, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Tayla Mancuso has been taught that demons are evil. As a Slayer working for the Aegis (a society of human warriors dedicated to protecting the world from evil) she's received specialized training to ice any of the creatures that cross her path. Unfortunately, her most recent encounter leaves her partner dead and Tayla gravely injured. When she awakens from surgery, she finds herself not in a human hospital but one staffed by a wide assortment of demons. Most of the creatures would just as soon kill her as look at her, especially once they realise what she is and for whom she works. But the hospital's founder and chief surgeon, Eidolon, has ulterior motives for sparing her life - demons of every proclivity are being slaughtered by the Aegis, and their organs harvested for unsavory purposes. Eidolon wants answers, and who better to interrogate than a card-carrying member of The Aegis. That she stirs heated and dangerous desires in him is a side effect he'll deal with in his own way.

Initially Tayla refuses to cooperate - she'd rather face death all over again than undermine the integrity of the Aegis. But there's something about Eidolon that begs cooperation - he is kind and attentive and a natural healer for demons and humas alike. As her days in the Underworld General pass, she discovers that Eidolon had told the truth: while there are plenty of demons bent on destroying, devouring or enslaving humans, an equal number pose no threat and wish only to be left in peace to raise their families. Torn between The Aegis's doctrine and her growing feelings for Eidolon (who's also promised to help her discover the truth about her recurrent nightmares - he believes them linked to her own mysterious origins), Tayla must make a choice: return to her human world or help Eidolon learn the truth about those preying on his people.

Despite its cheesily suggestive title, Pleasure Unbound is a pleasant change from the current crop of dark urban fantasies that are becoming far too similar in plot, character and tone. While it does contain more erotica and stronger language than some readers might be comfortable with, the story deserves a second glance. The reason for Eidolon's (and his two siblings') seductive natures is explained and expertly woven into the mythology and the storyline, but never overshadows the plot or the action. Ione has in fact, created a very imaginative demonic tapestry as well as rich, multi-layered characterizations in both the leads and secondaries. She also leaves plenty of unanswered questions about the various demonic realms and their colourful inhabitants as well as the origins and agenda of The Aegis - and of course, Eidolon's two mysterious brothers, Shade and Wraith - all of which creates a heady blend that I look forward to re-visiting in her next instalment.

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