Reaver (Lords of Deliverance #5)
by Larissa Ione
WARRIOR OF HEAVEN
Reaver is an angel with a past, a record, and a less-than-heavenly attitude. Powerful enough to fight alongside the fiercest battle angels-and crazy enough to risk his wings on a one-way mission to hell-he's agreed to go where no angel has ever gone before...to steal the most seductive and dangerous prize of Satan himself.
ANGEL OF HELL
Harvester is one of the Fallen, a once-heroic angel who sacrificed her wings to work as an undercover agent in hell. But now her cover has been blown, and she's been doomed to an eternity of agonizing torture. Even if Reaver can snatch her away from Satan's lair, even if they can fight their way out of the underworld's darkest depths, there is one thing Harvester can never escape-her newfound thirst for an angel's blood...
To say one never gets the expected with a Larissa Ione novel is a huge understatement; there is of course always a love story in some way, and you can expect to always have action, adventure, and changes to rock the world. But while these are themes to be found in many different authors’ works, Larissa Ione takes those themes and expounds on them like no other, changing your life and understanding of the world with the words on the page, in just the time it takes you to fly through her works. I have followed the developments of this series from the very beginning of the world of the Demonica, and have yet to find myself bored or feeling discontented after a book. The travails of these characters are always unique, terrifying, and impact so many of those around them that keeping all the interwoven stories in order must be a very trying task for the author. If you haven’t read any of the other stories in the series, you will most likely feel a bit of a disconnect with the secondary characters that move beside the H/H in the story, but you will love it nonetheless I guarantee, and Ione provides you with plenty of detailed back-story so you get the important points of the overall plot arc. Reaver is in my opinion, one of the best stories of my generation, which will touch your heart, reach into your soul and force you to reexamine the true meaning of love and sacrifice.
Reaver picks up shortly after the ending of Rogue Rider, with Reaver learning the truth of his relationship with his longtime charges, the four horseman of the apocalypse, and Harvester trapped in unending torment in Satan’s prisons. Though Reaver has petitioned for divine assistance in rescuing Harvester, he has repeatedly been denied, and decides it is time to save her himself, if for a somewhat selfish reason. With the help of some mercenaries especially equipped for the job, Reaver ventures into portions of hell that no other angel has ventured into before, but getting into the pits to reach Harvester is the easy part, getting them safely back out of the underworld and earning her trust to do it, is the biggest challenge of Reaver’s life. Even before the last big battle, Harvester had her issues with trusting anyone, much less a man she has hated since her first sight of him. But working together is the only way to get out of the mess they are in, and as they defeat their enemies and find their way home, they find out more about themselves and each other. The connection builds between them, but nowhere near as quickly and intensely as the passion that has simmered under the surface for millennia explodes. With the sacrifices, challenges and interference of others, the pull between them just might not be enough to form a solid foundation for a relationship; However, when the past is uncovered and they each allow their hearts to accept, Reaver and Harvester understand that being meant for each other doesn’t necessarily mean finding each other will be easy, only that once they overcome their problems, the life they build will be more of a paradise than any heaven they’ve ever known.
Reaver, a former angel, turned unfallen, returned to angel, is one of those men with so many layers, an onion wouldn’t even begin to be a proper analogy. From the very beginning of the series when I first met Reaver, I have loved his character. He is completely irreverent, sarcastic, caustic, and rebellious, but at the same time he is caring, sexy, intriguing, and has a softer side for his grown children and their kids. The issues that Reaver has worked through during the series have already led him through some extreme changes, but as he regains his missing memories and learns more about himself he becomes even more likeable. The sexiness however never fades, simply becomes more and more irresistible; Sexiness which Harvester can certainly attest to, though she would probably be reluctant to do so. Harvester on the other hand was a character that always rubbed me the wrong way, seeing how she treated those around her and manipulated her surroundings, kinda ticked me off. Just goes to show that sometimes not only do you need to look beyond the cover of the book and read between the lines as well, but sometimes you have to wait until the epilogue to make a truly informed opinion of a character. And Harvester is just such a character. Learning the truth about not just her motivations, but also full details of her actions gives one a whole new idea of the meaning of sacrifice. She has spent millennia acting a part, one that has slowly eroded at her soul, but once she reached her goal and the truth came out, instead of getting her just rewards, she I punished with eternal torment at the hands of her once angelic father. While I have certainly changed my tune about Harvester, seeing her work through her issues with her past, learning to trust again, and finding her heart with Reaver, made me like her even more. I will say that her sassiness, sarcasm, and acerbic attitude didn’t lessen a bit when she finds her inner angel again, which I am thankful for because this is one of my favorite parts of her character. Reaver was definitely one of my favorite books, and one of the primary reasons was Harvester herself, as she is an amazing woman, an extremely well written character, and a force for good in a way that has never been written before.
Normally I try not to give away too much of the story in my reviews, and I will do my best to continue with that practice, but I feel I must give away a bit in this paragraph to share the awesomeness that is this story. So… SPOILER ALERT… The overall plot for this story has been building for millennia. When the memories of their past are returned to Reaver and Harvester, and they learn the truth about their previous lives as angels, friends, and lovers, you can literally feel your heart breaking for both of them. They have spent thousands of years beating each other up, torturing each other and keeping secrets, even if unintentionally. What Harvester goes through to keep Reaver safe, but then watching the torture for him continue, is something that I would never wish on my worst enemy. When Reaver’s wings are taken right before our eyes, my heart bleeds and the tears ran down my face freely. It was one of the most painful experiences to read about, and it wasn’t even from Reaver’s POV, but perhaps experiencing it through the eyes and love of Harvester was what made it so gut-wrenching. When Harvester and Reaver defy the very heavens to be together at last, kicking ass left and right and finally allowing their happiness to come first all I could think was “Hell YEAH, about damn time”. And finding out that Reaver has an evil twin, exaclty his opposite in every way? Earth shattering and so NOT expected, but so well done. War between heaven and earth is imminent and the next book should be even more complicated and earth-shaking. And I just have to say that Raphael, setting Harvester up to force her into his bed, working against Reaver, and planning to kidnap Limos’s unborn child, reaffirms my belief that even heavenly forces can have a dark and sinister self-interest to their actions; NOT COOL Raphael. (Spoilers over)
Reaver has been a long awaited experience, one that has taken us a long time to reach and one that has left me so shaken that it took me over a week before I could collect my thoughts enough to write my review, which is the highest compliment I can give. Reaver and Harvester overcome extreme challenges and defeat terrifying foes, be they earthly, demonic or even heavenly, finally coming out on top and being able to find their HEA, despite all odds. The passion between Reaver and Harvester is something that we have only seen peeking through in the past when they argued or battled, but when they turned those passions to pleasing one another, the heat goes through the stratosphere. Once the trust is returned, and they both understand just what they have each sacrificed, the love builds into something that we can see lasting for many, many, millennia more. These two characters carry the book, reminding readers that even as the universe begins to unravel, with heaven and hell coming apart at the seams, the most important thing to fight for is love—love between mates, love of parents and children, and the love of friends and family, ones that have been there for you through it all. Reaver reminds us of the importance of having love in our lives, offering forgiveness for others and more importantly for ourselves, and that no matter how the world falls apart around you, if you find that special someone who completes your life, you grab hold of them and don’t let them go now matter where the storms may toss you. Another Master must be crowned, Larissa Ione is a wonderful author, full of amazing stories to share and having been blessed to read her series there is only one thing I can say: MORE PLEASE, I beg you!.