Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Demonica Series by Larissa Ione

Okay.  I admit it.  I read romance.

This was probably the first series I knowingly read that can be classified under the romance genre.  Larissa Ione's Demonica Series (Pleasure Unbound, Desire Unchained, Passion Unleashed, Ecstasy Unveiled) in particular is also paranormal, so it lines up with the fact that I normally gravitate toward fantasy fiction.  I struggled with if I should review this in such a public forum, but then the lovely Amanda reminded me that romance is a very popular genre and widely read.   Backing up her insight is the fact that the most recent in the series, Ecstasy Unveiled, was on the USA Today and NY Times best seller lists for the three weeks following its release at the end of January. (I couldn't find it on the lists for week of 2/25: USA Today, NY Times.)  This was my favorite cover of the four.

The series follows a set of brothers who are Seminus demons.  This particular breed of demon strives to procreate through incredible charm, "f- me pheromones," and individualized talents meant to ensure impregnation.  Each book of the four follows one of the brothers in his struggles to find a mate to stave of the insanity that follows a stage of development that occurs at the 100 year old mark.  They have to balance keeping their close brotherly bond, saving the world, and getting their respective girl. 

Each book bounces around between several points of view for some of the key players in Ione's world, though stays primarily with one particular brother and his mate.  I loved that all of the women portrayed in the series are fiesty and incredibly capable.  They were strong women that held their own ground, even in the presence of  "f- me pheromones."  All the brothers have their particular hangups, but they all appear to fall in love with the heroines really quickly.  I'm assuming this is a device that is normal for romance writing since I don't have another reference for comparison.  It just felt quicker than the fantasy I usually read.

The "good parts" were incredibly graphic and occurred every few pages, but suited my tastes just fine.  I don't have any formulated thoughts on what such scenes should or shouldn't be or include.  So for my taste, I can enjoy the artistic fade out as well as the nitty gritty sweat fests.  I don't think I could read this type of book exclusively, but maybe every once in a while for a quickie (pun intended).  The story line between the "good parts" in the first two books was somewhat forgettable.  in the third and fourth books, I breezed right through the "good parts" to continue on with the story.  It might be that I read the series out of order (2, 3, 1, 4) but it felt like Ione just got better at putting all the different story threads together.  Seeing Ione develop the story and her talent over the course of the series helped me see the difference between an okay story and a enthralling one which I hope to help me in my writing.

Tattoos comprised a major theme central to the definition of the Seminus breed.  It makes me think about getting a tattoo again.  Torture and BDSM were also common themes.  I took it as something you would expect demons in romance novels to do.  There had to be a "bad" influence there somewhere, right?

Reason #2 to love my nook: Don't have to worry about the embarrasing covers when reading in public!  So I'm still a little embarrassed by the romance covers and wouldn't want to read one of the paperbacks on a subway or anything.

I also just realized that Kim Harrison's Hollows series (that I loved) also counts as a paranormal romance by virtue of the fact that it has some genre awards.  The "good parts" in the Hollows are much less graphic than the ones in Demonica, and Hollows has usually only one scene to that effect.  So maybe I need to read more in this category in order to figure out what is normal and what isn't for the genre.  I might even take my Naiads story and try my hand at writing some romance.  If my main character is a water nymph, then it goes without saying, right?

So I renounce my previous thoughts that romance is something less than other genres.  Now I need to go apologize to my mom for making fun of her for reading romance.


Larissa Ione said...

Oh...so cool that you're enjoying the series even though you're not really much of a romance reader!

You know, what you said about your mom strikes a chord with me, because I used to make fun of my Air Force roommate for reading romance. I was into Stephen King, Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks, Mary Stewart, Marion Zimmer Bradley...etc. Then we decided to torture each other. I made her watch Star Trek (I'm a Trekker!) and she made me read a romance.

Yeah...I totally fell in love with romance. And since then, I've noticed that romance is everywhere -- most movies, even guy movies, have a romantic subplot. Most people spend much of their lives dating...or married. So romance is a big part of our lives, and I figured I might as well make it part of my writing too.

So I shifted what I was writing at the time (straight fantasy) to romance, and it was MUCH harder to write. But I love it. Paranormal romance was the perfect fit for me. Though I swear, I'm going to write a Star Trek novel someday! *g*

Again, glad you're enjoying the books, and thanks for the awesome writeup!!!

Amanda said...

Glad I could help! I've actually never read a romance. I know someone who writes them (but won't name her because she does it under a pen name so her family won't find out) but she isn't yet published (though Harlequin almost accepted one of her books). She's only let me read part of one of her books, though. I think she got embarrassed after that.

I wonder why this sort of book causes so much embarrassment to many people. I mean, it would to me, too. I admit it. But I just wonder...

Ann said...

Larissa- thanks for stopping by! I read your bio and loved your story. My sister and her husband are in the Air Force, so I have an affinity for Airmen.

Amanda- that reminds me of a woman at my church growing up. She had published some romance novels under a pseudonym. When my mom told me about it, it felt like a secret that you shouldn't talk about.

It makes me wonder why this genre in particular is has that kind of stigma for it's writers and readers. I want to rebel against the stigma, for the singular cause that it doesn't seem right. Interesting food for thought.