Friday, October 12, 2012

Review: Rogue Rider by Larissa Ione

Rogue Rider
Rogue Rider by Larissa Ione

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It seemed apropos that, since I read Immortal Rider and Lethal Rider while on vacation at Disneyland during RWA, I read the NetGalley e-arc of Rogue Rider while on vacation at Walt Disney World. Only I would bring dark romances to the happiest places on Earth.

I think this book is going to be very polarizing.

Immortal and Lethal were very dark with lots and lots of torture & death. Rogue Rider is the story of what happens after a war, a time of healing and rebirth. Pestilence is defeated, long live Reseph. The twist here, however, is that Pestilence and Reseph are the same person, just different personalities. Readers spent a long time abhorring Pestilence as he committed atrocious acts against the people we were rooting for. He slaughtered the innocent, took part in countless depravities, and came really close to ending civilization as we know it. Now Pestilence exists in a metaphorical cage within the body and the Reseph personality is in control. The question becomes how do you atone for something you did when you weren't yourself. Should you even have to? Reseph's entire family wants him dead, just to prevent the mere possibility of Pestilence rising again, and it's hard to fault them for that.

Ione does a good job of differentiating between Reseph and Pestilence. Actions aside, Pestilence's POVs from previous books differ in rhythm from Reseph's POVs in Rogue. I could totally pretend they were two separate people, allowing me to separate my loathing for Pestilence from my role as a cheerleader for Reseph. What tripped me up was the fact that Reseph is deeply damaged. Once he gets his memories back, he's a psychological mess. Ione did her damnedest, but I couldn't shake off my psych training and I felt he was ill-equipped to be in a relationship at all. He should have made peace with himself before he committed to someone else. As a result, Reseph becomes rather co-dependent on Jillian.

I was pretty focused on Reseph and Jillian, but Ione does tie up some loose ends, including finally revealing the identity of the Horsemen's father, and sets up Reaver for book five. If you are a big Reaver fan, you should read Rogue Rider, just so you're ready for his book. Actually, knowing Ione, if you plan on reading anything else set in this world, you should probably read this book.