Maybe right now you’re saying “but wait, I’ve read loads of apocalyptic romance and it’s pretty normal and mainstream.” I’m not talking about dystopian YA like The Hunger Games or Divergent. Have you read a story where the male love interest is LITERALLY one of the four horsemen ushering in the apocalypse and the destruction of all mankind? No? Then get ready to live, because it is way, WAY better than you think. Author (and my new best friend, and possibly also my Patronus) Laura Thalassa audaciously asks the question that no one has bothered to ask yet: “Okay, but WHAT IF the four horsemen of the apocalypse were stone cold hotties?”
Meet Pestilence, First Horseman of the Hot-pocalypse
Pestilence and his brothers (Death, Famine, and War) arrive on earth with a crash of lightning, plunging the planet into chaos. Machines break, the internet crashes, cars stall and planes plummet from the sky. And then they disappear for five years. Then one day Pestilence appears in Florida and begins his slow journey north, leaving a fatal plague and millions dead in his wake.
As he enters Canada, Sara Burns is ready. Her family and friends have evacuated, but she drew the short straw and will remain behind and attempt to assassinate Pestilence, saving humanity. Lying in wait, she ambushes him, shoots him and, despite his pleas, sets him on fire. Utterly sickened by what she’s had to do, Sara pukes and stumbles off into the forest.
Unfortunately for her, Pestilence is immortal and pissed. He regenerates and quickly tracks her down, taking her prisoner in order to exact revenge and inflict equal suffering. But as days on the road turn into weeks, Sara and Pestilence find it harder and harder to hate each other. Can Sara save the world by teaching the cold, preternatural horseman how to love?
Why I stayed up all night reading it
Pestilence was so, so good. And not in the “it was so ridiculous that I had to love it” kind of way, but the “I’ll-sleep-when-I’m-dead-give-me-MOOOOOOORE” way. Sara is the heroine I’ve been waiting for; self-deprecating but confident, crass but kindhearted. Being in her head is the most fun I’ve had reading in a long time. Her inner monologues are delightful, and her multi-faceted use of *stage whisper* “the eff word” is way too entertaining.
And then there’s Pestilence. If Jamie Fraser is the King of Men, then Pestilence is the King of Anti-Heroes. He’s not innately cruel; he’s just an ancient, unfeeling, archaic angelic being who’s been charged with the task of wiping out mankind and their depravity. It’s nothing personal (until they keep trying to kill him, and then it gets a tiny bit personal). But he’s never really interacted with humans until Sara. His character development is phenomenal as he learns to feel and think for himself and know what it is to be human, the strengths and the shortcomings.
This book hits the ground running, and the pacing is flawless; there was never a point where I felt it lagged or was too rushed. Which is a testament to the author, because the story mostly consists of the two being on the road, breaking into houses to sleep, and tending the occasional plague victim. The interactions and slow burn between Pestilence and Sara is so fascinating to read that it doesn’t really need loads of action. Except for between-the-sheets action, AM I RIGHT?? Don’t worry, it has that too. But it’s not just a happy, horny frolic through the apocalypse. Millions of people are wiped out by Pestilence’s plague, and you get up close and personal with it, but it’s handled very somberly and with due care.
What are you still doing here? Get reading, already!
Read Pestilence for free through Kindle Unlimited, and be sure to check out the author’s other works! She has several other highly rated series on Goodreads that look equally awesome. And there will be a book for each Horseman, so there are three more dreamy/calamitous harbingers of doom to fall in love with.
Thanks again, Kindle Unlimited! You’re the best! But also sometimes the worst.