Meet War, the Second Horseman of the Hot-pocalyse
When He broke the second seal, I head the second living creature saying “come.” And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another, and a great sword was given to him. -Revelation 6:3-4
What Revelation does not mention is that he’s also a stone cold hottie. There are gold ornaments in his hair, and thick kohl around his eyes. He’s huge, muscled, with high cheekbones, a “feral, masculine beauty” and “a scowl that makes him look absolutely petrifying”. So basically…he’s Khal Drogo.
Sure, he’s utterly ruthless and God’s unsparing sword of justice, BUT LOOK AT THOSE PECS.
Unlike Pestilence, who had no personal knowledge of or grudge against humans, War has existed in the hearts of mankind since the beginning. Now, as an idea made flesh, he thinks humanity is just the worst. He is more than happy to make endless war upon the earth and wipe them out completely. It is, quite literally, his sole reason for existing.
A self-taught weapon maker eking out a tenuous existence in Jerusalem, she tries to kill War (but fails; horsemen have a tendency to not stay dead) and is taken captive. Apparently War is convinced she’s his God-given bride, so…that’s not creepy. As Miriam spends more time in War’s camp, she finds herself reluctantly intrigued by the Horseman. She hates him for the death and destruction he’s inflicting, but dayum if he ain’t pretty, you know? And then there are those fleeting, fascinating glimpses of what could be human emotions underneath all the bloody-mindedness. It’s a tricky business, when your lady parts are a big fan but your brain is telling you to gut him with his own sword. There’s enemies to lovers, and then there’s enemies while lovers.
But Miriam does just fine. She is War’s match, and she never stops fighting for what is right. She uses whatever tools she can; weapons, words, sex, or War’s feelings for her. She preaches mercy and compassion, but less in a Mother Teresa way and more in a “I will drag you kicking and screaming towards decency if it’s the last thing I do” way.
The Ultimate Redemption Story
The reason I love this series so much is because the love story seems so impossible. How can the author make you root for a soulless immortal? Don’t get me wrong, it takes a LONG time for the reader to transition from “YAS GURL YOU SHOOT HIM FULL OF ARROWS” to “Aaawwww give him another chance, he’s never known love!!” The taming of the horsemen happens piece by piece, as Miriam shows him what it means to be human, and that we’re worth saving. The end result is utterly satisfying….until you get to the teaser for book 3.
Obviously this book is not going to be for everyone. Some people are going to see a captor/captive situation and think “Stockholm Syndrome” no matter what, but I can assure you that this is not the case. If you don’t like death and violence, fictional as it is, you’ll want to pass. It’s the apocalypse…a lot of people die, but it’s not gratuitous. There is also an attempted rape (but NOT between War and Miriam). There’s occasional talk of God and religion, but it’s not at all preachy. And if you don’t believe in redemption stories, you’ll definitely want to pass because TRUE LOVE CONQUERORS ALL, Y’ALL.