Thalassa was a new author I picked up this past year (she mainly does Young Adult/New Adult romances), but I’ve been really enjoying this Four Horsemen series so far! Each male protagonist in the series is a personification of one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse in individual, not-related stories. So far, only two books are out, but the third one should be coming up soon!
They came to earth–Pestilence, War, Famine, Death–four horsemen riding their screaming steeds, racing to the corners of the world. Four horsemen with the power to destroy all of humanity. They came to earth, and they came to end us all.
When Pestilence comes for Sara Burn’s town, one thing is certain: everyone she knows and loves is marked for death. Unless, of course, the angelic-looking horseman is stopped, which is exactly what Sara has in mind when she shoots the unholy beast off his steed.
Too bad no one told her Pestilence can’t be killed.
Now the horseman, very much alive and very pissed off, has taken her prisoner, and he’s eager to make her suffer. Only, the longer she’s with him, the more uncertain she is about his true feelings towards her … and hers towards him.
And now, well, Sara might still be able to save the world, but in order to do so, she’ll have to sacrifice her heart in the process.
Check out my review on GoodReads over here!
At first I tried to pick this book up and it wasn’t up my alley for some reason. But after trying again recently, I ended up really enjoying it! PESTILENCE reads like an apocalyptic romance, where the main character Sara finds herself at the mercy of Pestilence, a personified horseman of the apocalypse. It’s seemingly the end of the world, but Sara, a firefighter, is ready to defend her town by killing the horseman. When he ends up regenerating, he takes her as his captive as he travels across the land to bring disease.
A couple of notes: She’s his captive at first, but the power dynamic definitely changes. It’s a smooth transition, because he definitely doesn’t pull punches in the beginning, but for me at least, it was important to keep in mind the fact that he’s an otherwordly being who was trying to dole out what he thought was vengeance/mercy. It makes his character development all the more special, because he starts trusting and loving her, ultimately gaining human emotions and truly learning mercy.
“You have managed what no one else has: you have awoken my heart. So, no, Sara, of all the word I’d use to describe you, fascinating would definitely be one of them.”
Sara herself is a super resilient and strong heroine that packs a punch. I loved seeing her go head to head against Pestilence and come out stronger than ever. They were a great couple after they went through their obstacles (and even during). I loved the premise of the story as well, since it brings them together for the whole book, and provides awesome dialogue and interactions. Definitely a romance book worth rereading.
Pestilence came here with a grisly task, and he armored himself against the atrocity of it by convincing himself that humans were monsters. And we proved him right every time we attacked him.
That’s what hate does – it brings out your worst.
He’s only caught glimpses of our goodness, and yet that’s all it’s taken for his deeds to weigh on him.
Because that’s what compassion does – it brings out your best nature.
heavy violence and gore, sexy times, physical abuse and harrassment
They came to earth—Pestilence, War, Famine, Death—four horsemen riding their screaming steeds, racing to the corners of the world. Four horsemen with the power to destroy all of humanity. They came to earth, and they came to end us all.
The day Jerusalem falls, Miriam Elmahdy knows her life is over. Houses are burning, the streets run red with blood, and a traitorous army is massacring every last resident. There is no surviving this, especially not once Miriam catches the eye of War himself. But when the massive and terrifying horseman corners Miriam, he calls her his wife, and instead of killing her, he takes her back to his camp.
Now Miriam faces a terrifying future, one where she watches her world burn town by town, and the one man responsible for it all is her seemingly indestructible “husband”. But there’s another side to him, one that’s gentle and loving and dead set on winning her over, and she might not be strong enough to resist.
However, if there’s one thing Miriam has learned, it’s that love and war cannot coexist. And so she must make the ultimate choice: surrender to War and watch humankind fall, or sacrifice everything and stop him.
Check out my review on GoodReads over here!
I was wondering how Thalassa was going to write this book without making it too similar to PESTILENCE, but WAR definitely stays true on its own, with very different characters and storyline compared to book 1.
WAR definitely has more violence and gore going for it compared to book 1, so be wary of that. It reads like a captive fantasy book, but takes place in an apocalyptic setting (several years after the end of book 1). I love how the stories have been happening around the world, as the setting in WAR is in the Middle East. I can’t say much about how the author addresses the Pakistani-Israeli conflict in the book, especially because it’s a conflict happening present day, but her way of approaching it and adding her own spin for the future setting she created was interesting. Take care if that topic, as well as war-related triggers such as rape, heavy violence, mutilation, blood, and gore, hinder your reading experience.
The romance itself was urgh, in my opinion quite good. Miriam was such a fierce heroine (rep: one of her parents was Jewish and the other was Muslim, she gives a little insight on how that affected her growing up), that was able to fight War on so many levels, whether it was small rebellions or via dialogue, despite being physically weaker than him. She was still strong though, and stood firm throughout the (many) action scenes. I loved the exploration of their emotions and the slow-burn, hate-to-love romance on Miriam’s part. (War’s part was a bit more insta-love/lust I guess, but readers can visibly see his emotion transition to an actual, romantic love.) I thought War’s character was really interesting, as all he’s known was human brutality and cruelty, but Miriam’s acts of mercy and compassion send him reeling and learning human emotion.
I do believe this book was a bit longer than it needed to be (although yes, I can say I enjoyed every page). Miriam vacillated quite a lot throughout the storyline in her decision whether to stay with War or not (and how to handle his ideologies), which led to some repetitiveness in parts. Also, the ending shares a similar deus ex machina feeling as book 1, which I also was okay with. I mean, I’m reading this story for the romance/characters, and the action + storyline’s just a plus. It’s not the most perfect narrative and storyline, but it gets the job done and it’s enjoyable.
I really commend Thalassa on such a unique world, which allows for a lot of creativity on her part. Her writing is fun and easy-to-read, and her characters are also relatable and fight for what they believe in. Overall, this series has been a hit for me, and I look forward to the next books!
rape, heavy violence/gore, mutilation, sexy times, loss of loved ones