Sinead Donnelly is the only female Seminus demon known to exist. Not long after discovering what she is, Sin was enslaved by an assassin master, and as a matter of survival, learned to kill. That wasn't hard, since her "gift" is the ability to infect someone with a lethal disease with merely a touch. For more than a century, she's lived a life devoid of any softer emotions, and after being a slave for just as long and only recently gaining her freedom, she's vowed to do whatever it takes to remain independent, avoiding contact with others. But then she unwittingly unleashes a virus within the warg population that has rapidly turned into an epidemic and her brother believes the key to a cure may lie within Sin herself. If she can kill the virus in the blood of a dhampire carrier of the disease with whom she had a brief and memorable sexual encounter, they may be able to stop the civil war that has broken out among the wargs and save lives.
Half-vampire, half-werewolf Conall Dearghul is angry with Sin for unleashing a plague on his people. When Sin's brother suggests that the only way to find a cure may be by him feeding on her blood, Con isn't thrilled. Not only does he have reason to hate her, he's already had a taste of her blood and it's so intoxicating, he fears he may succumb to the blood addiction that's common among dhampires if he has her again. He reluctantly agrees, but when her own assassins, along with warg-kind, begin to hunt Sin, they must go on the run together. Sin needs sex in order to survive, and as the only one close at hand who can help, Con soon finds that he's not averse to servicing her. As they grow closer, Con realizes what a hard life she's had and that she's shut herself off to all emotions. He tries to help her open up again, while danger lurks closer every day. But as the blood addiction grows stronger and stronger, Con knows that the greatest threat to Sin's life may come from himself.
Sin Undone, the fifth full-length installment of Larissa Ione's Demonica series, picks up where events left off in the previous book. We started getting to know Sin and Conall in Ecstasy Unveiled. Sin is the full-blooded, twin sister of Lore, the hero of that book, while Con is a dhampire paramedic who works at Underworld General Hospital. This pair had an inauspicious beginning when they engaged in some sexcapades in a supply closet as part of a bet that Con made with his warg EMT partner, Luc. For various reasons, Sin and Con begin this story at odds with each other. They both have pretty intensely alpha natures, which leads to a lot of head-butting, but they also gradually find someone they can trust in each other, something neither has had an easy time with in the past. At the end of Ecstasy Unveiled, we also discovered that Sin had unintentionally created a werewolf virus with her "gift" that is decimating the warg population, and we get to see the fall-out from that in this book. A warg civil war breaks out between the borns and the turneds, complete with political intrigue, while Sin's half-brother, Eidolon, races to find a cure for the virus. Plus everyone under the sun seems to be out to get Sin. It all made for another masterfully-plotted, edge-of-your-seat read in this series.
All Seminus demons have been males, making Sin the only female Seminus (or succubus) ever known to exist. She and Lore grew up not knowing what they were until their dermoire markings erupted in their late teens and they experienced a surge in their sexual hunger. When Lore also flew into rages and feared he might hurt Sin, he took off to protect her, leaving her alone to fend for herself. She was eventually found and enslaved by an assassin master for the next hundred years or so. Then in the previous book, she got free of him and became a master herself. However, all of her assassins covet her job, leaving only a handful of places where she's safe from them possibly trying to kill her to take over. On top of that, after accidentally creating the warg virus, the werewolves are now out to get her as well. Eidolon still thinks she's their best hope of a cure, so they have to keep her alive, but it won't be easy. Then Con enters the picture. As a half-werewolf, he's a carrier of the disease but isn't infected yet, so Eidolon wants Con to feed from Sin so that he can study how Con's blood reacts to hers in his effort to find a cure. Unfortunately, dhampires are prone to blood addictions and after only one taste of Sin's blood, Con can already feel himself heading down that path, making him a danger to her as well. Eventually Con and Sin end up on the run together, trying to avoid all the people who are after them while also attempting to get ahead of the virus. Of course, as a Sem, Sin needs sex in order to survive, so Con, as the only male around, ends up with the pleasure of servicing her needs, leading to a gradual realization of their feelings for one another.
For the first half or so of the book, Sin is a pretty hard-ass female. She's spent so long with no one to rely on but herself that she's reluctant to trust anyone. Not to mention, the things she's had to do to stay alive have hardened her as well. For most of her life, she's killed for a living and sex is something she's only done for survival but not for true pleasure. As a result, she's had to shut down her emotions as a matter of survival, too. I often have trouble connecting with alpha heroines, and for a while that was true of Sin as well. Eventually the reader is shown some of the chinks in her armor as the deaths from the virus she created begin to take their toll on her psyche. When we learn more about her past and her vulnerabilities, I started to connect with her better. She's still very different from me and therefore a little harder for me to relate to, but I at least felt like I understood what made her tick even if I didn't always agree with her.
Conall is a dhampire - half-werewolf, half-vampire - who works as an EMT at UGH. I wasn't quite sure what to think of him at first. After all, he did have sex with Sin on little more than a bet in the previous book, and he begins this book extremely angry with her over the virus she created that's decimating his relatives. So initially he's not being a very nice person. However, that all begins to change when he and Sin end up on the run together. Then he's able to start showing her more kindness and gentleness. As he gets to know her, he realizes just how much she's been through in her life and he feels some guilt for contributing to that. He also recognizes that Sin has shut down emotionally and helps her open back up again. As Con's feelings for her grow, so do his protective instincts, and as his blood addiction for her strengthens, that means protecting her from himself as well. Admittedly, some of the time, Con was a touch too alpha for my taste, but he has enough gentler moments for me to generally like him anyway.
As with all of the Demonica books, there are supporting characters aplenty. All of the original three Seminus brothers, Eidolon (Pleasure Unbound), Shade (Desire Unchained), and Wraith (Passion Unleashed) and their families appear. Of course the boys are playing over-protective big brother to Sin, while also working to help find a cure and keep the supernatural world from falling apart. Then there's Sin's twin, Lore (Ecstasy Unveiled), who is equally as protective of her. In fact, he still harbors some guilt over leaving her when they were younger. Con's partner, Luc, who is a warg, is hiding out in an attempt to isolate himself from the virus. I think Luc may be even more alpha than Con, which is a tough feat to pull off. But he has to dig deep and find a little kindness when Kar, a woman from his past shows up, needing his help. I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of these two, as it's looking like their romance may play out in secondary format in the same way Kynan and Gem's did in the previous books. As leaders of the Aegis Guardians and the R-XR respectively, Kynan and Arik (Immortal Rider) make appearances. Then there are all the warg leaders who each have their own agendas and are doing a whole lot of political jockeying. Finally, we're briefly introduced to the concept of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, along with the first of those, War, who will become the hero of the next book, Eternal Rider.
The strange thing about the Demonica series is that I don't always relate as well to the heroes and heroines as I do to the characters in many other romances, but still I keep giving these books high ratings and coming back for more. Why is that, you might ask? Well it's a testament to Larissa Ione's superb writing skills. These books are always incredibly well-plotted with lots of edge-of-your-seat suspense. Many times throughout reading these stories, I've found myself thinking that the author has painted herself into a corner and all is certainly lost. Yet she always surprises me with a unique and interesting twist that gets her characters to that all-important HEA ending. On top of that, the world building is excellent as well, and relatable or not, there's still something about the characters that make me want to see them again in future volumes. For all these reasons and more, I'm hooked on this series. From here, it appears that a new story arc is beginning with the Lords of Deliverance spin-off that is still considered part of the Demonica world. From the way things ended in Sin Undone, it's looking like the entire world may be imperiled and on the verge of apocalypse, so I eagerly look forward to seeing what happens next.
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