Publication date: 2018-2021
Kindle Unlimited: Yes
This series was on my TBR list FOREVER. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for post-apocalypse reads while we had our own kind of apocalypse going on in the real world? I dunno. But for whatever reason, I kept bumping this series in order of reading other, lighter series. I'm glad I finally read it, though. It's...an adventure, that's for sure. Here are the details:
Plot overview: The Four Horsemen of the apocalypse (Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death) come to earth on Heavenly orders to wipe out humanity. Along the way, they meet women who make them reconsider their purpose.
Trope bingo: forced proximity, enemies-to-lovers, post-apocalypse, anti-heroes, paranormal romance.
So, rather than outline the things and characters in each book that I like and don't like, I'm going to highlight the stuff you'll need to accept in order to enjoy this series. Because if you're open minded, you can definitely enjoy this series, despite the dark subject matter. Here's what you'll need to know:
The heroes aren't nice guys. In fact, they aren't "guys" at all
I read a few other reviews from readers who didn't get past the first book in the series because Pestilence mistreats the heroine. While that is true (he's unquestionably terrible to her), I found myself wanting to stick up for him a little. First of all, he's not a nice, human guy. He's a horseman of the apocalypse. He's never been human. Compassion is foreign to him. He's been sent to KILL ALL HUMANS. Is it really fair to expect THIS hero to coddle the heroine right from the start? So, to me, it wasn't an issue that he was jerk. It would've been weirder for me if he'd been a decent, standup kind of guy. He's Pestilence, for crap's sake. I'm not going to get my knickers in a twist because he wasn't kind and compassionate to the heroine who just burned him alive. (Yes, that happens. And no, I don't blame her, either. She was trying to save humanity. How was she supposed to know Pestilence was immortal?)
Lots of people die. Like, LOTS.
Good people die. Bad people die. Kids die. It's the apocalypse. It happens. If you can't accept entire cities being wiped out in a single chapter, this is probably not the read for you. (And there's NOTHING wrong with not wanting to read something dark. You do you. Self-care is critical.)
The premise of these books is very unique, and all the individual main characters are very unique. But the plots of each book are VERY similar to each other. Horseman arrives, meets human woman, takes human woman as captive, lots of people die while the human woman tries to talk the horseman into NOT killing, bad people arrive on the scene to make the human woman wonder if humans are worth saving at all, horseman has a change of heart because he falls in love...rinse and repeat. I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad thing. I mean, I was intrigued enough to read all 4 books back-to-back. But if you're looking for incredibly unique plots from book to book, you might be disappointed with this series.
These books are LONG. The shortest of the 4 books is 381 pages. The others are 519, 502, and 472. My attention span was stretched to its limit reading these books. I might've skimmed War, which was the longest of the 4. In my opinion, they all could've been edited down quite a bit. But it's a testament to the author's skill that I stuck with it and didn't mark the books down for being so ridiculously long.
Reading about a heroine who cries out things like, "Oh, Famine!", "Oh, Pestilence!", "Oh, War!", "Oh, Death!" during sexy times in the throes of passion was pretty weird. I giggled every time it happened. But I overlooked it because the stories were good and compelling.
While the heroes technically couldn't die, they sure did get their asses handed to them a lot. They get shot, burned alive, limbs cut off, tormented, tortured, held captive...it got old after a while. I never understood why the humans didn't figure out that they could incapacitate these guys, then just keep incapacitating them when they started to heal. It would've been an endless cycle, but it would've saved a lot of lives. Honestly, though, I guess it was just weird for me to see supernatural, heavnely creatures who were so easily taken down by bullets and such. *shrugs*
Overall, though, if you're willing to overlook the stuff I pointed out above, this series is a very compelling read. It's well written, the characters are complex and interesting, and while the romance is a little Stockholm Syndrome-y at times, I did find it believable. Long-story-short, this is a series that is well worth a read for fans of paranormal and post-apocalypse romance alike.
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
No rehab needed. This one is clean and sober.