Reviewed by: Jannelle
Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars
Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it does make reference to previous books. If you haven’t started this series yet, check out VBC’s review of book 1, Pleasure Unbound.
Zhubaal is a fallen angel and right-hand man to Azagoth—otherwise known as the grim reaper. Zhubaal (or Z) has spent close to a century looking for the reincarnation of Laura, his fallen-angel soulmate, who he swore he would be faithful to until they met again. As he starts to lose hope, he stumbles into Vex, an emim with the uncontrollable ability to attract souls and keep them inside her body.
When Vex and Z meet, Vex is carrying the soul of Laura within her, as well as a few others that she is trying to sell and can’t seem to shake off of herself. With a little help from Azagoth, Vex and Z work towards breaking Vex away from the souls working to possess her, as well as the assassins the new high power of the underworld have sent to get rid of anyone involved in the underground soul market.
Z was a ridiculously quick read. I mean, it’s a novella. I knew this going into it and I tried to stretch it out as much as possible. The problem is that while the last few novellas of the series in the 1,001 Dark Nights saga—Azagoth and Hades’ story, for example—worked well as short stories, I felt that Z had so much more that could have been explored. Zhubaal’s life the past hundred years was slightly uneventful, but I found myself wanting to know more about his life in heaven and the years following his downfall. I was also hoping to hear more about Vex’s past and what her family and job were like before the apocalyptic change of events putting a stop to the soul-buying market.
Zhubaal and Vex’s connection was instant and oh-so-obvious as to where it was going. But that’s the point of happily-ever-afters—right? We know that they’ll end up together, but the how is what’s important. Again, I wish there was more body to the story, but I can’t complain about what was given to us. Ione did a great job at building up the tension and delivering on the bedroom scenes and those that explored the connection between Vex and Z. They were thoughtful and so hot and sexy that I may have blushed while reading.
There is also this giant, jaw-dropping thing that happened towards the end of the novella. This causes a shift to the storyline that will prolong the series, when it had most definitely reached its natural end with the conclusion to Revenant (Demonica #11). If you haven’t read any of the novellas in the Demonica series, you need to read this one. Z is an essential addition to the series that showcases a sweet and steamy romance along with the action-packed and fast-paced plot we have come to expect of Ione’s Demonica series.
It is also in this installment in particular that we see the evolution of the world we have become familiar with into something new and definitely tipped toward the side of good: what will this mean in a world set on a foundation of the balance between good and evil? I am wholeheartedly excited to see where the story will go next.
Overall, Z was a fantastic addition to the Demonica series. I enjoyed every word and encourage both Demonica fans and those new to the series to read. While the jaw-dropping scene might not make sense to new readers, it will give you a spot-on feel as to what to expect for the rest of the series: pure awesome.
Sexual content: graphic sex