Larissa Ione is the next target of my “Things I’ve Learned From” blog. I’m such a picky reader and have less than ten authors I avidly follow, and I’ve been studying them for years, wondering what sets them apart in my mind from others. Why does their work make me fangirl and babble non-stop every time a fellow PNR reader asks for recommendations?
1. Have an even cooler series.
After my third kid was born, I got back into reading. I had quit my job, my career, to be home with my littles. Talk about a mental mind fuck. I was my work. Only, my work didn’t love me back like my babies, so I left it. Now, I was so-and-so’s mom. I loved (and still absolutely enjoy) being home, but…I needed to feel like myself again. Or get away from feeling like myself. So I turned to what I used to do before kids and careers came along.
Since throwing back Buds and smoking a few cigs was no longer in the cards, I escaped into books. I cruised through some authors I enjoyed, but I was looking for more. It’s hard to find authors on the level of J.R. Ward, Kresley Cole, and Gena Showalter. Authors who craft a smart, sexy story, that’s dark and serious, but sprinkled with intelligent humor. I wanted an author I could really sink my teeth into.
Naturally, I found Larissa Ione. The first book of hers that I read was Eternal Rider in the Lords of Deliverance series. It was good, I was intrigued. I got book two and thought, damn, even better. But that was it; the other books hadn’t been released yet, so... let’s see what else she has.
I read Pleasure Unbound. The second chapter was smokin’. I still fangirl pretty hard over Eidolon and I’m not one to get all tittery over a doctor, even in books. But a do-gooder, bad boy, good boy, demon doctor that’s hot? Titter, titter. The chemistry, push-pull, between Eidolon and Tayla was addicting. Just like the series, because I cruised through the next four books and ignored the world.
2. May the voice be with you.
In my humble, finicky reader opinion, Ione and J.R. Ward have the best writing voice, like, ever. The writing is clear and descriptive without being stuffy and clinical. When I’m reading a scene from a character’s point of view, I feel like I’m feeling what that character is thinking/feeling. Yes, normally, that’s a writer’s goal. But Ione has the talent of writing, wording, her work so I’m feeling, not just being shown, what the character’s thinking.
It’s hard to define the difference between her voice and other writers I just can’t get into. The only word I can think to describe it is informal. Her writing is less rigid and more informal. So I feel I’m invited into the story: I take my shoes off, throw my coat in the closet, and pick a comfy seat to watch the show instead of perching uncomfortably on a hard chair and being told what’s happening.
3. Strong heroines power a story.
Let’s go back to Tayla. She wasn’t the big V - always a bonus. I get tired of the virgin angle. She was a soldier and definitely wasn’t too stupid to live. She also didn’t need her ass saved constantly. I dread “tough” heroines that can’t help themselves. I’m girly enough to want the hero to be the hero at the end of the story, but I love a heroine that can kick ass and take names - without it being a big deal, see? I hate it when an author has to point out how tough the heroine is, because otherwise we couldn’t tell. I especially hate when a heroine is strong because she talks back. Really? We’re in the twenty-first century, people.
Ione’s heroines have never felt that way. Not all of them are fighters, some are even pretty innocent, but Tayla, Sin, and several others have held up their end of the story - all without the reader having to be told they were doing it. We can see the strength of the heroine, we experience her mental and physical fortitude. A strong heroine isn’t a stereotype or a lesson in modern feminism. She just is.
4. Create an enviable world.
The whole demons living among us thing isn’t new, but Ione has crafted such a unique way of hiding them in our world. I mean, Underworld General? Come on! I’m a bit jealous of the whole concept.
The supernatural world only expanded from there. Ione went on to create the upper and lower realms, like Heaven and Hell, along with several other realms and demon species. The possibilities are endless and it all started with such a simple concept.
Underworld General. Genius.
5. Create an enviable series name.
Best. Name. Ever.
It’s sharp. It’s sexy. It’s a play on words, a play on the genre, in a cool and sexy way. I can only hope that someday, I have a sweet-ass name for a series like this one.
6. Hellhounds. Just cuz.
Hellhounds aren’t a new thing, but they were brought to a whole new level in the Lords of Deliverance series. Ugly, smelly, and utterly loyal to those they serve. It almost makes me want one.
If done right, a pet can enrich a story. I love to see them made a part of the story and not just comic relief. I enjoy when the animals’ normal tendencies are part of their personality. The hellhounds Ione crafted, are a perfect mix of loyal canine and wicked demon. They become an integral part of the story. The series wouldn’t be the same without them.
There ya go readers. I’ve covered my top three authors, only three more to go. I told you - I’m a finicky reader.