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ARC Review: Cipher by Larissa Ione
Book Info

Released: April 9th 2019
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Demonica #18
Pages: 197

“I found the storyline interesting because of the connections it makes and the setup for future it gives us.”
~ Under the Covers

I’ve said this before and I’ll just have to repeat myself.  These Demonica Underworld novellas are nice to hold you over and keep you involved in the Demonica world, but they never quite blow me away.  With Cipher, I didn’t have much anticipation for his story but I was excited to be back in this world.

Cipher was kidnapped by Bael and is being tortured to obtain the names of Azagoth’s human children from him.  The heroine, Lyre, is a fallen angel who volunteered to serve Bael in exchange for his help in getting revenge from the angels who betrayed her and caused her to lose her wings.  I definitely liked Cipher more than Lyre, but I think both characters were developed only in the surface.  That is probably because of the next point I want to make.  Quite a bit of this book is laying the plot for the next full length novel in the Demonica series, Reaper.

I am both a bit disappointed but mostly excited about that.  I read the Azagoth novella earlier this year (out of order) and I wasn’t quite so invested in that romance but I knew there was potential to be more.  And I was excited to see he would be getting a full length book because there’s been turmoil in his relationship with his mate.  CIPHER gives us a lot more developments in that relationship as well as an imminent threat to Azagoth.  All this to cause the revolt to free Satan.

At this point in this world and series, you have to be reading the books in order to know what’s going on.  Some of the things in this novella tie back to REVENANT (and omg I was so excited that Reaver and Revenant made some cameo appearances).

All that being said, I found the storyline interesting because of the connections it makes and the setup for future it gives us.  But as an individual book I think it lacked in drawing me in to the romance.  I liked the main characters just enough but I didn’t care for them much one way or the other.  And I was really expecting to love Cipher as he is a geeky fallen angel.  Still, I am now itching to get my hands on REAPER!




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Lilliana inhaled a shaky breath as she stood on the portal pad inside Sheoul-gra, the symbols engraved into the stone glowing hotly. A breeze swirled around her, rattling the leaves on the perpetually blooming citrus trees and bringing their tangy and sweet scents to her nose. Grassy lawns stretched for acres, broken by babbling streams and worn paths — and the occasional ancient Greek column or demonic statue that rose into the featureless gray sky.

Several yards away, a fountain that once ran with blood splashed crystal water onto pavers leading to outbuildings that housed dozens of Unfallen angels and Memitim. And beyond the fountain, Azagoth’s palace towered over all, its pale walls gleaming.

Relief sifted through her, temporarily replacing her nervousness. The realm was attuned to Azagoth’s moods, and she wasn’t sure what she’d have done if she’d come back to find the kind of decay and evil that had once held court here.

The Grim Reaper’s realm could be beautiful but disconcerting; look, but not too closely, touch, but don’t feel.

Her gut turned over, and inside her rounded belly, the baby stirred as if sensing the return of her anxiety.

Except that anxiety was too mellow a word for what she was experiencing. Really, she was flat-out terrified, mere moments away from seeing her husband for the first time in months. For the first time since she’d left him.

And he didn’t have a clue that she was pregnant.

She almost regretted telling Reaver that she didn’t need him to accompany her down here when he’d flashed her from Ares’s Greek island to the outer portal. She should have at least allowed Maleficent, a hellhound that had shadowed her everywhere on the island, to come with her. The hound had refused to leave her side until Cara distracted the beast long enough for Lilliana to get away. She was going to miss the moose-sized canine, but Cara assured her that Mal would find her if the hellhound had bonded with her.

Lilliana was going to have a hard enough time trying to explain bringing home a baby, let alone a pet that ate people.

Resting her palm on her baby bump, she stepped off the landing pad and started toward the palace, her heart pounding wildly. Azagoth would have sensed her presence by now.

Before that thought even faded, the skin on the back of her neck tingled, and she stopped in her tracks.

He was here.

He was behind her.

She should turn around and face him. But damn, she wasn’t ready for this.

Closing her eyes, she let out a long, ragged breath, and when she spoke, she could only manage a whisper. “Azagoth.”




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About Larissa Ione

Air Force veteran Larissa Ione traded in a career in meteorology to pursue her passion of writing. She has since published dozens of books, hit several bestseller lists, including the New York Times and USA Today, and has been nominated for a RITA award. She now spends her days in pajamas with her computer, strong coffee, and supernatural worlds. She believes in celebrating everything, and would never be caught without a bottle of Champagne chilling in the fridge…just in case. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her U.S. Coast Guard husband, her teenage son, a rescue cat named Vegas, and her very own hellhound, a King Shepherd named Hexe.


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