Content/Trigger Warnings: Death/murder, graphic death/violence, talk of rape, scenes of physical abuse/torture, scene of severe animal abuse/cruelty, trauma/PTSD, sexual scenes, manipulation
“Love is the greatest gift we can give or receive”
They came to earth—Pestilence, War, Famine, Death—four horsemen riding their screaming steeds, racing to the corners of the world. Four horsemen with the power to destroy all of humanity. They came to earth, and they came to end us all.
Sara Burns is ready to give up everything she’s every had in life if it means putting an end to Pestilence. With her shotgun loaded, she’s prepared to take on the horseman alone… to bad no one every told her the angelic horseman can’t be killed. Now she’s his prisoner and he’s prepared to make her suffer for everything she’s done to him. But when you spend so much time with someone, things can change and it’s not just Sara who’s changing, but her feelings are as well. Who knew falling in love with a horseman of the apocalypse would be so hard, but so delicious?
Friends, I have no idea why I waited so long to read this book! It was so incredibly good and I was a puddle for this book. Even if I wanted to read something else, I don’t think I would have been able to pull myself from this book. I’m ready for book two already!
Pestilence takes place in five years of The Four Horsemen of the apocalypse raining holy terror upon the Earth. The first horseman up to wreak havoc is Pestilence. Disease, infection, and plague ripple to the mortals who fall in his path. Sara Burns is your average person except she’s the unlucky firefighter who drew her burnt match to face down Pestilence and stop his reign of terror. She also becomes the unlucky soul to be the first captive by the first horseman, as punishment for her showing no mercy to an angelic devil. But as the unlikely pair continue their travels, they both slowly begin to change one another and love and mercy soon becomes a string that keeps them together.
As I read this book, it was incredibly easy to fall in love with Pestilence and what he was meant to do. Sure, he was mean, at times cruel, and had a job to end humankind by spreading plague and disease, but the reality was he has only seen the horrible, unimaginable actions of mortals. He has never known love, compassion, he didn’t know about beauty inside a human’s soul. Pestilence was slowly learning many things that he never once knew about humankind and I can appreciate that throughout this book he was slowly learning and evolving. But honestly, if you go in expecting anything less than Pestilence learning about mortals and becoming more in touch with his humanity… you probably will hate his character with a burning fire of rage. I really loved his character development and even after the first few times, I knew he was a good man even if he had to do this horrible job.
However, our heroine was a completely different story for me. At first, I thought she was just doing what anyone would do if they were taken prisoner. The reality was at 60% of the way through this book she just became the most irritating heroine I have read about. She ends up falling in love with Pestilence, Pestilence for who he is, but at this point where she still can’t understand why Pestilence is still spreading his plague and standing by his mission to end humankind. This is where all my issues start happening and why I ended up giving this book four stars.
“Getting angry at one of the horsemen of the apocalypse for bringing about the end of man is like getting angry at ice for being cold.”
As the reader, we know who and what Pestilence is from the very beginning and so does our main heroine. So my biggest issue was Sara constantly trying to use her love as a way to change Pestilence into the kind of man that she wanted him to be. From my reading standpoint, she was very manipulative with how she would use her love for him and his love for her against him to mold him into a “better man.” Yes, it sucks that he was sent to Earth to destroy humankind, but you don’t use love as a weapon to change someone or even force someone to change. She knew he was from the beginning and she should have been a little more open with loving him. Not to mention, she also fights Pestilence every step of the way in this book. Even when she’s in love with him, she still continues to inflict a great deal of pain to Pestilence. For example, she would find ways to cheapen love that was blooming between them and referred to it as just being “lust.” There were even times in this book where she devalued his feelings and make him feel horrible because they’re suppose to be “enemies.” All of it got old and irritating really fast.
Which brings me to another point. I think a lot of readers will be annoyed with Pestilence because it seems like he gives his love too easily. Not to mention, he was constantly sharing his feelings and thoughts with Sara. However, he is a virgin when he is with Sara and has never known the full extent of what love truly is or feels like until Sara came into his life. So he gives his love very easily, he is overly affectionate, overprotective of her, and wants all of Sara’s attention. And as someone who once had a dating life, this is very accurate of some of the partners I had in the past. I think this can be a hate it or love it type of situation. It personally didn’t bother me, but it might be bothersome for other readers.
“We only get so many minutes alive,” I say. “When you find someone worth spending that time with, you don’t want to share those minutes with anyone else.”
Overall, I truly enjoyed this book. I loved the world building and I loved Pestilence’s character development. It almost felt like I was in the world as I was reading it. However, I definitely think if Sara’s character had developed better, made better choices, and didn’t act so toxic at times, I think I would have given this book five stars. The main heroine was almost the reason why I didn’t want to finish this book because she’s so repetitive, so manipulative, almost borderline mentally abusing the love interest, and in all honesty, Pestilence deserved a better partner to love. I am, however, incredibly excited to read the next book, War. I’m ready, super excited, and I can’t wait to see what book two has in store for us!