When War slipped through the inter-dimensional fog with a disemboweled archangel in his arms, his only thought was to escape the battle Diablo had brought to the home the four Horsemen shared. Instead, he finds himself and Uriel trapped in a new and horrifying dimension that is slowly being consumed by poisonous, black ichor. Even worse, the place is inhabited by twisted, malevolent beings that once must have been divine. As if the ichor and the beings don’t make it hard enough to survive, both immortals soon discover their ethereal energy is severely curbed in this new dimension. War can not summon his flames; Uriel can not summon his ice. Neither can take advantage of the accelerated healing their powers usually provide them–and they are finding they needed it often. Stuck with no one but each other, War tries to set aside his differences with Uriel in the name of survival. Uriel, however, has harbored a hate for War that reaches all the way back to when Uriel first ascended to heaven.
After War and Uriel come perilously close to mortality and experience more than a few unearthed emotions, War’s eldest brother, Death, finally manages to bring them back. If they thought the battle they’d been running from was impossible, it pales in comparison to the destruction that has been going on in the mortal plane for weeks. Hell has been quickly consuming the human world. Strangely, Heaven had been doing precious little to stop it. War is ready to do his part, to build on the events his brother Conquest set in motion. But completing his role risks putting him at odds with Uriel–the archangel who hates him, yet whom War has saved time and again. Because War knows something Uriel does not, something that is just a bit older than Uriel’s hate. It might not change who Uriel has grown into, but it is precious to War all the same. And that is not something War was willing to sacrifice, even if he has to turn against his own brothers to prove it.
War is the second book in Sienna Moreau’s The Four Horsemen series. The author states this is not a standalone and I mostly agree (though if you JUST want an intense M/M opposites attract book steeped in religious themes, you may enjoy this.) In terms of story timelines, it picks up almost right where War and Uriel disappear in book one. However, Moreau has included several flashback scenes–one of which serves as the opening to this book–that featured a character named Ambrose. These flashbacks had me making wild guesses as to who Ambrose was. I thought it was fun to read about Ambrose, an innocent kid from a farm. Ambrose’s thread ended up being full of foreshadowing; I really liked trying to connect to the main storyline. Much later in the book, the event that connects Ambrose’s story to that of War and Uriel brought truly delicious angst on multiple levels. Apart from these flashback scenes, the remainder of the book is told in third-person omniscient. We sort of flip-flop between Uriel-focused and War-focused chunks. The former gives us more insight into Heaven and God; the latter grounds us on Earth as the Horsemen contend with the ramifications of the devil’s attacks.
The highlight of this book has to be the way War and Uriel play off each other. Sure, they seem to hate each other. Yes, War most certainly favors goading Uriel about how great it would be to fuck. Naturally, Uriel rebuffs every attempt at any kindness and that goes triple for War’s many innuendoes. And yet there is something simmering under the surface. We learn early on that for a very brief period of time, a very long time ago, War and Uriel were flirting with an attraction–if not a romance. Moreau milked this dynamic for all it was worth and I mostly enjoyed it. One great example is when War and Uriel are trapped in the dead domain. War’s constant flirting and filthy innuendos culminate in a spicy scene that left me desperate to know if Uriel was having a change of heart. Yet almost immediately, things get shaken up. And towards the end, we get treated to an enormous helping of star-crossed (but still capable in the most bad-ass of ways) lovers. The only little quibble I had was how War often seemed to conflate sexual arousal with actual consent. I wouldn’t go so far as to say any of the sexual intimacy was dubcon or beyond, but I did make that connection between Uriel’s body basically saying “all systems go” and Uriel’s actually saying “Nope.” But again, the whole way these two interact with each other makes it seem like this aspect is part of how they interact.
As far as the story goes, there is plenty of on-page time to enjoy War and Uriel sniping at each other and basically getting to know each other again through forced proximity. In that regard, it felt intimate…while in a totally hopeless scenario of the two MCs being trapped in a deadly world. But once they escape back to the mortal plane (and thereby regain the ability to access their magic and powers), the plot kicks into high gear. I was impressed how much world and plot building goes on in this book, even with the strong romance element. Some familiar supporting characters return, Conquest and Raziel (the main couple from book 1), Amii the shopkeeper (who has a tantalizing bit of bartering going on…I am twittering with anticipation to see where that leads), Diablo (the devil), and God. This is also where Moreau really builds on the idea that, because it’s unclear who actually summoned the Horsemen, it’s unclear which side of the fight War and Uriel are on. They have to entertain the idea they may be on opposite sides of the battle and all that means–specifically, if they have to fight one another to the death, who would die and when they get reincarnated (because that’s what immortals do), would they still recognize each other, still love each other. But there are also the more immediate questions of why Diablo is waging such an enormous attack on everything and why God hasn’t been doing anything about it.
For fans of book one, I think you’ll love book two even more. If you’re a fan of opposites attract, I cannot think of anything MORE opposites attract than this book. It’s literally fire and ice. Plus, there is a lot of spice…War and Uriel actually end one of the many battles by fucking in front of all and sundry (at least until War and Uriel unleash some of their tremendous power to shut the world out and really enjoy one another). And it’s all still building. Moreau makes it clear Famine is the next Horsemen who’ll get put in the spotlight with his own book…and he fell in love with the Angel that eventually became Diablo. Plus, there’s the mystery of who Death is…such a powerful horseman whose power is absolute. And, of course, Amii the bookseller. Everything about this book had me making wild theories and burning through the pages to see how much I could figure out and what more there was to uncover. If any of that sounds appealing (or you just like hot guys getting in on in dire circumstances), then this is definitely a book for you.