Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
One touch from Death’s bare hand ended the impending apocalypse. And yet, the Horsemen have not yet been forced back into dormancy in their special dimension. With the help of Uriel, Lucifer, Gaia, and more, the Horsemen have accepted that everything is different now, that the only way to save their lives and the lives of every Being and mortal is to fight God himself. The problem is that God has been plotting and planning to wipe the slate clean for eons. Through his scheming, ruthless control, and cruel experimentation, God has amassed tremendous power.
Gaia was, once upon a time, God’s closest companion and confidant. With her knowledge, she tries to help the Horsemen plan for the last battle. A key part in taking on God himself is that each Horseman has a lover of his own to share and grow power with. Gaia is convinced the same goes for Death and critically so. The caveat is that Death’s power maims and kills at his command and his touch kills instantly. When Death and the others are forced to reckon with the reappearance of Abbadon, Lucifer’s cruelest demon and the source of Raziel’s powers, there is an unexpected development. Abbadon gets off on exactly the kind of pain Death can give him. Though the threat of Final Death is exciting in its own right, Abbadon craves the flesh-searing pain Death’s power can give him. It curls his toes and it could even melt his heart. But Death and Abbadon struggle to find time to define the boundaries of this unexpected, but no less intense connection. Hopefully, it will be enough to swing the odds of defeating God in their favor. If the Horsemen win, life in some iteration will continue. If they fail, Death, Abbadon, and every last living creature will be destroyed.
Death is the fourth and final installment in The Four Horsemen series by Sienna Moreau. Like each of the previous three books (Conquest, War, Famine), the romantic life of the character Death is very much at the center of the story. It’s already been well established that Death cannot touch anyone; to do so would instantly kill that person (immortal or no) with no chance of reincarnation. The work-around in this story is pairing Death with Abbadon, a demon who not only loves inflicting pain, he also finds it the only real way he can get sexual gratification. Plus, Abbadon has the usual immortal healing powers and so Death using his powers instead of his touch doesn’t kill instantly. These parameters for our two romantic leads are catnip for me and I was excited to see how it would all play out.
Death and Abbadon’s relationship starts off with strong “love to hate you” energy from Abbadon and “never really thought twice about you” energy from Death. Although this dynamic changes over the course of the book, the power structure between them stays stable. On the surface, Death wields all the power—the power to kill, the power of being a Horseman, the power of a sexual dominant, the power of patience. Abbadon has regular immortal powers, like fast healing and super strength, but his fighting powers were split from him and given to Raziel (as explored in book 1). Nevertheless, it’s on his say-so that Death even entertains the idea of indulging Abbadon’s lust for pain. It was an interesting dynamic. Abbadon really does get hurt when he and Death are intimate. What made it engaging for me was not just Abbadon’s enthusiastic consent (or, well, demands) for pain, but also the fact that he basically heals immediately. I also liked that Death doesn’t get off on causing pain to Abbadon, he gets off on satisfying Abbadon. I think that, if you’re truly squeamish, the differences in what Death and Abbadon bring to and get out of their physical relationship help smooth things over. And if you like extreme sex where pain is joyfully given and received, well, you get that in spades, too.
Given the fact that Death cannot touch anyone with his bare skin without killing them, I was really keen to know how his connection to Abbadon would progress. There’s a good long chunk where they’re both just enjoying being able to get off together to think much more about it. But Death absolutely has the vibe of a “very deep person” and some pretty fantastic “falls in love with the first person he sleeps with” energy. It was a wild mix, but I thought it worked. And over time, Abbadon comes to realize there’s more than great sex between them. Which raises the specter of wanting more than make-do masturbation sessions Death can engage in by using the physical manifestation of his power (a black smoky substance that isn’t as instantly deadly as his bare skin, but can still kill). I liked the angst that this discord generates. As their emotional connection deepens, they desperately want to deepen their physical connection…but it’s just not a gamble Death is willing to take with the man he’s growing to love. I was on tenterhooks waiting to find out how the would reconcile this aspect of their relationship.
Apart from the wild romance, there’s also the resolution to God’s plot to wipe every living thing off the planet. Since the last book is primarily where everyone gets convinced that God really is trying to end the world, the characters here are dealing with the ramp up to the final battle. That means they encounter all of God’s new creations, the Beings he’ll use as warriors to fight his battle. They uncover just how powerful God has become and how he’s completely given up pretending he wants anything but absolute submission from every living thing. And they come up with a plan of action. For much of the book, the odds are not in the Horsemen’s favor. They suffer many defeats by much more powerful opponents and I enjoyed having that aspect of the story develop hand-in-hand with Death and Abbadon’s relationship. It felt like these two themes were well entwined. My one disappointment is how each of the four Horsemen finding true love and joining souls or combining immortal powers was sort of framed as the ace-in-the-hole. Being coupled did factor into the final battle pretty spectacularly, but the way Gaia mentioned “completing the square,” I was holding out for a spectacular all-hands-on-deck approach that just didn’t develop. But at least our MCs for this book got to have a moment to shine radiantly in the final moments, and the other Horsemen got a brief shot at narrating the battle from their perspective.
Overall, I thought Death was a great follow up to the first three books. If you like the relationship dynamics in these stories, Death delivers another megadose of snarky, horny immortals finding true love. Readers who enjoy power differences in their couples will enjoy the give and take between Death and Abbadon. The romance has a great slow-burn vibe, since it takes Abbadon a good long while to reflect on his own feelings and that’s after these two go through a variation of enemies-to-lovers. The resolution to the series-long conflict with God came to a satisfying resolution. It didn’t feel rushed and the final battle was well paced, if somewhat sparing on details. All in all, I really enjoyed this series. And again, to anyone who wants to read this or has read this in stops and starts, I think it would be amazing to read all four back-to-back to appreciate how much foreshadowing there is.