After reading Malin’s review with Alexis’s comments of this novel, I was intrigued to see how a romance would pull off turning one of the four horsemen, a man responsible for countless deaths through plague, into a romantic lead. And much like they said, it mostly worked.
I have rooted for plenty of vampires, shape shifters and other fantastical heroes with a dark past that would be inexcusable in reality but still, someone that can take out hundreds of thousands of lives at once? Definitely a whole different level! I mean this character has to be irredeemable, right?
Sara is one of the last four fire fighters remaining in her town, waiting for Pestilence to come. The Four Horsemen descended to Earth five years ago, and after the general initial chaos created, they disappeared. Now, Pestilence is back, and spreading disease by following major interstates. After traveling north from Miami, he turned west in Canada, and is slowly making is way to the West Coast. Sara’s home town is along the route, and everyone has already evacuated. Her fellow fire fighters and she have hatched a plan for one of them to stay behind and try to stop Pestilence for good by killing him, and Sara draws the short end of the stick.
She kills him in a most gruesome manner, only to discover that he is immortal and he feels all the pain inflicted upon him. Given the especially painful manner of her assassination attempt, Pestilence wants revenge but surprisingly doesn’t kill her. Instead, he captures and takes her along as a prisoner on his tour of death. It quickly becomes apparent to Sara that Pestilence has no understanding of how humans work, pushing her too hard even for punishment and not quite understanding the concept of food for nourishment vs. the role of condiments.
Despite this, Sara’s presence eventually begins to soften Pestilence since she is the first prolonged interaction he has had with any human. Before her, all he saw was the dark side of humanity and the justness behind their punishment. Sara slowly broadens his perspective, though she must later ask herself if Pestilence discovering human emotions is indeed a good thing. She also discovers, despite herself, that he is has a rather strong sense of fairness and morality even if his purpose and mission go against everything she believes in.
I’m fascinated to see how the other Horsemen stories will play out, especially with one’s such as War and Famine. Pestilence as a concept seems in some ways easy to grasp – he comes people, get sick. For Famine, will food go bad and people slowly starve or will it be some supernaturally fast reaction? Same with War, will it lead to increased rage in towns he passes or how will it end up being portrayed? I think the last time I saw a property try to tackle the Four Horsemen and how they would affect various towns was in Supernatural so I am intrigued how the rest of the novels will develop. I think she found a decent line to make Pestilence work as a love interest without forgiving his actions, but wonder how she will set up the other novels.