My Rating: 4 stars: Enjoyed - recommend (A-)
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The opening few chapters of Rogue Rider are sweet and romantic, telling us the story of a couple of lost souls getting the chance to heal and start over. Both Reseph and Jillian sensed in the back of their minds that something bigger was going on, but each chose to embrace the other with blind passion. I enjoyed seeing Reseph free of the horrors from his past and getting a glimpse of the brother we never saw in the previous three books. I also felt the gradual unveiling (at first) of Reseph's memories allowed the couple to deal with pieces of him in a safe way - giving them time to become emotionally invested before the ball drops.
Together Reseph and Jillian made a good pair. I loved that they both took chances with their feelings - letting the other know how much they really did mean to the other. There were no games between the couple. This also happened even after Jillian learned the truth about Reseph’s history. I enjoyed how pieces of the past were exposed and examined. Both Jillian and Reseph take each event in stride - sometimes pulling them apart, and sometimes bringing them back together.
Once the truth is out of the bag, Reseph must not only earn the forgiveness of his friends and family, but he must also forgive himself, which is no easy task. This story is about both redemption and forgiveness. I feel that Ms. Ione does a good job on the redemption piece, but sometimes I felt the forgiveness was granted a little too easily. While each sibling expressed the pain and betrayal caused by Pestilence in their own individual way, I felt that their collective “about face” from wanting him dead no matter what to finding him a cure from his madness was quick.
Beyond Reseph’s story, Rogue Rider wrapped up a few loose ends from the first three books. I am happy to report that we delve deeper into Gethel, former caretaker of the horsemen. I was unsatisfied with the reasons for her betrayal listed in the last book, and was glad to find out more about this wicked angel. In addition there are a couple of BIG reveals that will have a direct impact on the next book (Reaver’s story, back in the Demonica series). One of which was something I had guessed at a while ago, the other came as a bit of a shocker. Neither had huge impacts on this story, but it was exciting to watch the progress of the overall story arc.
In the end, I enjoyed most of this story, especially the first two-thirds of the book. Reseph is definitely a favorite redeemed hero. I was even okay with the speed of forgiveness because each sibling did have their chance to “get it out of their system” and tell Reseph how he did hurt them. However, I felt that the conclusion of the book was a bit too simple and almost anti-climatic for my liking. The book spent a lot of time building up to a showdown of good and evil, and as the battle began, the dangers continued to grow. Yet I felt let down by the way in which it was won and the ultimate battle was suddenly over. Nonetheless, Rogue Rider is still a satisfying conclusion to the Lords of Deliverance series, and I look forward to continuing the tale in the next Demonica book!