REVIEW: Pestilence by Laura Thalassa

Posted November 2nd, 2023 by in Blog, Fantasy, HJ Top Pick!, Paranormal Romance, Review / 8 comments


In Pestilence by Laura Thalassa, Five years ago, when the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse appeared on Earth, it changed everything for humankind. Gone was the internet, electricity in most areas, and even the ability to use vehicles or airplanes, leaving people to hunker down and just try to survive each day. Sara Burns became a firefighter in her hometown of Whistler, British Columbia to help others and be of some kind of use during such a frightening time. Now she’s tasked with stopping Pestilence from riding through her town on his faithful steed. No small feat. Particularly since no one knows anything about him aside from his ability to spread a plague that will kill every human near him.

“You’re not going to kill me?” I finally ask.
“Oh no, I’m not letting you die. Too quick. Suffering is made for the living. And oh, how I will make you suffer.”

It would have been good to know, going out on her mission, that Sara wouldn’t be able to kill or stop Pestilence. Although she should have guessed he would be immortal. I mean, he was sent by God, right? So, in some ways she can’t fault him for being angry with her when she first shoots and then later sets fire to him. But her own torture, Sara could do without. Being held captive on his journey as Pestilence spreads his plague isn’t so fun either. But as the kilometers go by and each conversation they share comes with more understanding about each other’s true nature, Sara is pretty sure she’s falling for her captor. And it’s not just a case of Stockholm Syndrome. No, this is the real deal. She just doesn’t know how she and Pestilence can ever find a middle ground.

“You’re human,” he says. “I don’t like your kind. I’m not supposed to like you.”
“But you do?” I say.
His eyes drop to my mouth. He touches my lower lip with his thumb, rubbing it gently. “God forgive me, I do.”

Laura Thalassa’s Pestilence was a sweeping novel that not only will make readers think about morality and what it means to be human, but it was also infused with kindness, compassion, laughs and love–in essence, showing us both the worst and the best of humankind.

“What’ve you done to me?” I whisper, searching his face.
I set out to destroy this man, not to *protect* him.
“The same thing you have done to me, I imagine,” Pestilence says.

CW: View Spoiler »

Picking up Pestilence, I didn’t expect to chuckle as many times as I did–or to fall head over heels for one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse–but here we are. Laura Thalassa’s first book in her reissued series carved a place in my heart pretty darn quickly, thanks to her wonderful world-building and the overall epic storytelling itself. While there were a lot of people our heroine and hero came across in their travels, the core of this book was all about Sara and Pestilence. And what a duo! A kickass firefighter from Whistler, British Columbia vs. an immortal being sent to earth to spread a plague to kill mankind. You can just imagine the conflicts with a pairing like that.

I also didn’t expect that Pestilence and Sara’s slow burn romance would be so achingly sweet. With both of them struggling against their own missions during the apocalypse–Sara initially trying to kill Pestilence, and when that proved to be a no-go, trying to slow down his progression of spreading the plague–I knew there would be angst and soul searching. And there was. But Thalassa was so very clever in slowly opening up Pestilence and Sara’s eyes to each other, to their emotions (or lack thereof), and to what commonalities they shared. Because they *did* have things in common. The largest one being how neither of them wanted the tasks they were given.

It might seem strange to think good things about an antihero like Pestilence who began the book torturing Sara after she tried to kill him. But through her braveness and her bawdy sense of humor, she worked her way through his dislike of humans and showed Pestilence the best parts of her race. I will caution that this book may not work for everyone. There was still a lot of darkness, a lot of suffering and death. Although if you can read it through to the end, you will see the hope and goodness that came out of Pestilence and Sara’s sacrifices.

QOTD: Have you read any novels set during an apocalypse?

Book Info:

Publication: Published August 15th, 2023 (First Published March 20th, 2018) | Bloom Books | The Four Horsemen #1

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.

When Pestilence comes for Sara Burn’s town, one thing is certain: everyone she knows and loves is marked for death. Unless, of course, the angelic-looking horseman is stopped, which is exactly what Sara has in mind when she shoots the unholy beast off his steed.

Too bad no one told her Pestilence can’t be killed.

Now the horseman, very much alive and very pissed off, has taken her prisoner, and he’s eager to make her suffer. Only, the longer she’s with him, the more uncertain she is about his true feelings towards her … and hers towards him.

And now, well, Sara might still be able to save the world, but in order to do so, she’ll have to sacrifice her heart in the process.



8 Responses to “REVIEW: Pestilence by Laura Thalassa”

  1. Amy R

    Have you read any novels set during an apocalypse? Yes
    Thanks for the review, I read this years ago and really enjoyed it.

  2. erahime

    Really enjoyed this lovely review, Team HJ!

    I probably read an apocalyptic story in the past, but the title is not in the forefront of my memory.

  3. Latesha B.

    Yes, I have. This sounds like an interesting story. Thank you for the review.