Pestilence (Lessons in Stockholm Syndrome) | Book Review

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By: Laura Thalassa

Pestilence at a Glance

  • Overall Rating:
  • Heroine: Rat killer extraordinaire
  • Dude: Plague never looked so good
  • Brutality: Burned alive ring a bell?
  • Steaminess:  Is tub time with the black death hot? Idk anymore.

Pairs Well With

Apocalypse Cocktail

  • 1 ounce Gin
  • 1 ounce Brandy
  • 1/2 ounce lime cordial
  • 2 dashes bitters

     Beware. Spoilers are coming…


Jess’s Reactions

OMG I loved this book. (Ok basic bitch comment out of the way.) No lie, the beginning was a little rough. I don’t like animal deaths so what she did to Trixie Skillz almost had me DNFing this book. Thalassa is brutal and I should have known she would do that to me. But I pushed through and I am happy that I did. I got exactly the amount of dark and twisty that I needed.

“A woman should not be oddly pleasing. She should be a ball-busting, skull-crushing, badass motherfucker who is impossible to forget.” – Sara Burns

Now I have to explain my love for Sara. She loves the dark and twisty just like me – quoting Poe and Byron nonstop. I want her on my side for the end of the world with her hairspray flamethrower in hand. If only just to make me laugh constantly. Girl is hilarious and I could listen to her inner monologue all day long.

“Should’ve packed myself a beer – or five. This is not something to watch sober.”

“All we need are some assless chaps and a paddle to round this party out.”

I about died when she came up with Trixie’s “backstory.” But really I connected with her inner turmoil and loved the developing relationship with Pestilence. I love to hate a guy and Thalassa has surely given me characters that I love to hate.

Oh dear Pestilence, you clearly learned how to open doors from King Jovan <3. But sooo cruel in the clothing choices for Sara. Yeah you can tear her arms out of the socket, but do you have to put her in mom jeans? TBH this man has one gear and it is full speed. He goes from “I’m going to torture you forever” to “I love you so much I will makeout with you after you throw up” really quickly. And holy gross! That was not enjoyable to read. At. All. Nope.

This book is definitely not for the faint of heart because there is some intense abuse/retribution in the first half. Obviously that was uncomfortable to read, but in a very compelling way. You do have to remember that even if he is our “hero” he is also a HORSEMAN OF THE APOCALYPSE. She is lucky to be alive after lighting him on fire and watching him burn to death. If that doesn’t say Best First Date Ever, then I just don’t know what does. But, if you like a dark and twisty romance then this was definitely a good one. I love Thalassa’s writing and just need to give her all of my money already.


Teagan’s Reactions

I adore Laura Thalassa’s Rhapsodic and willingly joined her fan club in hopes that all her books would be equally compelling and give me more swoon worthy Desmonds to love. Instead, Thalassa keeps giving me brutal murderers. I’m all for the whole enemies-to-lovers trope but Thalassa always takes enemies to a whole new level. I mean Pestilence kills millions and forces Sara to share houses with the victims as they slowly rot from plague. And if that’s not enough to get down on your knees and beg Pestilence to marry you, then I bet him forcing Sara to run tied to a horse for miles and then be drugged across asphalt will have you brewing up a love potion.

“It’s harsh. Angry. Almost violent. I suppose this is the only kind of kiss fitting for us.”

Yeah yeah yeah, Pestilence comes around and sure he vehemently loves Sara at the end but I just don’t think torture and mass murder makes a strong relationship foundation. Nothing says romance quite like “I just killed the whole West Coast population” am I right?

“I might be doomed to die, but I’m taking that infernal fucker down with me.”

Sara on the other hand, this girl I adored. She is a compassionate and badass chick who loves literature and is willing to sacrifice herself to save her people. And she doesn’t mess around with rodents. I’m adopting the Sara Burns Method for all future encounters with creepy crawlies/rodents.

“So I grabbed a can of hairspray and a match, and I made a flamethrower. No one drive this bitch out of her home.”

Sara doesn’t put up with Pestilence’s nonsense and ultimately walks away from him when he refuses to change. I was screaming YAASSS QUEEN at my kindle when she left. I’m so tired of female characters that stay with men who refuse to change. Sara refuses to compromise her own morals despite loving Pestilence and I loved it.

I suppose I should not have been blindsided by all the God talk and biblical references because the Four Horsemen does come straight out of the bible but it still annoyed me. I kind of felt like I was back to being forced to sit in Sunday school, I want to read not be lectured on how I’ve failed God as a modern day human.

The only part of the whole God discussion was Pestilence’s insistence that we not genderize God. I’m down for that.

“I, the Prophet Ezekiel, come to you in our hour of darkness….I give unto you, the Conqueror, these three women to have and to hold.”

Of freaking course a man with an ego the size of Russia and claiming to be this holy chosen one is selling off women to save himself. Sounds about right. Again I say, #DownWithThePatriachy.  

Despite all the flaws I had with the plot I will admit that Thalassa is a good writer and her worlds are compelling despite their brutality. And Pestilence did have his redeeming moments like when he made Sara a wagon and said every moment with her is his favorite. She’s got a gift for making us love the villain.


Let us know what you thought of Pestilence in the comments! 

Drink Up - Teagan &amp; Jess

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3 thoughts on “Pestilence (Lessons in Stockholm Syndrome) | Book Review

  1. Pingback: One Lovely Blog Award

  2. OH MY GOD, OTHER PEOPLE WHO HAVE READ THIS BOOK!!! I’m so excited!! This book was IN-SAN-I-TY, but I’m kind of in love with it??? I have legitimately tried to describe the plot to others and have never sounded more crazy. HOMEGIRL FALLS IN LOVE WITH THE PLAGUE. 😂 Sara is great though, I loved her. And I’m suuuuuuuper curious about the next one! I’m wondering what War’s power is like. Do a million brawls break out whenever he walks into a room? Great review, you guys had me in stitches!!

    Liked by 1 person

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