Series: Immortals After Dark #16
Published by Gallery Books on December 1, 2015
“What won’t we do for the people we love.”
“She was a killer with blood on her hands, but she wanted to give her heart away . . .Jo yearned for her other half with all the desperation of someone who’d always known something was missing.”
FINAL DECISION: The story of two lonely immortals desperately needing connection, SWEET RUIN demonstrates the best in the Immortals After Dark series: humor, adventure, hot sex and deep loving bonds.
THE STORY: Rune Darklight is the assassin of the Morior (the group of ancient immortals coming to earth for the Accession for their own purposes). Rune is half fey/half demon which makes him dark fey. His black blood is poisonous to all but his own kind. For the first several hundred years of his life, Rune was a slave and trained as a sexual weapon. Rune is on earth hunting the Valkyrie Soothsayer Nix in order to assassinate her. While pumping some nymphs for information, Rune senses a voyeur and sets out to find out who the sweet scented female is.
Josephine Doe is an orphan without any knowledge of who or what she is. All she knows from the age of eight is that she has to protect her baby brother Thaddeus. When her brother is taken from her and her life changes dramatically, Jo first decides that she is destined to be a superhero. Her taste for vengeance and blood convince Jo that she is actually the villain of the piece. When she sees the mesmerizing Rune with his nymphs, she is intrigued by the male but as wary as a feral cat.
OPINION: “When two people form an unbreakable bond, it’s like a reactor, feeding them power and heat and a sense of belonging. It makes them strong. They’re the true superheroes.”
Rune and Jo are both damaged people. I am a big fan of damaged characters where the rough edges of both seem to fit so well. Rune’s past as a slave and a whore have made him doubt his own self-worth. He uses his sexuality as a crutch in his business because that is how he has learned to do his job. He thinks nothing and feels nothing during sex because it has become meaningless to him. Despairing of ever finding a mate, Rune desperately wants a connection that he knows will poison and kill any female foolish enough to get close to him.
Josie is feral. Years of living on the street and protecting herself have given her a hard shell. She is foul mouthed, prickly, and completely badass. Separated from her brother, Josie does not have a connection to anyone but desperately wants a connection. She has learned to vicariously experience relationship with others through use of her her abilities. Completely ignorant of the Lore, Rune is the first fellow Immortal that Josie has spoken with.
The relationship between these two jaded people ends up being incredibly sweet. The two learn the value of themselves as they bicker and fight and love their way around the world chasing Nix. They end up finding value in the relationship between them even as they discover and rediscover their own pasts. I did especially like the sweetness of their relationship in light of how dark their pasts were. Josie (although far from sweet and innocent herself) brings a freshness and newness to Rune’s life which often feels oppressive and dark.
In the mythology of the Immortals After Dark series, this book continues Nix’s work with the Accession (the battle between the creatures of the Lore). Some parts of her plans are disclosed while many others remain murky. It has become clear that Nix is not as crazy as she appeared in earlier books in the series but instead is making intricate chess moves to bring about a conclusion that she wants. There are numerous connection and appearances by past characters which will please fans of the series.
This book seriously moves forward the mythology of the series without every losing sight of the importance of the romance and connection between the main characters. One of the best of the series.
WORTH MENTIONING: From the offhand reference to a female vampire living in New Orleans, I have hope that we will be seeing more of the Dacians from SHADOW’S CLAIM.
CONNECTED BOOKS: SWEET RUIN is the sixteenth book in the Immortals After Dark series. At this point, I believe that readers should read the other books in the series if they wish to fully enjoy this book. The romance here is self-contained, but there is so much else going on that is directly connected with events in the series as a whole.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide an honest review of the book. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.