Monday, January 11, 2016

REVIEW: Sweet Ruin (Immortals After Dark #16) by Kresley Cole

Title: Sweet Ruin
Author: Kresley Cole
Published: December 2015/Simon& Schuster, UK
ISBN: 9781471149870
Series: Immortals After Dark #16

An immortal assassin is caught between desire and duty...

A foundling raised in a world of humans

Growing up, orphaned Josephine didn’t know who or what she was—just that she was “bad,” an outcast with strange powers. Her baby brother Thaddeus was as perfect as she was flawed; protecting him became her entire life. The day he was taken away began Jo’s transition from angry girl... to would-be superhero... to enchanting, ruthless villain.
A lethally sensual enforcer on a mission

A threat to the Møriør has brought archer Rune the Baneblood to the mortal realm to slay the oldest living Valkyrie. Whether by bow or in bed, he never fails to eliminate his target. Yet before he can strike, he encounters a vampiric creature whose beauty conceals a black heart. With one bite, she pierces him with aching pleasure, taking his forbidden blood - and jeopardizing the secrets of his brethren.

A boundless passion that will lead to sweet ruin...

Could this exquisite female be a spy sent by the very Valkyrie he hunts? Rune knows he must not trust Josephine, yet he’s unable to turn her away. Despite his millennia of sexual conquests, he can’t ignore the unfamiliar longing she arouses deep within him. When Jo betrays the identity of the one man she will die to protect, she and Rune become locked in a treacherous battle of wills that pits ultimate loyalty against unbridled lust.

My first Kresley Cole book, and potentially not the best point to start a sixteen book series, but I have to say it did not detract from my enjoyment of Sweet Ruin.  Paranormal used to be my go to read, but it’s actually been a while since I picked up a PNR novel.  Sweet Ruin has successfully reignited my love of the genre with its extensive cast of immortals wrapped around a gorgeous (and feisty) love story.

Rune Darklight is a dark fey, (half fey, half demon) and archer, assassin and information broker for the Morior.  His good looks, charm and sexual prowess mean he is renowned amongst immortals.  Known as Rune the Insatiable, his sexual appetite is endless, however, his poisonous ‘baneblood’ means his encounters are limited for the safety of his partners and consequently he is never entirely sated. Rune has resigned himself to an immortal life time with no true mate, considering his service to the Morior as an honourable duty.

Josephine Doe is a new arrival on the immortal scene.  She lived a short and traumatic existence as a human and transitioned across to her current, vampiric, state with no knowledge of the immortal world surrounding her.  A true loner, and self appointed protector of prostitutes, Josephine longs to belong, to be wanted. She is brash and wields her wit and strength like a blunt instrument.  I loved Josephine, she made me laugh out loud with her witty comebacks on more than one occasion.

As Josephine explores her abilities she begins to encounter other immortal beings and it is not long before she spies Rune.  To say he piques her interest is probably an understatement.  Rune is equally intrigued by this young and beautiful being, who is not affected by his poisonous blood, and finds himself pursuing her with a view to recruiting her for the Morior (or so he tries to convince himself).

What unfolds in Sweet Ruin is actually a beautiful love story, complicated by the actions of two people who have never really shared a connection of the sort they uncover with one another.  Both are strong willed, independent loners, and yet beneath their gruff exteriors each longs for someone to spend their days with.

As they search for Nix, who has Josephine’s younger brother Thadeus in tow, their sexual chemistry explodes and yet they both fight what they are feeling, desperate to maintain their independence.  Rune and Jo have expectations of each other that seem impossible to meet, but without compromise they run the risk of losing a love like they have never encountered before.

It took me a little while to fully immerse myself into Sweet Ruin, primarily because it is based around a complex world that I had not encountered before.  Despite it being my first Immortals After Dark novel, I didn’t feel lost in the world, the book established people and places for me really well.  While it was a little slow going for me at first I soon found myself lost in Rune and Jo’s story, not able to put the book down. I’ll definitely be reading more Kresley Cole based on my Sweet Ruin experience.

5 out of 5 stars

Photo by Deanna Meredith

Kresley Cole is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the electrifying Immortals After Dark paranormal series, the young adult Arcana Chronicles series, the erotic Gamemakers Series, and five award-winning historical romances. 

A master's grad and former athlete, she has traveled over much of the world and draws from those experiences to create her memorable characters and settings. 

Her IAD books have been translated into eighteen foreign languages, garnered three RITA awards, and consistently appear on the bestseller lists, in the U.S. and abroad.