Series: Immortals After Dark #16
Published by Gallery Books on December 1st 2015
Genres: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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In Sweet Ruin we meet Josephine. Jo is Thaddie’s older sister. We met Thaddeus in Dreams of a Dark Warrior. Thad was in the cell with Regin being held by the Order and we learned that Thad is half-vampire/half-phantom. We already know more about Jo, than she does.
Jo was found wondering in Texas as a child holding baby Thaddeus. Neither had any knowledge of the Lore and of what they are. Jo and Thad are living in the streets and Mrs. Brayden, the local librarian, has been trying to take them home with her and her husband. Jo doesn’t trust the system or anyone in general. The only thing she knows is that she needs to protect Thad. She also feels the need to protect the underdog and in doing so she antagonizes the local drug lord by burning down his house. Jo ends up being shot and presumes that she has now become a ghost/vampire when her phantom/vampire natures are triggered. Thad ends up being raised by MizB, as we had learned in the prior book.
Jo eventually ends up in New Orleans, surrounded by the Lore but still not realizing her part in it.
The very interesting twist in this story is that the Møriør are nearing. The Møriør, or Bringers of Doom, who Nïx has been warning everyone about since MacRieve, live in a movable dimension (really? like a space ship?) and they have been traveling toward Gaia (Earth) for some time now. The Møriør are made up of the primordials of each species (the first lyke, the first witch, etc.) and they are lead by Orion, who is a great big question mark. He doesn’t even keep the same appearance each time we see him and he can look like anything or anyone. Orion sends out Rune ahead of the rest because Rune is his archer/assassin. Rune has been given the task of killing Nïx, who Orion is accusing of organizing and bringing about the apocalypse.
Rune gets most of his information from boinking nymphs, who apparently have their ears to the ground, and everywhere else, and only require payment in sex which Rune is happy to provide. Jo comes upon Rune in a plaza working out payment to several nymphs for information with his ho-ha and phantoms over to watch the show. Rune can’t see Jo, but he can scent her and she definitely catches his interest.
While Jo and Rune play hide and seek around town, both of them see Thad and Nïx walking through the streets of New Orleans and while Rune is aiming his bow, Jo assumes he is trying to kill her brother, Thad, and attacks. Even while they straighten out who Rune’s target is, Jo is lead to believe that Thad is being held hostage by the valkyres (a rumor started by none other than Nïx because we know she has a plan). So Jo and Rune team up and end up chasing Nïx around the globe. Each time they arrive where Nïx says she will be, they just miss her and she sends a note where to be next. I think she does this was just so Jo finally gets to see some of the world other than just Texas and New Orleans, because Nïx is sweet that way.
I thought it was interesting that while Nïx was working everyone into a frenzy that the Møriør were coming to bring about the Accession, the Møriør believe that they are here to stop Nïx from bringing about the Accession. I am going to guess from hints of why all the primodials are coming to Gaia that Nïx’s ultimate plan will involve mixing the Møriør with our Loreans and creating peace throughout the dimensions.
I have seen a few tweets about reviews claiming this is the best book of the series. I am going to say, not so much. While I can’t wait to see how the Møriør’s arrival will change things and I enjoyed the overall story, I had the same problem with Rune that I had with Lothaire and MacRieve.
In more of the other books, the Lorean males were searching for their one true love, be it a bride, a mate, a lover, whatever term you use. No matter what issues they had with her or with winning her affection, the goal was always to win her love and affection. Even in Regin and Declan’s story, Declan was attracted but was trying to avoid Regin because of his hate for the Lore in general. In her earlier stories, the plan was never to just use their one true mate. In MacRieve and Lothaire, we see that both had no problem with using their female for their own pleasure and had no problem verbally using her and then tossing her away when they were done. There is a real lack of respect for the women in the last few books. (Thankfully, not by Thronos which would have broken my heart.)
In Sweet Ruin, Rune is a half breed or bloodbane and doesn’t believe he would have a fated mate. Even once he starts to believe that his attraction toward Jo might mean there might be something more to their connection, Rune digs in his heals that his job is to pumping nymphs for information so Jo will just have to learn to deal with that the fact if she wants to stay together. Jo won’t sleep with Rune unless he agrees that their relationship will be monogamous. It gets to a point that Rune tries to resort to getting her drunk so she’ll give in, which was kind of date-rapey.
Jo was a great character and as lively and snarky as all the IAD heroines. I liked Jo a lot, but Rune left me kind of cold for most of the story. You’d feel bad for him since he had as bad a childhood, just like Malkom (Demon from the Dark) but then he would get all bent about how if Jo wants to be with him she would have to deal with his job and how women always got possessive of him. No matter how many other characters pointed out that he can’t cheat on his fated mate, Rune insisted that was the way of things and Jo better learn to deal with it.
And Nïx being Nïx, she takes down Jo in a cage match to try and teach Jo that she should be fighting in her phantom form which she would be indestructible rather than risking herself against more powerful beings trying to throw punches. (That would be my favorite scene, but it went on too long.)
No question that every IAD fan is going to be grabbing for a copy of Sweet Ruin and it will be bringing big changes to the series and yet we still have so many characters to go back to. Yes, overall it was a good story but Rune is no real hero and Sweet Ruin won’t be making my top 10 list for this series.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Check out Fun with Nix on H&H.
“I believe that’s our contact.” Rune nodded toward the biggest one. The male had a colossal chest and the large forward-pointing horns of a storm demon. When standing, he’d be over seven feet tall.
Josephine breathed, “I’m going to meet a real-live demon.” Her steps quickened.
Rune followed. “You’ve been with a real-live demon. I’m half demonic, remember?”
“Yeah, but you don’t have wicked cool horns like that dude.”
I should. Rune had wished for them his entire life, just as he’d wished for red demon blood.
His gaze roamed over the vampire. What if his blood were red? As much as she loved baneblood, how could she crave another kind more? What if baneblood specifically attracted her? Later, he would demand to know which kind she preferred.
At the table, Rune addressed the storm demon, “You’re Deshazior?”
“Aye, that’d be me,” he said with an undeniable piratic accent. His huge paw of a hand curled around a tankard of brew.
“We heard you can assist us with travel.”
Deshazior ignored him, turning in his chair to face Josephine. “Are ye lookin’ for a ride, me beauty?” A thorough perusal of her body accompanied his words.
Rune did not appreciate this. Deshazior had to assume she was with Rune. At best, the demon’s open interest was disrespectful. At worse, it could be taken as a sign of hostility against Rune.
“Yes, we are,” she said.
The demon stood, far too close to her, then held out a paw. “I’m Deshazior. You can call me Desh.”
She shook his hand, his swallowing hers. “Josephine” she said, craning her head up, seeming enthralled by the male. “You can call me Jo.”
“Ah, me lovely Jo, let’s mosey outside and talk.” He finally released her hand. “I need to know where and when I can take ye.”
Really, demon, double entendre? As if this pirate had game!
Neither paid attention to Rune as they turned toward the exit. Nearing the doorway, Josephine said, “Oh, duck! You don’t want to hit your horns.”
Deshazior slanted her a heated look. “And she’s considerate to boot?”
Sheltered or not, she must know a mere reference to a demon’s horns could be construed as an invitation!
On the street, Deshazior gestured toward Rune. “I figure him for a fey. But what might ye be?”
“I’m a vampire.” She would tell the demon that, yet she refused to reveal basic information to Rune.
“Never had much use for vampires,” Deshazior said, “till I met a l’il bit named Jo, me first female one.” He waived from her toes to her head, asking, “Are ye all this eye-catchin’?”
She beamed, her smile dazzling. “Are demons all so charming?”
Deshazior leaned in even closer. “I’ve been hard on yer species in the past; teach me the error of me ways.”
She leaned in as well, eyeing him. “Do it again, bilge rate, and I’ll bite you smartly, then keelhaul your hide.”
Deshazior put his paw over his heart and breathed, “Blow. Me. Down.”
She chuckled. Chuckled! “I speak Pirates of the Caribbean.“
Rune was all but forgotten.
“Where would such a winsome vampire need to be goin’? ‘Cause I’ll trace ye across the worlds.”
Rune interjected: “We need to go to China. To Mount Hua.”
Deshazior told Josepine, “Ye’re in luck. Been all over that country. I can put ye straight at the base.”
“All over?” she asked. “No one ever asks you about your horns?” Mentioning them again!
“See me T-shirt?” I was emblazoned with the words Big Easy Casting.
She tilted her head. “I see it.”
“Folks think I’m wearin’ prosthetics for a movie.”
“Oh, cool. They’re really big,” she said, which turned the demon on, those horns growing. Her eyes went wide. “That’s wild! Can I touch them?”
Rune’s jaw slackened.
Deshazior couldn’t dip his head fast enough. “Woman, make me dreams come true!”
“That’s enough,” Rune cut in. “We’re running out of time.” They were in no way running out of time.
“Rain check?” Josephine asked.
Voice gone low, Deshazior said, “Oh, decidedly, luv.”