As a long time fan of this series I will admit to being a bit bummed when I heard that it would be headed in a semi-new direction and that it would feature two characters no one had ever heard of before. I mean what about Furie? Or Nix? Or the multitude of characters still waiting for their HEA? Sweet Ruin, book 15 in the Immortals After Dark series, would begin the focus on the other side of the Accession. The supposed bad guys. Those members of the Lore who we’ve seen time and again as the ones to root against. Ms. Cole stated in a blog post that she wanted readers to experience Nix as her enemies see her. I was intrigued! And really, there was never any point when I wasn’t going to read this book or continue to follow this series. I really do love it that much.
The H/h in Sweet Ruin is Thad’s sister Josephine and a member of the Morior, Rune. When the story opens Josephine is living on the streets and doing everything she can to take care of her little brother, who is a toddler. She has no memory of who she is or where she comes from. All she knows is she will do anything for Thad and she has these urges to avenge those who’ve been wronged and abused. Which tends to get her in trouble as her protective instincts tend to be violent and in your face. She and Thad bounced around the foster care system until she decided it was just better to make their own way, doing their own thing on the streets. By chance, they meet up with a kind librarian who wants to take them in and offer them a home, which isn’t something Jo is keen on happening. That is until she’s attacked in the street and wakes up in the morgue. Now suddenly she’s developed ghost like abilities, which pretty much makes sense since she’s always known she was wicked strong and tough. Only now she’s convinced she’s a superhero. But when she goes to get Thad he doesn’t recognize her and the super sweet librarian chases her away. Making the ultimate sacrifice, she leaves her brother in Ms. B’s care and strikes out on her own.
Rune is a member of the Morior, who are the badasses of the universe. He is their archer and secrets master. How does he obtain his information and learn all those secrets you ask? Through sex. Rune is a lover extraordinaire and isn’t afraid of getting it on with nymphs of every kind to get what he needs for the job. He also happens to be a fey/demon hybrid whose poisonous bodily fluids kill any person they come into contact with. He has quite the tragic/traumatic history and a very low self-esteem. When Jo first comes into contact with him he’s getting it on with a group of nymphs in order to gain information on a Valkyrie named Nix. Jo ghosts in and observes the super hunk turn all three women inside out with pleasure while seeming to remain detached himself. She’s intrigued. Then when he confronts her he can’t help but be fascinated when he realizes she’s interested, but is not about to let him coerce her with sex unless he intends to do it only with her.
This begins one of the sexiest courtships out of any book in this series. Guys this is dirty stuff. Jo and Rune do everything but the deed while they are figuring what the heck is going on between them. Neither of them even know what Jo is exactly. She is completely ignorant about the Lore and makes some slip ups.. (think flirting with demons by referencing their horns repeatedly). They team up to find a way to get Thad away from Nix and along the way he teaches her about the Lore and she tries to get him to realize they are meant for each other. Although Jo can drink his blood and kiss him and he has feelings for her that he’s never had for another person in his entire long life, Rune is convinced a mate is not something that fate intends for him. But he’ll keep her as long as he’s able to, while still going on about his secrets gathering in the same sexed up way he’s always done it. Yeah, you see where this is going don’t you?
While I did enjoy the romance of Rune and Jo, it was reminiscent of so many other couples in this series. They meet, they are attracted to each other, he fucks up and breaks her heart, she kicks him to the curb and then he has to grovel to get her back. What did surprise me is how this book expanded the IAD universe in huge ways. It’s a game changer. Everything you thought you knew about the Lore or the Accession is changed. Fifteen books in and I now realize it’s all bigger than I thought it was. I loved it. I was glad for it. So many long running series become redundant and with Sweet Ruin there is no chance of that happening with IAD. It was interesting to see a Nix in a different light. I’m now even more eager to find out what she’s doing with all her manipulations and vague prophecies. I also think the only character who she could possibly end up with was introduced. In fact, I’m predicting this character is exactly who will end up as her HEA. No spoilers, I’ll let you read and figure out who I’m talking about. I can’t imagine who else could equal her in strength and abilities. I think Nix the Ever-Knowing as finally met her match.
I remain a total fangirl of this author and series. While I know there was some consternation and upset over the new direction and unknown characters I would urge readers to give Sweet Ruin a try. I predict fans of this series will be completely satisfied and excited for what the future holds. Final Grade-B
“You won’t get rid of me that easily, Rune Darklight. And how could I ever pity a male like you, my archer?” She could tell he liked that.