Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Jumping into Jolie Vines’s Ruin is like throttling through the rabbit hole to Wonderland. This Dark Island Scots series is nothing like her former McRae clan series. Well, that isn’t entirely true. The hero stills falls hard for his heroine, much to his chagrin. The feel and taste of Ruin is grittier, darker. It’s a world rife with the complications of greed and enmity. No one is safe in Vines’s Ruin, and if you’re looking for a neat bow of a happy ending, you will not find it here. What makes this book a compelling read is how different it is from Vines’s former works, and her natural capacity for writing it is exciting. It highlights a new writing muscle for Vines, and it proffers up a decadent, erotic world that keeps you suspended through its pages.
Some of the big takeaways from Ruin:
- There are many layers to this new series. In fact, I think, one of the limitations of Ruin is the number of twists and turns that Vines takes her readers on. There were a few moments where the details felt lost in a new aspect of the story. There are multiple points of view to this story, and I found, at times, it muddled Thea and Struan’s journey. Trust me when I say this: there are many considerations to Ruin. And this is only the first book of the series.
- This book ends on a cliffhanger. It seems as though Struan and Thea have found their HFN, but Vines upends it in the final chapter. We will have to check back in with book 2, Sin.
- I am a personal fan of a hero such as Struan learning vulnerability when he’s lived a hardened life, and I love a meek heroine such as Thea who finds her strength through loving Struan. Together, these two are combustible. Vines continues to push her eroticism in this book, and I’m intrigued to know where she intends to go with the next books of the series given the steam level of this book. Her Wild Scots series, the second generation of McRaes, started her down this road, pushing the envelope of the physicality of her characters. I suspect the Dark Island Scots are going to get a bit k*nky.
- This romance is a story about finding your people. Vines’s characters, Ruin, Sin, Burn, and Scar along with Thea, Lottie, and Cassie, have been traumatized by life, by the people tasked with protecting them. Together, though, they become a family, supportive, protective, and compassionate. For me, that’s the best part of this book. Don’t get me wrong. I love the suspense and action of Ruin, but the relationships of this story are its heart and soul.
There is so much to Jolie Vines’s Ruin, and I am anticipatory for the rest of the stories of her Dark Island series. I have no idea where she means to take it, but be prepared because the rabbit hole is going to grow darker before the light can penetrate it.
In love and romance,