Book Reviews

The Ruin of Me (Juxtan 3) by Tricia Owens

Genre Gay / Fantasy / Mercenary/Robber/Highwayman / Magic / Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 29-November-2019

Book Blurb

Hadrian ni Leyanon, though a member of a mission to bring his sorcerous father to justice, possesses no friends in the land of Juxtan. With a bounty on his head sure to attract every mercenary in the land, he already deals with the most dangerous: his former lover Caled. Hadrian can present no defense against the cocky, confident mercenary, but he isn't so certain that he wants one. 

Hadrian is the bane of Caled’s existence. He is a silver-eyed peddler of lies. Magickally bound to him, Caled is unable to kill him, but he is determined to make the sorcerer suffer. Unfortunately, the longer Caled spends in his company, the more he learns of Hadrian’s cruel past and how it shaped him into the man Caled fell in love with.  

As the two men and their fellows pursue Hadrian’s father along the coast, Caled and Hadrian must confront the emotions that should no longer exist between them. They are enemies. They are supposed to hate each other. Yet in the shadowy abode of a society of the insane, they must rely on each other to survive.

Book Review

“The tension between not being let in and not being let go fixes us. Especially when it's the not-being-let-in that won't let you go. You're held at the threshold. You're turned away, but you can't turn away.” ~ Randon Billings Noble, Be with Me Always: Essays

As if Hadrian, of ‘The Ruin of Me’ by Trisha Owens, doesn’t feel bad enough about what he has done, Caleb's constant reminders dig into his heart breaking it over and over again. Hadrian still loves Caleb but feels that there is no way Caled will ever be able to forgive him, much less love him again. Even knowing that what he did was not under his control, gives his soul no respite.

As the quest to find Hadrian’s father continues, Caleb becomes more agitated than ever. He can’t seem to stop lashing out at Hadrian in ways that he can’t explain. Yet, at the same time, there’s a part of Caled that still wants the man. He can’t justify the duality of his feelings. Caleb wonders how he can still have any regard for the person who destroyed his town, killed all of his friends, and lied so blatantly to him. He tries to dismiss it as sexual frustration, but even Caled knows that’s not the whole of it.

As reserved as Hadrian is, he is much better than he was right after his destruction of his home and temporary defeat of his father. The only one who comes close to understanding how much Hadrian is suffering, is the elder Madrix. Since he has an idea who much pain it will cause him to use his magic, Madrix feels relatively sure that Hadrian won’t do so. When Caleb tries to sexually assault Hadrian, Madrix scolds Caled and comforts Hadrian. Caled is confused and angry, especially when Matrix tells Caled that he doesn’t know everything about what is going on and, basically tells him to back off.

As they come closer to catching up with Hadrian’s father, matters become even more intense and angerous. It is clear that his father knows they are coming and setting up roadblocks to impede their success. At one point, Hadrian argues that he needs to proceed alone because it will be safer for the others, but Caled refuses to let him do so. As usual, Caled is conflicted. He is torn between wanting to protect Hadrian, although he won’t admit it, and not trusting him. Hadrian tries to warn him that the people he is about to encounter are the ones his father deemed not good enough to learn his magic. They live on the fringes, deal and use drugs to the point of being unreliable, along with using questionable, irresponsible magic practices. They practically worship Hadrian to an unnatural degree. Hadrian tries to spare Caled from entering such a strange place and with such aberrant people, but Caled is determined to go with him.

I’m hooked on this story and am rooting for Hadrian and Caled. This book is almost painful because it’s so angsty and sad. I don’t know how it is going to work out for them, but I’m hoping that they reach a point where they can forgive themselves and each other and move on. At this point, it’s a question whether this can this take place when what happened seems to be unforgivable. Thanks, Trisha, for another step in Hadrian and Caled’s seemingly impossible journey out of pain and back into each other’s arms.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been purchased by the reviewer.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novella, 141 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 22-September-2019
Price $3.99 ebook, $10.99 paperback
Buy Link