My Ruthless Prince (The Inferno Club #4) - Gaelen Foley Years ago, if you had said to me, "Rachel, the day will come when you rate books higher because they're violent and bloody with some smexy times on the side," I would have scoffed and replied, "Bitch, don't be talking crazy!" Alas, as I age, I grow infinitely creepier. My Ruthless Prince went there so many times that I was utterly captivated by the sheer ballsiness of it.

At times, it seemed that Gaelen Foley was writing directly to my spirit animal, the velociraptor. Nobody enjoys death and mayhem like my inner spirit animal. Its short little arms go flailing akimbo at the mention of patricide, and it tears apart entire rooms at the excitement of slit throats in battle. So, basically, reading My Ruthless Prince turned me into this:


GIFSoup
This is totally normal, guys!

Sadly, My Ruthless Prince isn't actually about a PRINCE. I know! Romance titles are supposed to tell the truth, right? The "prince" in question is actually Drake, the Earl of Westwood. Not a prince at all, but I'll let it go. So Drake is a super-spy from The Order, an ancient brotherhood reminiscent of The Knights Templar. The Order has a nemesis, the Prometheans, which is pretty much The Order only totally evil. A couple years before the start of this book, Drake was captured by the Prometheans, locked in a dungeon, tortured and brainwashed for months. They wiped his memory, and then some old Promethean dude released Drake with nefarious intentions. A feral Drake returned to England, and the only person he remembered was his childhood friend Emily Harper, the woodsman's daughter on his estate. Emily helped nurse Drake's memory back to life, but then the old dude, James, returned, and Drake seemed to defect from The Order and his best friends by saving James's life and taking off for places unknown with the Prometheans. This all occurs before the opening pages of the novel.

Now that everybody thinks Drake is a big, fat traitor, Emily takes it upon herself to hike into the wilds of Bavaria and rescue Drake from the castle where he's shacking up with the Prometheans. Loyal to a fault, Emily can't believe that Drake is really an evil traitor. She knows he must have something up his sleeve. So armed with a bow and set of arrows, Emily somehow makes it to the castle and comes face to face with Drake. Instantly, he seems like a changed man. No longer the smiling, playfully devious friend Emily remembers from her youth, Drake is now dark, remote and tortured. He's climbed the ranks of Prometheans to become James's right-hand-man and pretty much head of security at the castle. At first, Emily is devastated to realize that Drake has become the monster he fought so hard against with The Order, but she can't figure out what to do about it because she still LOVES HIM more than sunshine and rainbows and unicorns combined.

Of course, this is a romance novel, so Drake's whole Evil Promethean exterior is just a ruse. He's taken it upon himself to orchestrate the biggest inside job EVER. Basically, he wants to kill all of the Prometheans, and he really doesn't care if he dies with them. Until Emily Harper arrives, that is. Reminded of the sweetness and light of life by the woodsman's daughter, Drake is tempted to touch the one girl who's always been forbidden to him, and her presence makes it much harder for him to live in a world of moral ambiguity.

LIKES:

1. The Gore! - Foley doesn't shy away from the fight scenes. Sure, the main characters pull off some far-fetched stunts, but who doesn't want to imagine the hero jumping from a horse and tackling a bad guy off of his and proceeding to beat the crap out of him? Good times! Less than a third of the way through the book, one of the antagonists strangles his birth father, a good guy, TO DEATH, and you get to read about it from the perspective of the victim.

2. Drake's Brush With the Dark Side - At times, Drake doesn't act very heroic. Several times during the book, he scares Emily with the lengths he goes to exact revenge. At one point, he even scares me with the internal implications that he may be turning into a Promethean by accident. He reminded me of Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars prequels, only if Anakin hadn't been portrayed like a pubescent emo crybaby with abandonment issues.

3. Emily's a Convincing Action Girl - I mean, she made it the whole way into the freaking Alps with her bow & arrow and wits. Although she's a pure, innocent soul, she takes part in some of the later bloodshed and manages to defend herself convincingly. She has great aim with a bow and arrow and isn't afraid to use it.

4. Virgin Sacrifice! - In order to prove how evil the Prometheans are, Foley has them plan a virgin sacrifice at the next eclipse. Naturally, the only virgin in the castle is Emily, until Drake takes care of that, so it adds some desperation to the plot. And as cliche as the whole virgin sacrifice plot is, I had to love its campiness.

DISLIKES:

1. Emily Totally Doesn't Have a Set of Velociraptor Balls When it Comes to Love - I get that she loves Drake to distraction, but I got a little annoyed when she can't resist him even when he's ACTUALLY BEING A BAD GUY. Her internal monologue is all like, "Oh, he's being so evil right now. I SHOULD stop him. But I can't because he's beautiful and BELONGS with me. Therefore, I will tolerate his bad behavior and die a little inside with each step he takes toward the dark side." Grow some goddamn backbone, Emily. Geez! If Emily wasn't so capable and moral, her transformation into a doormat wouldn't have bothered me so much. Fortunately, at the end of the book, she grows her balls back in a SPECTACULAR way. Then she loses them again immediately afterward, but I'm trying not to dwell on it.

My Ruthless Prince isn't a perfect book, but I had a freaking awesome time reading it. For some adventure mixed with some sweet romance, this is worth reading. That's the problem with Avon books. 99% of them make me want to tear my eyes out, and then the rare 1% comes along that rocks and compels me to trudge through the crap to find the rare gold.