Review: Ringed Love (Sentries, #6) by Elizabeth Noble

Sequel to Tethered Pair

New Colorado Protectorate fell with the assassination of Chancellor Clarke. Afterwards, like many others, Todd and Nick Ruger left the land of their birth and made a home north in Yellowknife. Though they have to say a sad farewell to friends and loved ones, they are taken in with open arms and in turn offer shelter to others.

They must still contend with angry ghosts, Windigos, and water spirits, but through it all, their love and devotion for each other never falters. Nick is awarded a degree in veterinary medicine and trains students from Yellowknife, while Todd becomes the town sheriff and takes on new sentry apprentices of his own. They remain steadfast in their duty as sentries as well, leaving behind a legacy meant to protect and defend those who need it the most.

This Sentries series is without doubt one of my favourite reads. Ever.

It is bittersweet experience to read this knowing it is adieu to Todd and Nick. The title 'Ringed Love' is apt as the book comes full circle capturing vignettes from their life together - significant interludes that follow the conclusion of book five. It is like coming across a box of cherished snapshots, a little jumbled but mostly in the right order that bring memories flooding in.

The world in which Nick and Todd Ruger live is post-apocalyptic, about 300 years in the future. Following a major natural catastrophe, slavery exists and paranormal threats are fairly common. A band of Sentries work to keep the general populace safe.

If I could select my favourite elements for a great story, this has all the best ingredients, adventure, conspiracy, social constraints, two great male leads, some sexy times, romance and a soupcon of angst. Absolutely delicious.

The author weaves high adventure with everyday life with a brilliance that can touch on dark and scary themes with a light hand.

Todd Ruger has an adventurous spirit, all his life he has honed his skills as a Sentry, fighting paranormal threats. Independent by nature, he has a huge protective streak. Very young he sacrificed some of his independence to take responsibility and ownership of Nick despite Todd finding slavery an anathema.

Growing up as a slave has impacted psychologically on Nick leaving him wary in social situations. His timidity should not be mistaken as a lack of bravery, he has huge personal strength. Both men have bucket loads of integrity and their relationship formed out of duty, is much more enriching than either imagined. They have forged a friendship, an enduring love and created a life partnership in every sense.

'Ringed Love' captures their rights of passage, it could possibly work as a standalone read, but a casual reader would miss much of the nuance and significance of the concluding piece, that completes the circle of their lives. Besides why would you want to deny yourself the rest of their adventures? I have been rooting for this pair from the very beginning and if this is a great way to bid farewell (even if I am greedy for more).

My only quibble is that it is a bit of a shock to see these guys as old codgers as well as in the vibrancy of youth. Either way it is clear that their deep affection and their pleasure in each other's company doesn't diminish over the years. Todd and Nick have very different personalities and needs, some by nature and some by nurture) and yet over their lifetime they grow and adapt to meet each other's aspirations and the changing social climate. Fundamentally they fight for each other and for a better world.

'Ringed Love' allows us to peek into the highlights and share recollection of adversity and celebration. It is a lovely read, I was only sorry it ended.

If you haven't yet read the series now is a great time to start. If you have been following the boys, then 'Ringed Love' is a great way to quell curiosity about what happens next. The previous books are in order: Marked Yours (Sentries # 1), Together Bound (Sentries # 2), Chained Hearts (Sentries # 3), Collared Souls (Sentries # 4), Tethered Pair (Sentries # 5). Ringed Love is the final book of the Sentries series.

 Find out more on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

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