Title: Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy #2)
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Pub. Date: April 7th 2020
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 544 Pages
🖤ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review🖤
🖤Although this is a spoiler free review of Ruthless Gods, you will probably be spoiled for the first book Wicked Saints if you haven’t read it🖤
Is it possible to love a second book way more than you did the first? ABSOLUTELY! Although I did enjoy Wicked Saints, I felt like Ruthless Gods really put me through the ringer of emotions. Our characters are bruised and battered after the events of the first book. Nadya shows a tremendous amount of character growth & development now that she’s left without the blessing of the Gods. She’s lost her direct line to them & any sparks of power she may have are dark in nature & unknown because she’s tapped into Malachaisz through blood magic. She’s lost the boy she loves & has so many complex feelings to sort through. Seeing him twisted into the demon shape he is leaves her constantly at war within her self over feeling she feels she shouldn’t have for him. Told in multiple POV’s we are also following Serafin the new Crown Prince who this book mainly focuses on. Serafin is the character I cherish the most & that’s just because he is silently fighting a war no one sees & he isn’t looking for a shoulder to lean on. Serafin is an alcoholic who has lost vision in one eye. More like he’s lost control of it to the God who has possessed him. We see him stumble about trying to hold thoughts of going mad at bay whenever he hears voices in his head or sees stars in the one eye he’s lost all vision in. Serafin also discovers some HARD truths in this book that will complicate many of his decisions along the way.
We also get a lot more background info on the REAL war taking place & it goes much deeper than Tranvians Vs. Kalyazin. Although I will say that as someone who roots for the underdog, there was something satisfying about Kalyazin making generous progress in the fight & pushing back. They went from having terrible odds to actually standing a chance because they’ve found something to sort of even the odds. Of course we can’t forget our “villain” or favorite Black Vulture Malachiasz (just found out I’ve been pronouncing his name allllll the way wrong smh) who is hella wicked yet I can’t hate him. Quite the opposite, this dark little soul just manages to leave me wanting to understand him all the more SMH! especially after getting a glimpse into his childhood *heartstrings*
Content Warning: body gore/eye horror, self harm, alcoholism
I have pictured Emily A. Duncan in a dark little dungeon baring her soul to write this book. These characters have gone through hell & back but they’re only now getting to the heart of the matter. All of our characters are mentally tortured & coping as best they can given the circumstances. I loved getting the POV’s of Parijahan who is basically the closest Malachiasz has to a friend. I was very intrigued by her royal back story & the reasons that placed her on this journey to begin with. We also were introduced to a new character, Katya who is the Crown princess of Kalyazin and should be ready to strike Serafin down. Katya however finds herself relating to Serafin & it was also interesting seeing them cross paths and gain perspective from one another. As for the writing itself, I won’t lie the pacing really tested my patience here but it was SO worth it. I find this is the case with any stories the are centered around an actual journey. About 50% of the story is build up and backstory. The second half of the book raises the stakes with the presence of the Gods, at this point I couldn’t stop flipping pages fast enough. Considering this story focused a lot on Serafin, my best guess is that book 3 will be more Malachiasz focused & for that I will drop everything! *evil hands* haha!
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