Review | Ruthless Gods

Title: Ruthless Gods
Series Details: Something Dark and Holy #2
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: April 07, 2020
Genre: Fantasy

Blurb from Goodreads:

Darkness never works alone…

Nadya doesn’t trust her magic anymore. Serefin is fighting off a voice in his head that doesn’t belong to him. Malachiasz is at war with who–and what–he’s become.

As their group is continually torn apart, the girl, the prince, and the monster find their fates irrevocably intertwined. They’re pieces on a board, being orchestrated by someone… or something. The voices that Serefin hears in the darkness, the ones that Nadya believes are her gods, the ones that Malachiasz is desperate to meet—those voices want a stake in the world, and they refuse to stay quiet any longer.

Deception, evil schemes, and well-planned manipulations continues in Ruthless Gods—the second installment of Something Dark and Holy series. To be completely honest, I never thought things could get any more darker than Wicked Saints, but boy, so much darker it goes! This book bleeds… a lot. Blood magic plays a major role in its magic system, after all. It is heavy on blood, gore, violence, and some scenes of self-harm. Most of the gruesome scenes are pretty detailed too which could be uncomfortable to read for some. So be warned.

“The taste of divinity is a sweet poison, but poison all the same.”

Ruthless Gods kicks off a few months after the bloody chaos that was the Wicked Saints. Nadya’s gods has gone silent despite her calls. Serefin, on the other hand, desperately wants to silence the god who started speaking to him in his mind. While Malachiasz sinks deeper and deeper into the depths of darkness. Everyone’s a mess. Some felt betrayed. Some felt like they failed—terribly. Some might have gotten what they want, but somehow they didn’t get enough. And now they’re all out to make things right.

“The world they wish is broken bones and blood—always blood.”

This series has got a brutal and unforgiving world. It constantly gives off a sinister atmosphere. Like, evil is just around the corner waiting to happen. And to my satisfaction, we get to see more parts of this world as we get more POVs including that of the secondary characters.

In addition to Nadya and Serefin’s perspective, we now get Malachiasz’s side of the story, which shows us more about the Vultures—their making, their magic, and their own kind of political system. We get a bit of a glimpse of how Kalyazin’s leaders handle the ongoing war through Katya. And the world-building even stretch further to other issues going on outside the Tranavian-Kalyazi war through Parijahan’s narrative. It’s still unclear how Parijahan’s story will connect to the main plot, but I have a feeling that she will be playing a vital role in future installments.

The romance still confuses the hell out of me. Because, really, how can you love someone who didn’t hesitate—and won’t hesitate again—to betray you for his goals? Someone you constantly assume the worst of? Nadya and Malachiasz’s relationship is so clearly not the healthiest and yet I found myself on board the ship. By now I would’ve found Nadya’s constant kill-him-kiss-him trust-him-hate-him thoughts so annoying, but surprisingly, I don’t! Sue me. Hell, I myself can’t decide if I want the guy redeemed or killed in the most painful way possible!

The one tiny streak of light in this dark, dark tale, is the admirable bond between Nadya, Parijahan, Rashid, and even Malachiasz. Despite the betrayals and having strong differences—yes, everything in this book is complicated—they share this special kind of friendship. And we can only hope that it will survive until the very end.

“Some of us make our own families. Not sure where I went wrong that mine has a monster boy in it, but there it is.”

This book also brings focus to the gods, both old and new. Bit by bit we’re starting to get a better understanding of what they are, what their intentions are, and just how dangerous they can be. The gods, Nadya’s power, and whatever game the gods are playing, are the biggest mystery in this series. Part of that mystery is gradually being revealed in this book through characters who speaks in riddles, so instead making things clear, some of it came out confusing to me.

Another thing that kept me from giving this a higher rating is how there’s some parts that seems to have jumped from point one to three. There were times when I had to go back and re-read some previous scenes, thinking that I have missed something. It’s like the book zoned out for a minute, and what happened in that full minute is lost to us. I remember having the same issue with the previous book too.

With that said, I dare say I enjoyed Ruthless Gods. Maybe even more than Wicked Saints. I love having new voices to the story. With each character having to face their own battles that could very well cost them their lives. I’ve read books as dark as this but this one is pretty high up on my Dark Books list. If creepy, dark, and sinister is your thing, this book could be right up your alley.

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