Second review of the week. LOL sorry that I forgot to post these, once again. I read both this and The Damned back like in October. It’s been so long. Goodness.
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan
Synopsis From The Book
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. Their paths are 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.
In their dramatic follow-up to Wicked Saints, the first book in their Something Dark and Holy trilogy, Emily A. Duncan paints a Gothic, icy world where shadows whisper, and no one is who they seem, with a shocking ending that will leave you breathless.
Fantasy | YA – PW |Death, Torture, Manipulation | Love, Destiny, Self Martyrs,
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
So, I set up my month for disappointment, and decided my reading order on what would give me the most satisfaction when I destroyed my mind with books. The answer was, two books for the end of the month. I needed to make sure that I was well haunted for the end of the month. A thorough spooking if you will. So what better book than to dive deep, other than this one? I had to look back at my last review for Wicked Saints to remember what was up, but now I am ready. I am here. It is time.
To fall deep into the gothic.
AHHH I’m so excited. I have high hopes for this monster of a novel. It is so thick I swear I could break a table with it or something. Eitherway, I’m hype for this. I’m also freaked. What if I hate it? What if its not worth the hours its going to take to read? What if I want to smash a table because of it? I suppose these are all expected responses, but I really do want to love this series because I like the magic system and the way it is written. So fingers crossed for the best.
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
Well. Wow. Yeah that was just as dense as the first book. I am still so much at a loss and I feel this large gap in my hear where the answers all should be. Instead I’m left wanting more… Needing more. When is the last book coming? I need it. Please. I need it. I need to know how this messed up story concludes. It was dark and horrible and everything I expected going into it.
Also, it was long.
I actually like this book A LOT more than I did the first. The rating is the same, because it wasn’t a 5 book for me, but it was def better than the first book IMO. IDK might just be me tho.
Serefin and Nadya are dealing with the repercussions of what happened at the end of Wicked Saints. Serefin is king, and Nadya is close to being exposed. Both are trying to figure out what to do about Malachiasz who is trying to take the throne. Serefin’s reign is being questioned, and he is seeing strange things and hearing strange voices. He goes to the witch to ask for help. She gives him cryptic messages herself. She tells him that Malachiasz is Serefin’s brother. Serefin confronts his mother about this and learns it as truth. Meanwhile the witch sees Malachiasz and gives him strange messages. At a dinner party for Serefin, Nadya is exposed and they are forced to flee. They head to the Salt Mines to get back Serefin’s ex-fiance from the Vultures. This is where the story splits.
Nadya goes into the salt mines to get the fiancee back, but instead frees her best friend when she sees him again. Nadya is almost killed because of the help of another Vulture (and Malchiasz going nuts as the Black Vulture) but is saved when Malachaiaz snaps out of it and remembers. Nadya talks with Kostya who tells her of the horrors he went through. When she tells him about what she did, he yells at her and calls her a heretic. Malachiasz tries to get Nadya’s forginess but she won’t give it to him after all the lies. However she does still love him. He agrees to go west with her to a temple where she might learn more about why she can’t hear the gods, the strange power she holds, and what will happen next.
Serefin, while waiting for Nadya, argues with his friends and then is lost in a vision from the strange god who is trying to use him. He wakes up in Kalyazin, and the princess of the country gets him. They speak and she then kills him in a ritual sacrifice. Serefin speaks to the god again, who gives him a task. Serefin wakes a sleeping god, and is sent back. Katya, the princess, tells them about the exiled gods and what Serefin’s god is asking from him (to help the gods go into war again). They must kill Malachiasz to stop what he is starting. Serefin asks fo forgiveness from his friends and then makes out with Kacper, who reveals that he liked Serefin from the beginning. Serefin cleans himself and sees that both his eyes are now strange like the sky at night.
Nadya and the group head to the forest, and find a sanctuary. However they are attacked by Vultures and Kostya dies. Serefin and the others track Malachiasz and find them in the forest. The group travels together. Slowly both Serefin and Nadya unravel. Nadya discovers the truth of the gods and how they are horrors. Serefin is controlled by the gods until he shatters completely. Nadya chooses her death god over Malachiasz, but Malachiasz kills the god. The world is shattered, as Serefin wakes the other gods and then travels to kill Malachiasz. Serefin kills his brother and Nadya is saved. Serefin rips out his eye to end the connection between him and the gods. Kacper and Serefin end up on their own, finding that their country no longer remembers anything about Blood Magic, and Kalyazin thinks they will win the war. Malachiasz wakes in the middle of his blood, with the god of entropy with him.
What I Liked:
Character Progression; Look, most of my character loves haven’t changed. Malachiasz is still a monster. Serefin is still a sassy person (king of sass rather than a prince, even when gods are trying to destroy his mind), and Nadya is still my lorn soul. However, each of them gets deeper and darker in this book in a way that I am thoroughly enjoying. they are twisted, lying, and conniving people who are all backstabbing each other. Honestly, Nadya, has no reason to be so angry at Serefin killing Malachiasz, like she was going to do it herself. My goodness. She needs to get her priorities straight. However, I do like how they are all being more rounded, fuller, and deeper characters as we go on. This is also the case for all the secondary characters we met in the past.
Katya; She is new and I love her. She honestly seems like one of the few rational, not murderous heathens, of the bunch. I know that she is going to have a large role to play in the upcoming final novel. If the two countries can even attempt peace it will be because of her. I wonder what she will have to do to achieve that. Not sure I fully care either. I mean, I’ve seen what the others will do to achieve their goals.
Malachiasz and Nadya; I know in my first review that I could care less about this relationship. This book made it grow on me, and by grow on me I mean I actually ship it. I ship it. I’m here for it. I hate how twisted and horrific their relationship is with all the lies and attempted murder, but look I get it. And I did like seeing how their relationship tested them and their mindsets in things.
Kacper and Serefin; This was such a cute relationship start. Goodness, I knew that Serefin was going to fall hard, but he fell very hard and he didn’t even realize it happened until too late. Its my favorite type of romance. I wish them the best, but in this book, I have no clue if that’s possible.
World Building, Magic, and Gods; So. Yeah. I asked and I received. This book went deep into more of the magic, the gods, the intricacies, the threads of lore. We got so much more of the world, of the ideologies of the world, and how everything works. I know that when I do the series review, I will have to have a whole section on the magic, because I think that it is simply necessary. Not sure tho. We’ll see. We’ll see. Eitherway, this part of the book is the best for me, hands down.
Darkness; Look. I knew the book was horror, grim, dark, and gothic all around for the first novel. However this book leaned into the horror and I don’t know how to process all the gruesome things that I read. Also like how much it makes sense. Goodness. Tranavia is a horrible country, terrible place, and yet the way their world works makes so much sense that it hurts me. I like how dark, evil, and twisted they are. I like how they just accept it. I like how twisted Kalyazin is, and their evil gods. This world is so dark and dangerous, I love it. I feel like I’m at danger and heretical from just reading it, and honestly I don’t think I’d have it any other way. I don’t remember the first book being this beautifully horrid, but this one is and I am here for it.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
“Again I ask, was it worth it?”
“Yes. And you are rent apart, when the boy and the monster can no longer reconcile, when you realize you have gone too far and reached for too much and have slipped into a crevice in the world where only the darkest of horrors dwell, will it be worth it then?” – pg 59
“Truly, I am terribly sorry this isn’t the time for senseless slaughter. My heart weeps.”
“Gods, you’re worse than I imagined.”
“Infinitely flattered.” – pg 205
“Pray you never see those bones at work.”
“Oh, I think something was lost in translation. I’m a heretic. I don’t pray.” – pg 227