TITLE : Ruthless Gods (Something Dark & Holy #2)

AUTHOR : Emily.A.Duncan

GENRE : YA, Fantasy

FBRC RATING : 4.75 Stars

PUBLISHING DATE : 7th April 2020


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.

In her dramatic follow-up to Wicked Saints, the first book in her 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. 


DISCLAIMER : Thank you Netgalley and St Martin’s Press and Macmillan USA and Wednesday Books for providing me with the arc of this book. I received a review copy for free from Netgalley, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

I was very excited about this book and I couldn’t wait to read it after Wicked Saints. Once I started the book I realized this was somehow a slower read for me than Wicked Saints. I was definitely pulled into the story from the very beginning. The transformation of Malachiasz was definitely fascinating but the descriptions fell short in evoking terror in me. The book has more body horror than the first one. The cosmic horror, the forests that would eat you alive if you stepped into it and the higher beings who stayed dormant after being cast out were all amazing.

Malachiasz was definitely darker and more vicious and cold in this book. He is still a liar and has no qualms about manipulating people as he believes he is doing the right thing. The chances of his and Nadya’s relationship moving smoothly is very slim. The betrayal is still very fresh. He is still struggling with who he is and who he has become. He lost a lot in his quest and will continue to do so as he goes on that path to divinity. We still have no idea what he is thinking at times and that is very frustrating to me as a reader because I want to know what he has figured out and how he is moving the individual pieces and his strategy for the game. It is all a game and how it ends is still up in the air.

Nadya is as conflicted as before. Everyone she holds dear has lied to her about something or the other. Her life is not what she expected to be and the more she uses the magic that may or may not be hers is causing destruction around her. She is stuck between rock and a hard place and her guidance from the Pantheon is no more. She hates not having a connection to her Gods. She regrets the mistakes she made and no longer is sure about her goals to destroy Tranavia. She wants to destroy Malachiasz for what he has done and can no longer deny her closeness to him brought forward more evil than she bargained for. She and Serefin have struck an unlikely truce to achieve their goals. I could feel her confusion and her conflict every time she wanted to be away from Malachiasz.

Serefin has become more interesting and I think his storylines were very riveting. The way he is struggling against the betrayal of his cousin and his father makes me feel bad for him. Him Kacper and Ostyia are as close as ever. Serefin is still a drunk and half of the time he acts like a petulant child than the Serefin we saw at the beginning of Wicked Saints, the terrifying Tranavian War Lord. The warrior in him is no more, he is weak and taken over by unknown voices. His body is changing and more horrors are happening to his eyes. He is going through a lot of pain. The emotional toll and the pain his eyes are causing him makes him more vulnerable. The voices in his head, the hallucinations and visions are doing their best to drive Serefin crazy. The voices and powers that hold him cause him to make difficult choices that will haunt him for the rest of his lives. 

The story in its entirety is definitely more gory, grotesque and horrifying in its details of body horror. The Gods or not the Gods are chaotic and dramatic as ever. Pelageya is as crazy as ever and creepier in this book. I am confused about some of the vents and her role in them. The rituals and sacrifices are not fully explained in this book. I want to know more about them and what the motivations were for them. I felt the morbidness and the grimness the book conveyed but failed to feel the terror. The Gods and their descriptions were more of monsters that lurked in the darkness. The power structure is changing. The history is coming to the surface, that has been wiped out.

Overall the book is a strong continuation for the series. I would have loved to get more backstory and the origin story for the Gods. There were snippets that had clues in them or stories that alluded to things happening. But the problem was remembering them were very hard as there was so much information about the Saints and clerics and their names were really difficult to remember. This made it hard to retain that information. So there is a good chance I have missed some critical details in the story. I am hoping I haven’t. But overall the gore and horror could have been more for the book and I believe because the book is meant for the YA audience the author did tone things down.

I have given Ruthless Gods 4.75 stars and I think for me Wicked Saints will be the favorite of the two. The terror-inducing factor I wanted was less. There is still a lot of blood, gore, cosmic horror, and body horror. Some events didn’t bring any clarity and that for me was the only negative I have for this book. I really can’t wait to read the next book and the final book in this series. I am really hoping to get a fantastic finale.

The book will be released on 7th April 2020 and I definitely recommend checking it out. If you love dark, gothic, horror and gore then this book will be for you. Let me know in the comment section the dark and gothic books that have left you unsettled in the comment section down below. Happy reading!! 


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