Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan
Something Dark & Holy #2
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.
Heads up guys! I never know where to start when reviewing the 2nd book in the series, because there’s bound to be spoilers. So, friends if you haven’t read Wicked Saints and are planning on it, click away for now.
Let’s start with a little background on my feelings about the first book in this series, Wicked Saints. The first half was absolute torture to read. All of the ridiculous and distracting names were just too much for me, but I continued on because honestly Serephin was giving me The Darkling vibes, you know from Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow & Bone series, and I needed to see some good happen for him — even though, does he really deserve that? I still don’t know, but I love him anyway. I also kept reading because I was intrigued by how everything was going to play out, and was pleasantly surprised in the end. There was backstabbing, redemption, damnation, and more. It was a fantastic ending that left me needing to read the 2nd book ASAP, which leads me to Ruthless Gods.
Ruthless Gods had the opposite effect. It started so strong. We opened back up with Serephin slowly losing it and lots of political intrigue. The nobles in the Tranavian court want someone to be punished for the death of the king. Whether it’s Nadya or Serephin did not matter. Someone would pay for the war going sideways. See, these nobles were benefitting from the war and were not ok with Serephin wanting it to end. Gotta love precious Serephin! In order to buy himself some time to figure out what was happening to him and to sort of appease these nobles, Serephin decides that he and Nadya must visit the Salt Mines to save Zaneta, his friend and also the daughter of the noble leading the charge.
From here, things start to go a little wonky. I don’t want to go into too much detail because spoilers, but this is where I lost a connection with Nadya. The choices that she makes are so against anything I could imagine and at times are so unbelievably repulsive.
I thought after the Salt Mines when all the characters came back together that maybe some of that spark from the first book would rekindle, but sadly, that’s not the case. Ruthless Gods lacked the easy going and fun jabs this ragtag group would throw at each other in Wicked Saints. Instead we got lots of conversations about powers that not a single one could understand. Seriously, all three main characters have powers that nobody knows anything about and they complain about it constantly! It was frustrating, confusing, and dull.
Another gripe I had with this book was that we kept getting new perspectives thrown at us. The first happens 36% into the book, the second at 51%, and the last at 87%…87%!! Seriously?! From the prophesy mentioned by Pelageya (who I missed dearly in this book), in Wicked Saints, I can see where players were being added to what must be an end game, but it was jarring and not appreciated.
In the end this book did not live up to its predecessor, and I’m not sure at this point if I will read the next in the series or not. I give this book a 2.5 rounded up to 3 stars.