Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan

Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy, #2)

Title: Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy #2)
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Genre: Fantasy, YA Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Date published: April 7th 2020
Format: eBook
Page Count: 432

Rating: 3.5/5

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.


**Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me this ARC in exchange for an honest review**

Hey guys! Guest review post from my favourite IRL reading buddy, Christina! Hope you enjoy her review!

Warning: Minor spoilers ahead (but if you already read first book you’ll be ok)


  • Contrary to many other readers, Wicked Saints was actually pretty flat for me (3/5) so I was a little skeptical about beginning this book. I was hoping internally that this book would redeem itself and draw me back into the series. YES, IT DID (mostly)
  • The writing and storyline has taken a dark turn. At the end of the first book, it was hinted that the gods of Kalyazin were not what they seemed – part of something much darker and much more twisted, and this is a recurring theme throughout the book. You can expect a lot of truly horrifying depictions of things in this book, (yes friends some bit are very wonderfully gruesome) and the entire time I couldn’t stop thinking about how fitting the series name “Something Dark and Holy” was. Also, we learn a lot more about the gods and their history (really wanna say more, but I’ll just leave it at that).
  • Not so much action as compared to the previous book, but definitely a LOT more character development. Not only do we get to see the main trio grow immensely, but also the supporting characters like Kacper and Paraijahan get a bit of their backstories shown. Of course, there are still some MAJOR PLOT TWISTS happening (especially at the end). Also this book is essentially one long journey. 
  • If the theme of Wicked Saints was divine magic and the divide between two warring nations, then this book is all about shifting alliances, betrayals, and of course, the question of what divinity truly is. Each character is acting with their own agenda in mind.
  • However, this is where it gets a bit confusing. I don’t know if this is an arc thing that will be fixed in the editing process, but sometimes it feels like the character’s personality/beliefs do a complete 180. There are some weird plot holes, minor and ignorable, but still, it feels like I don’t know whether to hate someone, sympathize with them, or whatever. It feels like some of their actions are totally irrational given the situation, their past, etc. I felt like this was true, especially at the beginning/middle with Nadya. 
  • However, this might be a reflection of the characters themselves and how they are feeling. All of the main characters are feeling internally torn, questioning both their identity and what the others mean to them. So maybe the back and forth of not knowing what to think of the characters is just simply what they are feeling? Idk it’s just a theory, but it still kinda bothered me while I was reading because some things just didn’t make sense no matter how I looked at it.
  • The writing is also very, I don’t want to say muddled, but perhaps philosophical is a better way to describe it.  It’s definitely not a very clear cut story, and leaves a lot up to the imagination (hmm……). However, I didn’t mind it that – I think it adds to the overall effect nicely, BUT GODS as I was reading, there were parts where I just wanted to know definitively what was going on (the curiosity was literally killing me). 
  • Also I just want to say the tidbits from Vasilievs Book of Saints are SO good, and they keep me going each chapter. If you loved those exerpts, Ruthless Gods will make you so happy because not only does it make a comeback, but now we also get excerpts from some mysterious letters and from another more ancient, unknown source…
  • Predictions (contains some spoilers from this book): I think for the next book, Nadya’s backstory will be revealed, because there is just too much left unsaid about where her power comes from. ALSO THE GODS omg I need to know!!

Read if you liked:

  • Shadow and Bone trilogy (SUPER SIMILAR VIBES: if you liked that one you will definitely like this one)


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