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This is the sequel to wicked saints set in a Russian inspired fantasy world embroiled in a war between two countries one ruled by powerful blood mages the other by Clerics in service to the gods.
Don’t start here all the storylines are a direct continuation of book one hard to describe any of the plot without spoiling
Dark moody and atmospheric, ruthless gods combines Russian and Polish folk lore with a good dollop of lovecraft the world building is excellent and the characters on there own are well drawn it’s their interactions mainly between Mal and Nadye that can sometimes come off as a bit forced and clunky like seriously how often can two characters betray each other? Mal is a fascinating character and a interesting villain and Nadye is much improved from the first book not quite as naive and a bit harder which suits someone whose patron is the goddess of Death and Magic but, but they are still stuck in the tropes of a by the numbers YA romance which in a story with great characters and interesting world building is a more then a bit disappointing especially due to the constant betrayal, lying and Mal in particular tendencies towards mass murder as well as picking really inopurtune times to make out this is a particularly toxic example of a YA romance and the weakest part of the novel it’s hard to sell two characters one as a Evil Mastermind and the other as her countries last great hope when they both keep making such a spectacular bad decisions based on a very bad case of YA instalove, at least in this book Nadye is a more active character and is at least aware of who and what Mal is so while still Ill advised it at least comes off a little less creepy then it was at times in Wicked Saints.
Serefin the other main character is suffering the consequences from the events of the last book and all three main characters in different ways finds there destinies entangled in the mystery of who and what the gods are , a solid and Improved sequel to wicked saints I just wished they had dialled down the romance a notch or at least made it a bit healthier maybe? and concentrated a bit more on the world building and mystery. The addition of other POV characters was very welcome as was the authors decision to avoid the dreaded love triangle route.
Still will definitely buy book three still a way better then average series ms Duncan can certainly write the world building is top notch as is the writing this is definitely a series I would recommend to anyone that likes a bit of a gothic vibe to there fantasy.
Emily A. Duncan has an amazing talent for laying out a gothic world. It is easy, as a reader, to quickly visualize Tranavia and Kalyazin. The horrors, that these characters face throughout Ruthless Gods, also come alive before the readers' eyes. I applaud Duncan for her world-building. I can easily imagine these war-torn places and sympathize with their struggles. All the characters feel a sense of loyalty to their homeland. They do not want their country to fall but, they also all want the war to end.
I did not enjoy Ruthless Gods as much as I enjoyed reading Wicked Saints. The first 200 hundred pages of Ruthless Gods was really good. I was really enthralled in what was going on, and I was excited to be back in this world. However, the last half of Ruthless Gods dragged on for me. I found it a bit of struggle to finish the book.
My biggest issue with Ruthless Gods was with Nadya. Nadya spends most of the book going back and forth between loving and hating Malachiasz. This is somewhat understandable with the events of the previous book. However, I felt in Ruthless Gods it was a bit overdone. I also felt this way in regards to some of the back and forth banter between Nadya and Malachiasz. While I love Malachiasz as a character, I feel his relationship with Nadya falls flat in the sequel. I feel the strength and development of their relationship isn't as strong as it could be in this book.
I was also missing the side characters even though they were all present in Ruthless Gods. I wanted more of Parijahan and definitely more of Rashid. I just felt the balance and development of the characters were off in Ruthless Gods.
Serefin's character arc was probably my favourite in Ruthless Gods. There is also a new romantic relationship for Serefin. While I definitely ship who he is being paired with, I was certainly oblivious to the signs that they liked one another.
The ending of this book was not that surprising to me. The plot and what were going on at certain times, was a bit confusing to me. I found myself having to reread certain passages.
All in all, I had high hopes for Ruthless Gods after Wicked Saints. However, the second book fell a bit flat for me. I will definitely be giving book #3 a chance when it comes out next year.