ARC review: Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy #2) by Emily A. Duncan

Expected publication: April 7th 2020 by Wednesday Books


The stunning sequel to instant New York Times bestseller, Wicked Saints!

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.

My rating:

**Many thanks to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this book**

The world they wish is broken bones and blood—always blood.

To finish this monstrous book on Friday the 13th and on full moon is a sign. A sign that this terrible, erratic, weird but beautiful book means something special to me. Three days of my life were solely dedicated to it. I was so engrossed in the story I couldn’t properly eat, sleep, or do anything normal like interacting with people. But who cares about interactions when you have the whole world unravelling at your fingertips. Gods, this book is like a corrupted memory that gets stuck in your brain, infesting every cell with its maddening force. But I was a willing victim for the second time since Wicked Saints came out and captured my mind.

What I love about this series the most is how hard it is to grasp the reality inside the story: you never, for 100%, sure what is going on, you never know who to trust, you never fully understand that terrifying world inside the book. It’s so gothic, so dark, so repelling with its bloody horrors coming off the pages, but it’s also so unique and different from so many books I’ve read before. For sure, Ruthless Gods as well as Wicked Saints is not immune to cliches and eye-rolling situations. But it’s nothing compared to the thundering of my heart in my throat because I am so terrified for the characters – of the characters and what they might do, what they might unleash. Nadya, Serefin, and Malachiasz mess up SO MUCH in this part, I can’t even express with words how terrible they are but beautiful.

It’s like Emily A. Duncan knows exactly what she is doing by creating absolutely irredeemable characters and making you care about them.
Because it doesn’t matter how monstrous Malachiasz is.
It doesn’t matter how delusional Nadya in her pursuit of holiness.
It doesn’t matter how much corruption is inside Serefin.

Jeez, I don’t even know where to start with the mess this book was. Threads of the plot and events were so messy and twisted. So much happened I still can’t understand. Don’t even get me started on that ending! I’ve noticed Emily is getting more wicked with her endings. No mercy! The stakes are higher, the world is in chaos, betrayal is in the air!

Malachiasz and Nadya are still my OTP, and I will go down with this ship, I swear! I can’t express in words how every scene, every dialogue between them hurts to the core. They care about each other so much, they don’t want to hurt each other, but they constantly do: they betray, they stab, they regret. But they can’t stop the vicious cycle because they are enemies on the opposite sides of the war. Gods, enemies to lovers is by far my favorite trope, but when you add star-crossed lovers to it, my heart is ripped out still beating and bleeding.

Serefin is my baby! I wanted to hug and take care of him. He’s gone through hell and back, literally! The horrors that were done to him, the atrocities he was made to do – Serefin will never be the same, but I want him to be happy all the same. It’s a conundrum, really, when you want a happy ending for the characters you love but deep down you understand they can’t have it. Can they? I ask you, Emily A. Duncan, how much will they suffer before they can rest?!

And the plot, which was a nightmare full of unseen terrors! I wouldn’t be able to explain the intricate web of terrible myths the author created, so terrifying but so real when you read and feel them. I love this book because it’s so confusing and dark and refreshing and because its weirdness makes it stand out from other books. I needed something so utterly dark in my life. Though I must confess that I wanted some stuff to be a little bit 18+, but I am perfectly happy to prolong the depraved dream inside my mind *turns on the hot stuff*.

This review is a far cry from coherent, structured thoughts. But I didn’t want to postpone writing it, because I wanted to catch the essence of my feelings, to re-read it later and to feel those fresh emotions rolling off of me after just finishing a book that made a lasting impression on me. It’s the magic of feeling alive when for a long time you couldn’t catch that fire with any other book.

Gods, I’ve missed that fire! And I hope book 3 will turn it into an inferno.

*For more visualizing, while reading this book, please check out author’s Pinterest board. I swear, it’s worth checking out! *shudder**


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