Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy: Book 2) by Emily A. Duncan

Ruthless Gods: A Novel (Something Dark and Holy Book 2) by [Duncan, Emily A.]

3 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books

Date of publication: April 7th, 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Series: Something Dark and Holy

Wicked Saints—Book 1

Ruthless Gods—Book 2

Untitled—Book 3 (expected publication date: 2021)

Where to find Ruthless Gods: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

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.


First Line:

There was a darkness.

Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan

My Review:

I was pretty excited when I saw that SMP/Wednesday Books had granted my wish for this book on NetGalley. I hadn’t expected it, though. My wishes never get granted on that site. After my excitement died down, I realized that it was the 2nd book. I was still optimistic about the book, though. Lately, I have been reading books that are 2nd or 3rd in a series, and that was stand-alone. I figured that Ruthless Gods would be the same. Oh boy, was I wrong.

Ruthless Gods had a fast-moving plotline. The author was able to keep the pace up even with the book being split into numerous POVs. That I did like, she marked who’s chapter it was. I had zero issues following along with the book that way. It also worked well with the pacing. Some storylines were left open, and characters that were mentioned but never brought up again. But, considering that this is the 2nd book in the series, I have a feeling everything will be tied together in the 3rd book.

As I mentioned above, Ruthless Gods is NOT a stand-alone book. You do need to read Wicked Saints before reading Ruthless Gods. That way, the backstories/explanation of the different countries/explanation of the religions (which is essential!!) are fully disclosed. I was lost when reading Ruthless Gods because I didn’t read Wicked Saints first.

Another source of irritation for me was the lack of understanding of the different relationships between the character. Nadya and Malachiasz, I got right away. Serefin and Kacper’s was a little muddier. Ostiya, Parijahan, and Rashid’s relationships with each other, and the central 3 was even more mysterious. That is where reading Wicked Saints would have come in handy — now saying that I was impressed with the character growth that Serefin, Nadya, and Malachiasz had throughout the book.

Ruthless Gods had to have been one of the more darker, bloodier young adult books that I have read in a while. The amount of violence was terrific. The author doesn’t even bother to build-up to the first violent scene. It was bam, there you go. Now, that didn’t bother me. I figured by reading the synopsis that it was going to be bloody and violent. But it might bother other people.

I was fascinated by a couple of things in Ruthless Gods. I was fascinated that this book was based loosely in Russia. I do wish that there was some glossary that explained the different terms used in the book. I was also fascinated by the various religions portrayed. I do wish that there was a glossary dedicated to the different saints/terms that Nadya and her fellow monks used. Again, it would have gone a long way to helping me understand everything.

The storylines were well written also. There was almost too much going on in the book at one point, but the author did a fantastic job keeping everything separate. The Nadya/Malachiasz storyline broke my heart. Serefin’s broke my heart too. I couldn’t imagine living like he did and being forced to do the things he did.

The best part of the book was the last part of the book from when Katya was introduced onwards. Everything just snowballed once the group got into that forest. I expected what Serefin and Nadya did. The whole book was leading up to those two crucial things. But, I wasn’t expecting what happened to Malachiasz. That took me completely by surprise. The epilogue was fantastic. I cannot wait to read book three because of what was promised in that epilogue.


I would give Ruthless Gods an Older Teen rating. There is no sex. There is mild language. There is violence. I would reccomend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread Ruthless Gods. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Posted by

I love to read. My favorite genres women's fiction, romance (including erotica), psychological thrillers, fantasy, and young adult. I also enjoy steampunk, dystopian, LGBTQIA, and paranormal. I am also a busy mom of 3 kids.

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