By Emily A. Duncan
** Publication Date 7 April 2020 **
Nadya is a cleric from Kalyazi. Clerics are holy people who can speak to the gods. Only Nadya’s gods have stopped speaking to her lately. She is trapped in Tranavia with the young king Serefin, who is having trouble holding onto both his throne and his mind. And then there is the Black Vulture, Malachiasz. What has he done? The war between Tranavia and Kalyazi is never-ending, and the stress it is putting on these three is enormous.
Nadya needs to find a way to get the gods to speak to her again, and Serefin needs to put his mind back together. Could these two be fighting the same battle? Malachiasz seems hell bent on destruction, not mending fences. Does he want both of them dead?
Ruthless Gods is book two of the Something Dark & Holy series, following up Wicked Saints. How I wish I had come into this book having read Wicked Saints! I was rather lost in the story for the first quarter of the book. Once I got the hang of the language and the people, the rest of the novel flew by for me. In all fairness, I didn’t realize this was book two of a series until the very end, when I read the author’s notes. Oops.
So…. that being said, this is a fantasy novel like no other. It is definitely dark, very goth, very bloody. Not for the weak hearted. The magic that the Tranavians practice is blood magic, so a lot of blood and gore. Duncan’s descriptions are magnificent. The image that I conjured of the Black Vulture will haunt me. I loved the weaving of a foreign language into the text – not sure what language it is, but appeared to be something slavic. The characters are well-defined and in many ways tragic. Each one is fighting a demon of sorts, whether the gods that have taken over a mind or the gods that have fled. There is love and hate and passion and sadness.
The ending, oh the ending. No spoilers, but I am now going back to book one and cannot wait for the next to see where this story goes.