Kindle Edition Ó Ruthless Gods PDF ↠

Ruthless Gods I have been sitting on this review for weeks and am finally ready to tweak the final version Here goes.Thank you so much to Wednesday Books via NetGalley for the e ARC in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own.I read Wicked Saints as an ARC too and enjoyed the basis of the story, although found Duncan s writing style to be repetitive to the nauseatingly I need to skim point of being terrible I thought she would take that round of criticism from Wicked Saints and build a bette I have been sitting on this review for weeks and am finally ready to tweak the final version Here goes.Thank you so much to Wednesday Books via NetGalley for the e ARC in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own.I read Wicked Saints as an ARC too and enjoyed the basis of the story, although found Duncan s writing style to be repetitive to the nauseatingly I need to skim point of being terrible I thought she would take that round of criticism from Wicked Saints and build a better novel with editorial assistance in Ruthless Gods.and OH god was I wrong.If I had to read one of 5 adjectivesboy onetime I would have died She has the continent s ENTIRE future political leadership trekking across the country and all they do is continue to chase each other s tails Maybe the hunter couldn t have done much politically but can we treat Serefin like the actual king of Tranavia This entire trek could have been EPIC and all we got wasof blah blah I was betrayed blah and now I m afraid but let s kiss again and Nadya s broken record just played, and played, and played Oh yeah, Nadya thinks that she did but she really learned nothing from book 1 and she s still terrible She is changing but doesn t seem to be internalizing any of her lessons, although Kostya comes back long enough to force some true self reflection That particular dynamic was surprising and one of theinteresting ones.Duncan did do a bit of a better job showing monstrosities versus just talking about them, but again it was so repetitive I did like her take on the gods and monsters and older beings, but she could have used Nadya s broken record headspace to talkabout some of the Slavic lore she was throwing out in names and titles only That is something I d like to have read about.Serefin was my favorite character again because he is amazing, even though Duncan turned him into the token other character I really think Ostyia would have been enough in that department Serefin and his moths and his bad vision and his nonexistent brutality talk talk talk, never shown just make me happy, and I think he had the most interesting arc in this book If nothing else Duncan did use his and Malachiasz s time together to explain all of the Tranavian political hierarchy that was missing from Wicked Saints Last but not least the OneReadingNurse infamous medical rant Have you ever actually seen a pupil blow I have Someone having a stroke A blown pupil is TERRIFYING, and having someone s pupils blow open is TERRIBLE choice of phrase for someone surprised or experiencing adrenaline Not only that but I think it was used at least 3 times throughout the book and I just don t understand why an editor didn t clam this up.The ending other than the last sentence which again was a terrible word choice, but sounded cool was almost enough of a cliffhanger to make me want book 3, but I don t think the plot is enough to cancel out Duncan s writing I will be waiting for the cliffnotes version.In summary if you liked Wicked Saints, read this, if not or if you were on the fence, stay away Ruthless Gods IS marginally better but I personally can t do it for a third novel My special edition came from Owlcrate Beautiful art under dust jacket plus a pinI have no words I mean I have a few These poor broken babies We learn lots of things Go through a millionThat ending I hope for something good in next book More closer to pub date when I can quote and stuff Mel My special edition came from Owlcrate Beautiful art under dust jacket plus a pinI have no words I mean I have a few These poor broken babies We learn lots of things Go through a millionThat ending I hope for something good in next book More closer to pub date when I can quote and stuff Mel Darkness never works aloneNadya doesn t trust her magic any 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 i have no idea what kind of dark and holy sorcery i was able to conjure in order to get myself an ARC of this so early, but praise to all the wicked saints and ruthless gods alike, because wow this is EXACTLY the kind of darkness i needed to kick off my spooktober just like its predecessor, this sequel is so seductively wicked, so gothically bloody, so cruelly romantic and my black soul has never been happier although the pacing seems to be bit slower than i remember it being in the first boo i have no idea what kind of dark and holy sorcery i was able to conjure in order to get myself an ARC of this so early, but praise to all the wicked saints and ruthless gods alike, because wow this is EXACTLY the kind of darkness i needed to kick off my spooktober just like its predecessor, this sequel is so seductively wicked, so gothically bloody, so cruelly romantic and my black soul has never been happier although the pacing seems to be bit slower than i remember it being in the first book, there is so much time devoted to character development that i cant really complain serefin has become so beautifully tragic, i cant even with him and malachiasz is still just as broken and tortured as ever but everyones stories keep intertwining with each others and with the different kinds of magic and its just a sight to see my only issue keeping me from giving this 5 stars, even though i really want to, is how there seems to be a lot of jumps in the narrative there are many instances where it went from point a to point f and i had no idea how i got there its as if i had skipped over a chapter and lost out on vital information not sure if this is an ARC editing issue that will be corrected before publication i sure hope so , but i spent a lot of time trying to connect all the dots i will definitely be reading a final copy to see if the flow in narration is fixed, because i really want to give this 5 stars anyways, everyone get read for this, because its just as ruthless as the title promises a very massive and genuine thanks to wednesday books for providing an ARC4.5 stars The Gods are ruthless and friends can be just as bad This was an amazing book So much happened and I loved it all Like Wicked Saints, nothing in this book was predictable It was truly an adventure fantasy The three main characters and their sidekicks started out in the capital city of Tranavia and ended up going on an Epic Journey to the far side of Kalyazin to change life as they know it by either ending the war or freeing the Gods from whatever made them stop talking to the cleric, Nadya.T The Gods are ruthless and friends can be just as bad This was an amazing book So much happened and I loved it all Like Wicked Saints, nothing in this book was predictable It was truly an adventure fantasy The three main characters and their sidekicks started out in the capital city of Tranavia and ended up going on an Epic Journey to the far side of Kalyazin to change life as they know it by either ending the war or freeing the Gods from whatever made them stop talking to the cleric, Nadya.This book was scintillating, thrilling, intriguing and heart wrenching The world building was amazing, the characters were multi dimensional and well thought out The romances were sweet and heartbreaking all at the same time This is one of my all time favorites already It has Blood Mage s, Witches, Dark Magic, Kings, Queens, Gods and Monsters, what could be better It starts out with Malachiasz retreating to the salt mines, which is the domain of the vultures We still aren t aware of what exactly happened to him after the plan to kill the King of Tranavia didn t go as expected Nadya is at the castle with the prince Serefin and is still pretending to belong at the Travanian court, though both her and Serefin know that it is a weak explanation and watch for his detractors to figure out she is from Kalyazin and come to execute her as a traitor If that happens, it won t be long after that they come for Serefin for harboring her.The main detractor is aneta s Father, Patryk Ruminski who wants her retuned and is threatening Serefin So Serefin, Nadya, Ostyia, Kacper, Parijahan, and Rashid leave the palace to travel to the salt mines to try to talk Malachiasz into letting them bring Zaneta home to her father for the good of the country The descriptions in the book on places like the salt mine are great It makes it feel like you are thereIt never got any lighter and so she was never able to see The air tasted of iron, a metallic tinge clung to it The darkness was unbearable Things moved in the depths of the dark and she could not tell if the creatures that crouched in the corners of the labyrinthine passages and slunk in the doorways, with their rows and rows of teeth, that appeared vaguely human, were real, or if her brain was imagining themI won t give away any spoilers past the beginning of the book and what is in the blurb, but the rest of the book is just as awesome Serefin is hearing a God in his head from what happened to him at the end of Wicked Saints, Nadya is stressed because the Gods of the pantheon aren t talking to her and Malachiasz is struggling with his power and hunger forSo much happens and there are plot twists and obstacles along the way all leading to a brilliant ending Of course there will be a third book so it ends in a cliffhanger, but the book is so great I actually didn t mind Though it will be tough waiting for the next book.I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book All thoughts and opinions are my own Blog Goodreads Facebook Instagram Twitter BookBub Just f ck me up I m ready Okay, okay No I m not but go for it anyway With thanks to the author for a free copy in exchange for an honest reviewYouTube Blog Instagram Twitter Snapchat miranda.reads Just f ck me up I m ready Okay, okay No I m not but go for it anyway With thanks to the author for a free copy in exchange for an honest reviewYouTube Blog Instagram Twitter Snapchat miranda.reads Ruthless Gods, the second installment of Emily A Duncan s debut YA Fantasy trilogy, Something Dark and Holy, continues to bring the dark atmosphere I cherish.Significantly darker than your average YA Fantasy, this second book especially, toed the line of Horror and I m here for it.Our three main characters, Nadya, Serefin and Malachiasz, return and, y all, they go through it.This world is hella brutal The magic and the landscape, it seems everything is out to get them maybe even each other.I Ruthless Gods, the second installment of Emily A Duncan s debut YA Fantasy trilogy, Something Dark and Holy, continues to bring the dark atmosphere I cherish.Significantly darker than your average YA Fantasy, this second book especially, toed the line of Horror and I m here for it.Our three main characters, Nadya, Serefin and Malachiasz, return and, y all, they go through it.This world is hella brutal The magic and the landscape, it seems everything is out to get them maybe even each other.I enjoyed the character growth in this sequel, as each protagonist is faced with their own private battles As they continue to grow closer, outside forces are simultaneously tearing them apart.Each is battling their own demons, causing conflict amongst them Meddlesome Gods play them like pawns in a game The intensity is constant.This was definitely an action packed ride I ll admit, I wish I would have taken the time to go back and review the first novel, particularly the ending, prior to picking this one up.Up to around the 50% point of this book, I was confused I was enjoying it, but it was a confused enjoyment.My plan is to reread the first two books prior to the release of the third I absolutely will be following through with this until its, no doubt, brutal conclusion.I love this world Based on an Eastern European culture and landscape, I find that the aspects of terrain and local folklore and legends, really add to my overall enjoyment of the story.If you are a fan of Grimdark Fantasy, Blood Magic and Gods who manipulate the worlds around them, then you should definitely pick this series up Thank you so much to the publisher, Wednesday Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review I appreciate it so much Ruthless Gods is out today Don t forget to check out the book if you haven t done it yet Happy reading And just because I love this book, here s some art made by yours trulyMany thanks to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this bookActual rating 4.5 stars 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 Ruthless Gods is out today Don t forget to check out the book if you haven t done it yet Happy reading And just because I love this book, here s some art made by yours trulyMany thanks to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this bookActual rating 4.5 stars 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 YOU JUST SIMPLY CARE BECAUSE THEY ARE THE BEST DAMAGED CHARACTERS YOU WANT TO SAVE.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 gettingwicked 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 infernoForvisualizing, while reading this book, please check out author s Pinterest board I swear, it s worth checking out shudder Expected publication April 7th 2020 by Wednesday MacmillanOriginal review How to be ruined by a book in three days Start a book you don t expect anything from Read a little bit and feel sure that NOTHING WILL TOUCH YOU IN THIS STORY Then sometime later realize you are actually enjoying it Go from mildly interested into full fangirl mode I DON T UNDERSTAND WHAT S GOING ON BUT I LOVE IT OMG, WHAT S GOING ON CALL FOR HELP, PLEASE, I DON T KNOW HOW TO COPE WITH IT WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED AND WHO DO I NEED TO KILL TO GET MY HANDS ON BOOK 2 I AM DEAD, AM I NOT OH LOOK, WHAT DO I SEE THERE I BELIEVE IT S CALLED A SEVERE CASE OF HANGOVER APPROACHING RAPIDLY WHAT HAVE I SIGNED MYSELF FOR crawls into the darkest corner of the world to suffer 4.75 5This book s mood song match Gods and Monsters by Jessica Lange Full review on my Blog The Dacian She Wolf Oh, m dudes.I hope you brought some torches with you for this one because it s about to get dark.Correction darker.I stated in my previous review, Wicked Saints, that while reading this book I got the exact same uncomfortable sensation I had as a child while entering my old childhood Orthodox church The incense was strong, the saints were looking down at you from the walls a 4.75 5This book s mood song match Gods and Monsters by Jessica Lange Full review on my Blog The Dacian She Wolf Oh, m dudes.I hope you brought some torches with you for this one because it s about to get dark.Correction darker.I stated in my previous review, Wicked Saints, that while reading this book I got the exact same uncomfortable sensation I had as a child while entering my old childhood Orthodox church The incense was strong, the saints were looking down at you from the walls and the ceiling and countless old ladies were gawking at you because you forgot to do some ritualistic stuff before other ritualistic stuff like the miscreant you are.There is something poking you in the ribs while reading this book, something that feels unsettling But this aspect just adds to the great deal thatRuthless Godsis No mistake here.It s goth and cold and me likes it veryYou danced at the edge of darkness and light and you fell The atmosphere is the most incredible thing of this sequel No matter that you happen to sit on top of your comfy bed with a cup of herbal tea in your hand while reading this, if there is a scene in a dark forest in the middle of the night where mythical creatures lurk in the shadow and look at you with hunger, you ll be right there with them and you re going to freeze your heart off because of the fright.For me it s been this way Or like I m being trapped in a heavy metal music video Either work equally fine.SCARY SHIT.Ruthless Gods is a total chaos But in a good way.It s full of darkness, gore, betrayal and lies Oh, and moths And lots and lots of bleeding eyes And nightmarish creatures from the deepest and darkest wells of Slavic folkloric minds.The leitmotif of the book or at least one of them seems to be the eye There are eyes everywhere They appear everywhere and on everything And in any circumstances Their presence symbolises the unsettling feeling of being watched Constantly Disturbingly You are not alone You are never alone.Big Brother style, but creepier.The existence of older, darker fallen gods shows how much deeper the digging site of the Slavic mythology goes These ancient creatures are so old that they are a bitthan completely forgottenWhat if the gods you worship aren t gods at all Nadya and Malachiasz s relationship is definitely still odd and a bit unhealthy by the beginning of the book but towards the end it just becomes less odd and somehow starts to function mainly because they start to admit certain feelingsCan you love someone and ask them to shatter themselves for you Even though Malachiasz is a total walking and talking antithesis, he has certain moments when he s so sweet and gentle and loving you ll just melt with affection I loved that Malachiasz and I was constantly looking forward to encountering his cute momentsBut the exhausted boy with the devastating grin who only wanted the girl he cared about close so he could sleep through the night One last thing I want to highlight is that there are new characters entering scene and also some old characters gain importance And this seems somehow to change a bit the game.What the hell, man This book is good And it shows you things if you really open your mind to see them.So just go, go, go for itCan you love a god No, such things were impossibleBook inspired It is difficult to know how to begin a Goodreads review of a book when its author so regularly takes to Twitter to decry her Goodreads reviewers One gains the impression that one s review of this book, and of its predecessor Wicked Saints, is less an honest opinion provided for an audience of potential readers than some sort of opening argument directed to an audience of one I find myself selecting my phrases not based on how helpful or informational they might be to you, the Goodreads user, b It is difficult to know how to begin a Goodreads review of a book when its author so regularly takes to Twitter to decry her Goodreads reviewers One gains the impression that one s review of this book, and of its predecessor Wicked Saints, is less an honest opinion provided for an audience of potential readers than some sort of opening argument directed to an audience of one I find myself selecting my phrases not based on how helpful or informational they might be to you, the Goodreads user, but on how likely the author is to take them as a personal attack, or to seize upon them as the reason this review and any other negative ones she happens to come across can and must be dismissed out of hand.I will admit that I find this sensation unpleasant For obvious reasons, it feels as if this behavior by the author creates a sort of chilling effect towards any attempt to review her books at all I wouldn t like to speculate that this is the author s intent intent is, of course, not magic, and often entirely unrelated to its effects When I was learning to write, my workshops had a rule consistent across institutions and skill levels the writer would be forbidden from giving counter feedback, personal opinions, or further information until the critique session was done I am skeptical that, were I in writing lessons with this author, she would remain capable of adhering to this rule Then again I find myself suspecting that this is not the only reason being in writing lessons with this author might prove a disagreeable experience.This said, I promise that this is not a review of the author s Twitter behavior I am not interested in recounting the author s attitude and behavior towards her reviewers, her fellow YA authors, or her own writing, except insofar that that attitude and behavior reflects upon the quality of this book.I read the previous book in this series twice the first time out of casual interest, and the second time because I had retained nothing of the plot and characters and assumed a second read through would make the bookmemorable for me It did not Reading Wicked Saints gave me the strange sensation of eating plain cotton candy it dissolved instantly, and left an unpleasant graininess behind Armed and prepared for my ARC of Ruthless Gods with a large stack of Post Its, color coded specifically so I could note how many times the author used the phrase onyx eyes , I embarked on the sequel Prose The answer, for the record, is ten.I d like to take the opportunity to quote a few of these, and then to quote a fewsentences I marked with Awk or It s difficult to fully describe how jolting, ungraceful, and unappealing Ruthless Gods is to read on a purely textual level I ll attempt to show you, with spoiler cuts for length view spoiler His onyx eyes skimmed over her as she desperately avoided meeting them His onyx eyes flicked over the symbols on the beads, a slight frown tugging at his mouth Blood leaked out of the corner of his eye and when he opened them they were onyx black He took one step closer to her Blinked onyx eyes so many of them, sliding across his features in a way that made her stomach turn hide spoiler And some of the non onyx related sentences view spoiler If Kacper or Ostyia were here, they would sooner put a blade to his throat than let him deal in uncertain magic Except, his voices of reason weren t here Serefin frowned What if I can t he mused quietly The room was dark and she killed the instinct to reach for her prayer beads for a light spell She had a candle in her pocket from some midnight wanderings Serefin need never know about so she lit that His voice was low and soft and so very Malachiasz, yet threaded with chaos as it slipped quietly through the back of her head The beautiful, infuriating nightmare of a girl he couldn t keep away from even as each twist of her string around his finger drove a dagger deeper into his heart Post It annotation This metaphor is a Rube Goldberg machine The snow had turned to sleet and it struck her skin in thousands of cold slaps Nadya fainted Nadya let ywia drag her through the halls, too dark for Nadya to ever escape The drumbeat growing quieter was all too loud hide spoiler It is so off putting to read these sentences that it became difficult to finish the book What s , the prose was not merely ugly and overfond of onyx but flawed in clich d, obvious ways that nearly every up and coming author has heard routinely mocked by her peers For example, the author uses the word suddenly forty one times in this book, and the word somehow twenty one It s certainly okay to use the word suddenly to describe that something has happened suddenly What is famously less okay is using the words suddenly and somehow to avoid description, or to avoid explaining how or why something occurred Unfortunately, nearly every one of the occurrences of these words falls into the second usage again, below the cut view spoiler She backed away from the power that suddenly was too strong, too much, too evil Why did the power increase so quickly The author does not provide an answer She was suddenly too close, her fingers clutching at his chin Did she walk or run towards him, or appear inexplicably next to him The author does not provide an answer Nadya sighed She sat down on the bed, suddenly exhausted What exhausted her so quickly, aside from the author s need for her to be tired The shadows were slowly chased away as he lit hundreds of candles throughout the room Somehow Nadya knew what she was going to see when the darkness finally receded How did she gain that information, aside from the author placing it in her brain This was a very bad idea, she suddenly decided Why did she make that decision Maybe Malachiasz was lying Except somehow she knew he wasn t How did she gain that information Magic churned around her in a storm until suddenly she broke through whatever had caught her in its loop suddenly allowed and her fingers grasped Malachiasz s arm How did she manage to break through What were the causes and effects of this event Maybe it was just him and his eyesight, now somehow better and worse than before, but he knew that wasn t it In what ways was it better and in what ways was it worse What could he see and not see differently What was it like to experience this hide spoiler Please don t misunderstand me I understand that information is often implied by prose, instead of explicitly stated In this case, however, I do not believe information is implied by these sentences, because I do not believe such information exists There is nothing in the text to indicate the author knows the answers to any of the questions I have asked.Why is it important that the author know this information, some of which appears very minor Because it s important that the world and characters that an author creates exist not only on the page, but in her imagination I ll discuss at length later in this review how comprehensively Ms Duncan fails at this task, but for now, understand that with her jarring lack of cause and effect, description, detail, and internal logic, she actively chips away at her own believability and she does so sixty two times using these words alone.It s also worth noting that the sentence The blood drained from her face occurs five times in this book.It seems to me that many of the problems I have just discussed could have been easily caught and fixed by an editor at any stage of publication It took me, an amateur reading for fun in my spare time, roughly an hour to find and list them There are two possibilities firstly, that no editor decided to use one hour of their workday to improve this book s writing and secondly, that this is in fact what the book looks like after hours of careful editing Both possibilities alarm me Characters, Dialogue, and Voice There s not much to say about the voices in this novel aside from that they re wildly inconsistent in tone and diction, adding to the general unpleasantness of the reading experience Every line of dialogue veers wildly between casual Internet voiced banter and ominous purple prose voiced angst, usually in the same sentence The worst offender in this is the character of Pelageya, an ancient witch who is Baghra from the Grisha trilogy and shows up several times to give our heroes plot relevant information and then vanish immediately At one point she says, Not what I expected But you are One half of my delightfully bloodthirsty and pathetically delusional blood mage pair , which soundslike Cheryl Blossom than a witch from the dawn of time she then says immediately, A boy born in a gilded hall and a boy born in darkness Bred in bitterness and bred in lies , which soundslike a voiceover from a movie trailer than a witch from the dawn of time Also worthy of note is the being who appears to provide the following lines of dialogue The being snapped his fingers Right, right, right So little your kind sees So little they know Like children, staggering through the world This is what I mean about the tonal whiplash I m not sure whether I m listening to Yoda or Biff from Back to the Future It would, I should note, be interesting to read a character in whom these voices are deliberately, thoughtfully blended These are not such characters Their seesawing dialogue is evidence not of an artistic choice but of a lack thereof the author is plainly not attempting to create a voice for them at all, either because voice is not in her toolbox or because she simply does not wish to put in the effort Again, neither possibility provides a good impression.The at times dramatic, at times quippy, never given character tone of the dialogue and monologues in this book reminds me of nothingand I apologize for the specificity of the analogy than playing Dungeons Dragons with someone who is not very good at playing Dungeons Dragons There is a particular type of roleplayer or improv theatre participant, or co writer, or any sort of similar role that you can think of whose main goal in every scene is to get the last word They tend to give long, flowery speeches, and to conclude them with sharp, superior insults They are then shocked when their friends, instead of simply being impressed into silence by their cleverness, choose to respond If these players are willing to learn, it takes them many months to treat scenes as opportunities to tell stories, as opposed to opportunities to look cool If these players are unwilling to learn, they eventually become convinced that all their former friends now despise them because they are just too good at Dungeons Dragons This is half true.Every scene in Ruthless Gods feels like playing Dungeons and Dragons with a person whose main goal is to get the last word The exception is that on the page the author can, in fact, force her characters into impressed silence when someone says something cool This does a great deal to highlight each line whose role is to sound cool, and very little to make the characters and scenes lifelike or believable.Midway through this book, our heroine briefly acquires what may or may not be a rival to her love interest, a childhood friend named Kostya I say may or may not because, while Kostya is a childhood friend of Nadya s and that he has feelings for her, there is no suggestion that Nadya will legitimately end up with Kostya or that they will remain friends at the end of the trilogy We met Kostya very briefly in Wicked Saints, where he and Nadya interacted for a chapter or two before being separated For this reason, the fact that Nadya apparently likes and cares for him must be taken on blind faith She certainly does not seem to much like or care for him in Ruthless Gods, where he is present mostly to threaten to separate her and Maliachasz, and to show the reader that fantasy Russians are overly rigid and dogmatic Neither of these are particularly likable roles for a character to take on, and it is plain that Nadya and the author greatly dislike him for occupying both.Meanwhile, Maliachasz is our designated love interest Nadya fell in love with him in the last book, and spends an extraordinary percentage of this book scolding herself inwardly for having pleasant thoughts about him Some descriptions of Maliachasz by Nadya below the cut view spoiler Why should she hope for the boy who had betrayed her so completely What a fate for the boy who had won her heart with such ardent loyalty toward his friends The pieces of the boy she loved were only that, scattered pieces The boy she should not love But Nadya could only think of the boy leaning against a boat railing beside her, long hair caught by the breeze, joking how he had never had anyone in his life who cared enough to worry about him Revealing behind his flippant guise how desperately lonely he was Her splintered heart would not let her abandon that boy His voice cracked over the single word, a lost boy, bewildered in the dark until he was pulled back under No claws No iron teeth No spikes of metal jutting from his flesh Just a teenage boy, arms wrapped around his body emphasizing how rail thin he was The shield of the anxious teenage boy was too easily fractured by the monster out of his control She was seeing the boy who liked puzzles, not the Black Vulture It wouldn t last Panic was causing his features to shift swiftly and chaotically to the point where it looked painful, until it tapered down, disappearing, and all that stood before her was a lanky teenage boy, broken and lost hide spoiler I have met a great number of teenage boys in my life, most of them when I myself was a teenager, and even had crushes on some of them I never found anything particularly charming, sad, or pitiable about the fact that they were boys most boys are It s a common trait among that demographic Nadya evidently feels differently, which is certainly her right.Review continued below


About the Author: Emily A. Duncan

Emily A Duncan was born and raised in Ohio and works as a youth services librarian She received a Master s degree in library science from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through interlibrary loan systems When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video games and dungeons and dragons She is represented by Thao Le of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency Review Rating Policy I am a creature of many strong wills and book opinions so I only rate books Ideeplyadore Everything else is just marked as read.


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