Double Book Review | Wicked Saints & Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan

 🌿 Hi, guys, I hope you’re having a beautiful day!❤️ Today I bring you a double review of both books: Wicked Saints and Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan, and I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to read an ARC of the sequel. I wanted to do this little introduction to tell you that my reviews may contain quite negative thoughts in case it’s not something you feel comfortable reading or maybe you love these books and you’re very sensitive about them, I would never want to hurt your feelings. And of course, as I always clarify, these are just my personal thoughts about books, and nothing else, I always try to express myself with a lot of respect, and I’m very glad that you’ve enjoyed these books if you’ve read them, as well as I totally understand, that otherwise, you haven’t enjoyed of them. So without further ado, I hope you enjoy the reviews and we can chat about these books in the comments! I LOVE YOU 🥰  & thanks for the support, always. 🌿 



Title: Wicked Saints

By: Emily A. Duncan

Series: Something Dark and Holy #1

Pages: 385

Published: April 2nd, 2019

By: Wednesday Books

Genre: YA | Fantasy | Romance | Magic

Buy itBook Depository




A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

| Goodreads


Book Reviews List (32)

“We’re all monsters, Nadya, some of us just hide it better than others.”

Well, obviously this book was a disappointment for me because I thought I would really love it, especially because I like the main idea a lot, cause it follows powers that come from gods and there’s an interesting background that touches on religions, but the execution of the book wasn’t successful for me. The characters are super weak in character, they lack a lot of shocking personalities, you know? as well as the world and the magic system, that although I liked the idea, it ended up being quite confusing for me.


The plot of this book focuses on three main characters whose lives will be intertwined, they’ll have to assassinate the king to stop a bloody war. We have a girl who can speak to the gods, who will try to save her people without destroying herself. A dark prince who must make the difficult decision of who to trust in & A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

As I already said, the promise is incredible to me, it’s usually something that I enjoy a lot, especially when there’s a magic system involving gods, anti-hero characters & a world based in Russia. Everything sounds too good and since I read Shadow & Bone I needed something similar in my life. BUT, it didn’t work at all, the first chapters have personality and intrigue, and they really promise something but then the plot transforms into an utterly ridiculous romance, flat characters and a confusing plot that has no clear purpose. I also felt that the conflicts were resolved too quickly and easily, especially cause we spent about 20% of the book following the characters planing a super intricate plan that was useless. In the end, I feel mostly disappointed because I expected a certain impact in such a bloody promise, that promised so much action and impactful moments and then everything fell short, and I ended up getting a little bored. In the ending things got interesting FINALLY, but I can’t just judge on a couple of good chapters when the rest of the book was “meh”

I think there are a lot of dialogues in this book, and this is not usually something that bothers me, because I love good dialogues, but when the dialogues surpass the plot events, it becomes monotonous and boring. It’s like if the characters talked all the time about what they were going to do, or what could happen, but they never moved, and I just wanted something to happen!

I’ll talk a little bit about the characters, especially since they’re the main point of why I couldn’t enjoy the book. Let’s start with our supposed “strong and rude main character” who ended up being a love interest who couldn’t make decisions: Nadya, who ended up being a fairly flat and minor character in her own story. I understand that the main female characters, in this type of plot, start being weak and then grow up and are super badass, but I couldn’t see that growth because the author honestly doesn’t focus much on her own personality, but on how Nadya feels about others, you know? especially about Malachiasz, which was like everything she could think of. I just don’t think Nadya is a good material to be a main character. Then we have Malachiasz, and at the beginning, I was like, “who are you? I’m interested!” … and then I was like “What kind of Grisha Mal is this?”, you know? Malachiasz, unlike Nadya, has the potential to be more than he was, he’s a well-thought-out character and the plot focuses a lot on him, but at the same time the romance ruined the character a little and ended up wearing him down. Besides, I never understood how his magic works, maybe that’s a “me” problem and not of the book, but I swear I don’t know what exactly he is, but his blood has a special power that gives us pretty good scenes, I’d say. And finally, we have Serefin who tries to be something like The Darkling, or so I listen, but OMG, you know that The Darkling (my husband) is EVERYTHING for me, so I tend to be a little offended when people compare him and this time I understand the comparison, BUT still, Serefin is something completely different and lacks power and presence for that. I liked Serefin, though, I think that it’s the only character of the main ones that made me want to continue reading, and although he occupies the “evil” side of all this, I don’t think that the construction of his personality makes much sense, I think it’s a boy with a lot of family problems and things in his head that he doesn’t understand yet, it’s interesting to follow him and learn more about him, but I think he was lacking in something, he needed that extra power to really see him as a great villain, you know?

We have secondary characters too, we have Kostya, Ostyia, Parijahan & Rashid, among others, and I think they’re all more interesting than the main characters lol, they also bring greater diversity to the plot, we have LGBT+ characters and also characters of color and different ethnic groups, that’s super interesting, especially if it had been explored in greater depth

About the world, I don’t have much to say, I don’t think that there’s development really, there’s an idea and I understand the concept, but it’s quite flat and lacking in many aspects, I know more about the world from what the characters themselves told, that from descriptions or for really seeing it myself. On the other hand, I don’t end by fully understanding the magic system, I understand how it works, but not where comes from or why, its connection with the gods is super interesting, this book has the rating it has and not less, thanks to this point because I found it very interesting, and I LOVE when gods are used and there’s magic involved, but I really would have loved a little more depth on the subject.

I don’t want to continue being the evilest person, but I don’t have a lot to say about the writing style, I feel that it’s slow and goes around the same things a lot, that can be quite overwhelming at times, so maybe the author just isn’t for me and it’s fine, it’s super valid.

I’m SO sorry to bring you such a negative review, it’s been a while since I felt this way about a book, but I honestly didn’t enjoy it as I would have liked, I think the idea is solid but the execution is very poor and lacking in many aspects, especially in the characters and in the romance, of which I’ll not speak about because I hated it, literally there is not a single good thing to say about that, and on the other hand, the world itself, should have had a little more description and care, so at least I could have felt like I was into such a magical place. I couldn’t recommend it myself or I wouldn’t be honest, but since we all have different opinions and tastes, then I hope you enjoy it a lot if you get to read it, I know it’s a very popular and quite loved book.


Synopsis (1)


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Title: Ruthless Gods

By: Emily A. Duncan

Series: Something Dark and Holy #2

Pages: 432

Published: April 7th, 2020

By: Wednesday Books

Genre: YA | Fantasy | Romance | Magic

Buy itBook Depository




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. 

| Goodreads


Book Reviews List (32)

Super grateful to St. Martin’s Press & NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review

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

I want to clarify before beginning that I’ve decided to continue with this sequel because I had an ARC, so I tried to give it another chance. I don’t usually do this when I didn’t really like the first book, but deep down I also had some hope that it could be done better, unfortunately, and although I’m immensely grateful that I read this before its release date, it didn’t work for me. Again, I’m seeing that this story isn’t made for me, and I must accept it.


This book and to summarize, it’s about Nadya who doesn’t trust her magic anymore. We follow, of course, Serefin that’s fighting off a voice in his head that doesn’t belong to him & Malachiasz that’s at war with who – and what – he’s become.

As you can see, I decided that the best thing was DNFed it because I wasn’t enjoying it, I was feeling too tired of the story and plot, I was really getting bored. I didn’t want to be unfair with myself nor with the book, so if this is the best option. It made no sense for me to continue reading it when I knew I had to force myself to finish it, and on the other hand, it wasn’t fair for the author’s work because I knew that my rating wouldn’t be very generous, again.

I only read about 150 pages more or less from the book, so I’ll only give my opinion on what I’ve read and nothing else. was very anxiously waiting for the plot to take a different direction a little ruthless and savage I’d say, in this sequel, but it took a turn that although it’s valid and I think that many would enjoy, it wasn’t what I expected and I ended up being quite disappointed, it’s for that, that I wasn’t interested in continuing with it. I’m quite shocked to really see how the writing style has lost a bit of that essence, that although it doesn’t work so well for me in the first book, we can’t deny the author has something special, but in this book, the writing was kind of bad and I’m very sorry to say it, but the amount of repetitions that exist in it, is unbelievable, that made it even more difficult to move through the story.

I felt that all the problems that certain characters had in the previous book, were magically solved at some point that I never saw, it’s quite confusing, I think we reached a point where the characters begin to mold on whatever the plot requires, to allow it to keep moving, that’s pretty disappointing. But on the other hand, it doesn’t surprise me so much because these people have never had strong personalities, so it’s very easy for them to come out with an unexpected situation and you’ll never really know what positions they’ll take when they have no personality. It’s very crazy.

So in summary, it’s not the right story for me and that’s fine, sometimes it happens, I’m sure that despite all the negative content of my reviews, this story will continue to have a lot of hype and a lot of love, and I’m glad that there’s a story there outside that fits perfectly with us and this surely will also have its audience. I’m sorry I don’t have much more to say, I haven’t read much to go deeper, but I can point out some positive points that I like in my books and I’ve found in this story in general, and that’s a good religious and political portrait, which really promises a lot, and an idea involving gods that has potential, also highlighted the diversity of races and sexualities. I hope you enjoy it from the bottom of my heart if you get to read it, but this story ends here for me.

Synopsis (1)




Have you heard about these books? | Would you like to read them? | What do you think about it?

🌿 Feel free to leave your comment below, I always love to know what you think 🌿

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47 thoughts on “Double Book Review | Wicked Saints & Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan

  1. We need so many more book reviews like this one! Thank you so much for writing it. I stumbled upon these books on Pinterest the other day and I was like “hmmmm, intrigued” but now you set the record straight. I MAY read them just for fun ( I sometimes like reading books with negative reviews just to see how bad they can get) but I am sure I will be left with the same impression. Characters and plot are a big deal to me too

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aw, you’re the sweetest, thank you SO much! ❤️ I had so many expectations for this story especially because it promised to be super cruel and action-packed, but it didn’t work for me at all! 😩
      Even when I didn’t enjoy it, I know it may be an unpopular opinion, so don’t worry maybe if you read it you’ll end up loving it. If you get to read it, you have to let me know, I would love to know your opinion 🥰✨

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Amazing review, hun ❤ The second book was big let down, especially because I was okay with the first one. It had its problems, but I was still able to enjoy it for what it was. Now the second one… uhh. I had no idea where the plot was going and honestly didn't care enough to try harder to understand.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Octavia! I’m so happy I’m not the only one 😅 I still feel so bad because I thought I would love it, so it ended up being super disappointing.
      I read 150 pages of the sequel because I had an ARC, so I decided to give it a try, but it’s even worse than the first one 😩

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s the worst feeling ever when a book you thought you would love ends up being a huge disappointment! I’m sorry that you didn’t like these books either, but I can’t deny that I’m happy I’m not the only one!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I need a character, especially a female character, who stands out on the page and can take action. You review (and others) let me know that this series won’t be to my taste. Books won’t be for everyone! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Sofii, and I hope your next read goes better.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m really glad you have the integrity to go ahead and speak your truth. Sometimes negative reviews are really great opportunities. For one, writers/authors can learn from them (it helps me to read what other people don’t think works). And two, it provides for great discussion among readers and writers alike.

    That said, I did not read your review for the second book because I want to be totally new to the book when I take it on. I listened to the Audible version of Wicked Saints last year. It was my first foray back to audio books. I really enjoyed the narrators. While I enjoyed the book and look forward to the sequel I have to second some of what you’ve said. When I think back (what little my memory affords me) I do think the story didn’t deliver on its intrigue in the way one might expect. There were a lot of moments and details, and yes characters, that felt like they fell short of WOW. I wasn’t wowed by the book as a whole, or the characters, but I was/am interested.

    I’ll still go forward with the second book, maybe still the audio version. Hopefully I don’t wind up frustrated. Thanks so much for sharing!!! 😀 Stay well and safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I absolutely agree & thank you SO much for your words!! I was a little scared because my intention is not to damage the sensitivity of anyone, but I’m happy to share my opinion and discuss with everyone in a respectful way. 😊
      I’m SO GLAD that you’ve tried the audiobook to go for it, I’ve heard it’s a good way to delve into the story and I’m glad it worked for you, I hope the second book resonates with you and is everything and more of what you expect.
      I would love to know your opinion & thanks to you for your comment! stay safe and I send you a lot of good energy ❤️✨

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I totally understand how you feel about Wicked Saints! I was super excited because I LOVE the Grisha trilogy and the book was hyped up as “Darklina” but then… it wasn’t. The world building was pretty much non-existent, the plot took too long to picked up and got sidetracked by the romance, and tbh, the characters are like a copy from Grisha trilogy- I even made a comparison list on my note 😬 I love similar concepts but when the execution is too similar… it’s usually ended up really pissing me off. I almost posted the list but decided against it because I thought it would be too harsh, but I guess I’m still bitter about it. It’s just… it has such a good potential, you know?

    From my observation though, I think Malachiasz supposed to be the Darkling (secondary throne, leader of a special army, live in a catheral (aka little palace), wear all black, and has a romance with a certain white haired girl with powers of her own) and Serefin supposed to be a darker version of Nikolai.

    I just started Ruthless Gods yesterday and it’s still very early to judge, but I do notice the repetition you mentioned. I understand that “blood and darkness and broken bones and cruelty” are the aesthetic of this book, but the author do repeated the words a lot to build the aesthetic instead of actually incorporate it into the world building :/

    Well, I’ll guess we’ll see how it goes with this one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I heard about the comparison, although I didn’t know was supposed to be a story like “Darklina” luckily I didn’t hear that it would have been worse for me lol. Still, it’s true that it has many similarities and I can see where your comparisons and thoughts come from, I higly respect them. I hope you enjoy Ruthless Gods more than Wicked Saints, I would love to know your opinion! ❤️✨


  6. These are very well written reviews. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy these books, Sofii. But it is true that not all books are made for every reader, and that’s perfectly fine.

    I come at these stories from a much different angle, because Nadya’s cleric abilities are based on the cleric class in Dungeons and Dragons, and cleric is my favorite class to play, so I connected easily and deeply to Nadya and what she brought to the table. I very much enjoyed both of these books and have multiple copies of each book.

    I don’t mind at all when people have differing opinions from me though, because we are all different people and enjoy different things.

    I hope the next books you pick up are more to your liking.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely!! Sometimes it happens that the story just doesn’t resonate with me and that’s fine, it makes me happy, on the other hand, that you’ve loved it and that you’ve connected with the characters, that’s always an incredible experience.
      Thank you SO much, I hope you’re enjoying your readings! ❤️❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pity that neither of these worked for you and you ended up DNFing the second one- I’ve heard such mixed things about the series, I’m uncertain over whether to check it out (I guess I think of it as “maybe someday”). It’s just a shame the execution didn’t live up to the concept, cos the concept is good! Anyway, really good review! Thanks for the heads up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The concept is really unique and amazing, but the execution of the story didn’t work for me and I still feel so sad about it! 😩 Still, I know there are a lot of people who love the books, I guess it’s a hit or miss kind of situation, I hope it’s a hit for you ❤️


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