The Merciless Ones by Namina Forna

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher! Thanks! All opinions my own.

Book: The Merciless Ones

Author: Namina Forna

Book Series: Deathless Book 2

Rating: 4/5

Diversity: Black main character and MC, trans and non-binary characters, gay characters, lesbian characters, bisexual characters, mobility aid character

Recommended For…: young adult readers, fantasy, feminism

Publication Date: May 31, 2022

Genre: YA Fantasy

Age Relevance: 16+ (Racism, Death, Gore, Violence, Religion, Religious Trauma, Romance, Sexual Assault, Rape, Xenophobia, Abuse, Misogyny, PTSD, toxic masculinity, torture, homophobia, abelism, grief, anxiety attacks, panic attacks)

Explanation of Above: There are themes of racism, colorism, xenophobia, homophobia, abelism, and misogyny mentioned and shown in this book and it’s a theme of the series on overcoming those institutions. There is a lot of death and gore, including lots of blood, and violence with weapons. There is some romance in this book. Religion and religious trauma are mentioned and shown throughout the read. Sexual assault and rape are mentioned in the book. Abuse, PTSD, and toxic masculinity are also mentioned and shown in this book. There are showings of the MC having anxiety and panic attacks. There is some torture shown in the book. There is also grief shown in the book.

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pages: 432

Synopsis: It’s been six months since Deka has freed the goddesses and discovered who she really is. There are now wars waging across the kingdom. Otereans now think jatu are traitors to the nation. Deka is called a monster.

But the real battle has only just begun and Deka must lead the charge. Deka is tasked with freeing the rest of the goddesses. Only as she begins to free them, she begins to see a strange symbol everywhere in places of worship and worn on armor. There’s something unnatural about that symbol; just looking at it makes Deka lose her senses. Even worse, it seems to repel her powers. She can’t command or communicate with the new deathshrieks. In fact, she can’t even understand them when they speak.

Deka knows freeing the goddesses is just the beginning. She can tell whatever dark force out is powerful and there is something sinister out there threatening the kingdom connected to that symbol–something merciless–that her army will need to stop before humanity crumbles. But Deka’s powers are only getting stronger…and her strongest weapon could be herself.

Review: For the most part I liked this book. It was a good sequel to the first one and the action picked up immediately where we left off in the first book. Overall, I loved the feel of it and the book makes me want to reread them both immediately after finishing them. I also enjoyed the discussion about gender identity and sexuality. There’s also so much representation in this book! The character development was good, the world building was well done, and overall I enjoyed this book.

However, I did have a few issues with the read. The book immediately jumped into the plot of this book and it took me a hot second to remember what all was going on. The book had a lot of romance in it and there were so many people who were just paired off immediately. It was quick and wasn’t well developed in my opinion. The pacing was also a mess. It was incredibly fast paced the entire time and it was hard to keep up in some spots. While I liked the book, I just wanted it to be a bit more slowed down and have some more detail.

Verdict: It was good, just a bit too fast for me.