The Merciless Ones

The Merciless Ones
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Release Date
May 31, 2022
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Fans of The Gilded Ones and Children of Blood and Bone will love the second book in an epic fantasy series about a girl who is the key to saving the empire--or its greatest threat.

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.

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The Gilded Ones Pt. 2
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THE MERCILESS ONES by Namina Forna is the much-anticipated sequel to the NYT Bestseller, THE GILDED ONES. Deka begins this book in a very different position than the last. She is the honored Nuru, daughter to the Goddesses, and her mission is simple; liberate all the women in Otera and bring her mothers back to power. In order to do that, though, she must take down Elder Kadiri, one of her biggest foes who likes to bleed out young girls publicly for sport. However, when Deka has her chance at revenge, she discovers things aren’t quite what they seem, and in order to figure out what to do next, she’ll have to get to the bottom of what’s really going on.

What this book does expertly is take a lot of political and human issues we are facing in the current world and weave them into the book’s plot, so the audience can interact with them in a new way. It’s effective because it reinforces and challenges viewpoints by making them seemingly fictional, and therefore, removing the emotional attachment, so readers can place themselves in the character’s shoes. This indirect social commentary is a convention of this genre, but sometimes it can be so light-handed the audience misses the correlations. That shouldn’t happen with this book.

Unlike the debut novel, THE MERCILESS ONES is a much slower read that took me weeks to get through. In this, Deka is on a journey of self-discovery and truth, and while there is action, this sequel is not a page-turner. It’s contemplative and exploratory, which is reflective of both the themes and topics the author explores, but also of Deka’s state of mind. That being said, there are still plenty of surprises, plot twists, and unexpected developments that unfold slowly, building up to the final scene, which is perhaps, the most shocking.

THE MERCILESS ONES is not only a satisfying sequel but also a great meditation on the real world, particularly in regards to those who wield power. In many ways, it may not be the exact book we were expecting, but it’s the one we needed right now, and it’s laid a solid foundation for an explosive third novel. I’m excited to see where Forna takes Deka next.
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