Ruthless (ARC review) – Like a beautiful flower


The following review is part of my being in the author’s review team, which ensures that you can read it before the book comes out (or on release day).


What? I was silent again? Well, I had a good reason: an ARC blitz, of which I am giving you the first part, with a triple decker coming likely tomorrow. For this one, it is my first review as part of Gena Showalter’s review team and it is a real honour for me to review this new book of hers!

What the book is about

Click on the cover for buying options

Ruthless

Series: Immortal Enemies, book 2

Author: Gena Showalter

Publisher: HQN Books

Date published: 9 August, 2022

Pages: 393

Synopsis:

Forbidden. Powerful. Ruthless.

Micah the Unwilling, fae King of the Forgotten, can tame even the most violent of beasts. Forged on the battlefield, this iron-willed warrior considers his soldiers his family, and he will stop at nothing to reclaim their dispossessed land. Gearing for war with a sadistic enemy, he is disciplined and focused—until a feral beauty he encountered long ago wanders into his camp.

Viori de Aoibheall wields a terrifying ability to sing monsters to life. Having spent her childhood in a forest, raising herself and her frightening creations—the only friends she’s ever known—she’s ill prepared for the scarred royal and his fearsome brutality. Not to mention the ferocity of their connection and the carnality of his touch. But the real problem? Her brother is Micah’s greatest foe. And though the sensual king makes her burn, she must stop him, whatever the cost.

His own Sleeping Beauty

Over the years, Micah has become a great warrior and a ruthless king, devoted to his people and to killing belua, monsters who have been preying on is people for centuries and caused many deaths to people dear to him. On top of it, he has been in just as long a feud with King Keysar, the Unhinged One, then with him and his queen, Cookie (whom some will have already met in Heartless, the first book of the series, at the same time as they have first met with Micah and several other characters that we see in Ruthless).

Yet he has never forgotten the Sleeping Beauty of his boyhood, a flaming haired girl that he found, sleeping on an altar surrounded by trees, and whom he had remembered for centuries.

Could she be the feral beauty who trespassed in his encampment?

Attracted to the beautiful Red, a vixen who refuses to share her secrets, the Unwilling has his work cut out for him, as she came at the most inopportune time, when the truce he had with the Unhinged Ones was coming to a close.

But can King Micah trust the Sleeping Beauty of his dreams, and tame the feral Vee? Can he win her and his war against Kaysar and Cookie?

When danger starts coming within his own encampment, all bets are off for the Unwilling One.

Monster maker extraordinaire

We briefly met Viori, Kaysar’s beloved little sister whom he lost when he got abducted by the Frostlines, in Heartless. Viori, who Kaysar has been searching for for centuries on top of plotting his revenge on the same Frostlines (I leave you to discover this story).

When I saw that the next book of the series was Viori’s story, I might have let out a very happy squeeing sound. Maybe. All right. I totally did, because I was curious to find out what happed to the little girl who didn’t talk following the death of her and her brother’s parents.

I was not disappointed. Not only do we find out what happened to her after her brother left to get some food for them, only to never return, we also learn about the reason why Viori had stopped talking when her parents died.

Living on her own, separated from her brother and from all form of contact for centuries, Viori has learned to use her great powers to create herself a new family made of all forms of natural elements: trees, water, ice, dust, rocks. A family of creatures to whom she has given life in the same fashion a mother gives life to her offspring.

What will happen to her if or when King Micah realises what she is capable of with the sole power of her voice?

Feral kitten and cat gentleman

I admit that I noticed the feral cat part with Viori, but not the “cat gentleman” part played by Micah. It took this post from Gena Showalter on her Facebook author page to make sure that I would never unsee it, and I am putting it there so that you can see it, too:

Paced like a growing flower

Don’t let the slow(ish) start fool you! Ruthless, to me, is paced like a growing flower. A beautiful and dangerous one, and I am not talking about Cookie’s vines!

Starting with the small buds of meeting both Micah and Viori and discovering the roots that are their respective pasts, the story grows in pace with every layer added to the story, until we reach a beautiful, deadly blossom that completely keeps us from closing the book until we find out what happens to all the characters.

Talking about Cookie, she is even more hilariously unhinged in this book! Sure, reading Heartless prior to this one is not mandatory, but it makes the Ruthless experience even better, “Chucky” included! The one I was happiest to see again? Amber! What a character she is! She was my favourite in Heartless, she remains so in this one, although there are two kittens that might have also stolen my heart.

My verdict

A feral, yet extremely loyal heroine, a broken hero who only wants the best for his people, the return of great characters, a story almost bigger than nature and definitely as big as Viori’s biggest creation. What’s there not to love in Ruthless? The villains, of course, and the Trolls, but seriously: nothing. I loved the book from start to finish.

Another masterful story by Gena Showalter, very worthy of

Five stars in their biggest bloom!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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