The Justice in Revenge by Ryan Van Loan – Review

Published: July 13, 2021

Publisher: Tor Books

Series: The Fall of the Gods #2

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 496 (Hardcover)

My Rating: DNF @ 55%

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Featuring boardroom intrigue, masquerade balls, gondola chases, street gangs, and shapeshifting mages, Ryan Van Loan’s The Justice in Revenge continues the Fall of the Gods series as Buc and Eld turn from pirates to politics and face the deadliest mystery of their career.

The island nation of Servenza is a land of flint and steel, sail and gearwork, of gods both Dead and sleeping. It is a society where the wealthy few rule the impoverished many.

Determined to change that, former street-rat Buc, along with Eld, the ex-soldier who has been her partner in crime-solving, have claimed seats on the board of the powerful Kanados Trading Company. Buc plans to destroy the nobility from within—which is much harder than she expected.

Stymied by boardroom politics and dodging mages at every turn, Buc and Eld find a potential patron in the Doga, ruler of Servenza. The deal: by the night of the Masquerade, unmask whoever has been attempting to assassinate the Doga, thereby earning her support in the halls of power. Blow the deadline and she’ll have them deported to opposite ends of the world.

Armed with Eld’s razor-sharp sword and Buc’s even sharper intellect, the dynamic duo hit the streets just as the shadow religious conflict between the Gods begins to break into open warfare. Those closest to Buc and Eld begin turning up with their throats slit amid rumors that a hidden mastermind is behind everything that’s going wrong in Servenza.

Facing wrathful gods, hostile nobles, and a secret enemy bent on revenge, Buc and Eld will need every trick in their arsenal to survive. Luckily, extra blades aren’t the only things Buc has hidden up her sleeves.

The first book in this series, The Sin in the Steel, was a surprisingly fun blend of Sherlock and Pirates of the Caribbean. Naturally, after such an adventurous seafaring adventure, I was expecting another round of something similar. What I got was a really big disappointment that lost the spirit the first book carried in abundance. 

This picks up about a year after the events of the first book. Buc and Eld earned their places on the board of the trading company and Buc began her plan to bring them down. Somewhere along the way after a string of successful implementations to the sugar refining process, a fire happened and Buc was deeply scarred by it. Sin, her resident brain-space occupier, is basically hiding it from her and Eld seems to know that. They also have convos without Buc knowing. Things are a bit shady. The duo are hired to find out who’s trying to assassinate the Doga (city leader) after someone spontaneously combusts near her after a failed attempt on the Doga’s life. 

There’s so much going on in this book and it does it no favors. Strife with the company board, confusing intrigue, murders, the whole mysterious factory explosion, and the growing tensions between Buc and Eld culminated into me DNFing this book at 55%. I never really got into the plot and the overall tone changed so much that I wasn’t enjoying it. I no longer liked Buc or Eld much and Buc’s impertinent charm and sharp intelligence were non-existent. The continued focus on the stagnant romantic elements was the icing on the cake. Buc and Eld spent so much time pining over one another and being jealous of others that it ultimately hurt the story. I’m all for a good angsty longing, forbidden love thing but this was kind of a let down. The vague references to things that happened between the two books was tiresome, particularly when so few nuggets of info were dropped in the hundreds of pages I did read. I even tried to pick this back up on two or three separate occasions after giving it a little break, but each time I was bogged down by the same things.

This clearly wasn’t the sequel I was expecting and it simply didn’t work for me. I greatly enjoyed the first book but I won’t be carrying on with the series after this installment due to irreconcilable differences! 

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