The Merciless Ones

by Namina Forna

Part of the Gilded Series

Children's & YA Fiction

LoveReading Expert Review of The Merciless Ones

This exhilarating West African-inspired fantasy sequel is a bedazzlement of magic, sisterhood, secrets, and high-stakes battles

With an opening that couldn’t be more arresting – “Corpses. Each one female and young…They’re mounted on stakes at the mouth of the jungle” – Namina Forna's The Merciless Ones, sequel to her powerful patriarchy-confronting debut, The Gilded Ones, presents a thrilling return to the richly-evoked kingdom of Otera. 


Some six months after she freed the Gilded Ones goddesses from imprisonment in the mountains and promised to “fight for all the women of Otera”, Deka is alerted to the rise of a dark power that she and her army must quell, alongside adapting to changes in her own gifts.


Driven by Deka’s fiercely indomitable quest to save the kingdom, gender identity and sexuality are explored alongside themes of feminist empowerment - “Male and female…The mere thought unsettles us. Humans like to sever themselves according to these lines, although they are not so simply sorted…They force them to choose – male, female One or the other."


With a whole lot of snaking twists, betrayals and impossible decisions, this is YA fantasy at its most fire-cracking, and thought-provoking with it.

Joanne Owen

The Merciless Ones Synopsis

Discover the gripping sequel to Namina Forna's New York Times bestselling YA fantasy, The Gilded Ones.

Set in an ancient West African-inspired world, this series is perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and Black Panther.

It's been six months since Deka freed the goddesses in the ancient kingdom of Otera, and discovered who she really is. But war is waging across the kingdom, and the real battle has only just begun. For there is a dark force growing in Otera - a merciless power that Deka and her army must stop. Yet hidden secrets threaten to destroy everything Deka has known. And with her own gifts changing, Deka must discover if she holds the key to saving Otera or if she might be its greatest threat.

What To Read After The Merciless Ones

Felix Ever After
The Infinite
When Women Were Dragons

Namina Forna Press Reviews

The invention and the tension never flag - an outstanding second book. - Ben Aaronovitch, author of Rivers of London series

This action-packed sequel is even more thrilling than the first.-Buzzfeed - Buzzfeed

Catch up now before Forna's planned trilogy is turned into the next major movie franchise. - E! Online

This book shimmers like gold. Add it to your library shelves to dazzle voracious readers. - School Library Journal, starred review

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781474959582
Publication date: 01/06/2022
Format: Paperback

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About Namina Forna

Namina Forna was born in Sierra Leone but emigrated with her family to the US in the 1990s, during her homeland's civil war, and has been travelling back and forth ever since. She has worked as a writer and producer for film and TV in LA since graduating from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Namina was a finalist for NBC / Universal Writers on the Verge, a semi-finalist for the Sundance Screenwriting Lab and top 50 in the prestigious Nicholls Screenwriting Fellowship. Namina loves spicy food and witchy-looking cats, and has been known to wear unicorn onesies to the nearest taco ...

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