A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Both the protagonists and the author love words and use sophisticated vocabulary ("petrichor," "counterintuitive," "infiltrate," "bergamot") and budding writers can learn a lot. Lots of detail about the importance of journalism and the process of creating stories and putting them in newspapers -- the technology is retro and magic-infused, but the issues are current today.
Strong messages of love, loyalty, family, friendship, integrity -- and refusal to give up. Also, lots of creative problem solving.
Positive Role Models
Desperate times call for desperate measures, like breaking into museums to steal typewriters, but it's for a good cause as Iris and Roman struggle to stay alive and together while saving their world and loved ones from destruction. Many friends come to their aid, especially Iris's musician friend Attie and her extended family, who unquestioningly take the young couple in in times of trouble. The villains, from a vengeful god to a man who just wants to stay on the right side of whoever's in power, commit murder, massacres, mind control, and other atrocities.
Women appear in strong roles -- including a goddess, war correspondents, and soldiers. Iris and Roman are White; Attie's family and other characters are Black. Women characters are married to each other.
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Violence & Scariness
Danger and possibility of betrayal is constant. A god is turning wounded soldiers into undead warriors under his control, and Roman spends a lot of time trying to avoid this fate. The same god is using monsters to drop poison bombs and destroy the countryside. He also feeds enslaved workers to his magical hounds. Killing the god is on many characters' minds, but it will be difficult and costly. A magical sword is involved and does a lot of hacking, slashing, and other damage. Characters are wounded in hails of bullets that kill others. One ends up facing a firing squad. Car chase scenes, brutal beatings, imprisonment, memory removal. Despite all that's listed here, none of it is excessively graphic or described in bloody detail.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots of romance and longing; in Roman and Iris's stolen moments amid war and apocalypse, their lovemaking is intense but not explicitly described. The long-ago marriage of two gods now at war has fateful effects. Roman's father accuses Iris, falsely, of getting pregnant and trapping his son into marriage.
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Occasional "s--t!" and "hell."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult and teen characters smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol, which takes a toll on some of them. A character mentions she's gotten useful information from people who like to get drunk and talk. In the past, Iris's mother died from drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ruthless Vows is the final book in Rebecca Ross's Letters of Enchantment duology, in which newsroom rivals and frenenemies Roman (rich) and Iris (poor) form a strong connection amid a clash of gods, thanks to magical typewriters. Newly married at the end of Book 1, they're torn apart and separated. Roman's a captive of the vengeful god who's laying waste to the world. Violence is both apocalyptic (monsters dropping bombs and poison gas) and deeply personal (shootings, stabbings, imprisonment), but it's not described too graphically or with excessive gore. The love between our two young adult heroes is strong and eloquently expressed; while they share some intensely romantic moments, the sex is implied rather than explicit. Language is limited to the occasional "s--t!" and "hell."
Is It Any Good?
Rebecca Ross' wild, emotional duology finale takes its teen journalist newlyweds, their loved ones, and their magic typewriters to a cosmic clash as they flee -- and face off against -- warring gods. There's never a moment to relax in Ruthless Vows, as appealing characters face tragedy, loss, treachery, betrayal, mind control, and more amid chase scenes, intrigue, plot twists, and surprises. Lots of great moments en route to a battered but satisfying conclusion.
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