Title: Wicked Saints
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Release Date: April 2nd 2019
Publisher: Wednesday Books
“Prepare for a snow-frosted, blood-drenched fairy tale where the monsters steal your heart and love ends up being the nightmare.” – Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen
A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.
A prince in danger must decide who to trust.
A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.
Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.
In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.
“This book destroyed me and I adored it.”- Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval
Here is a guide to names as well: WickedSaints_PronunciationGuide
Trigger warning: this book contains blood magic. Therefore, many of the magic users in this story have to cut themselves in order to use their magic. There is a lot cutting in order to use the magic, but I want to warn people since it is a triggering topic. There is also a lot of gore. Like, it’s a good amount of gore. Think more adult fantasy level than YA level.
This book is perfect for those that loved Shadow and Bone with a little more shadow and Game of Thrones. Winter is coming is this book’s theme, and it certainly came.
This book is perhaps ultimate mood? It honestly feels like a cold winter night, but like in the best way? The thing that I love the most about books can be atmosphere and mood, and this book had it, for sure. I might have felt a bit colder in actual winter, but I loved that aspect of the book.
I have to give Duncan so so so many props on the world building. She did SO much. I mean, there is like a million saints and a million different intricacies to them and this world. I definitely couldn’t keep track of them all; however, they were complex, unique, and intriguing. You could tell how passionate and dedicated Duncan was to her world, and she continuously brought unique things. The Vultures, some of the magic systems, and other items were definitely super interesting.
Some of the plot did definitely fall into a classic fantasy setup. I definitely felt elements from other series that just were a bit tired for me. The mood and world building were so interesting, so I wanted a little more uniqueness to this aspect, too? It just fell a little bit flat to me that I got a bit bored and never really really felt a super amount of tension. However, there were some interesting parts. I really really was invested in the whole beginning part. I was definitely super fascinated, and the moment Nadya starts talking with the gods and goddesses, I was :O and ready for more. I definitely kept reading for sure, but it definitely started to slow down after a bit.
The characters were okay. Nadya was an okay main character along with Serefin. They were just…they were just okay? Same with Malachiasz. They were just kind of there? I mean, I didn’t hate them, but I wasn’t exactly invested in them. I think I wanted a lot more from than what I got. Malachiasz definitely provided to be a character with a lot of complexity, but almost too much that I got kind of confused by him? Especially toward the end. It was just a lot. I did like the side characters for Serefin and Nadya/Malachiasz’s groups.
The romance…I definitely wasn’t feeling the romance so much. I liked it in the beginning, and there was definitely chemistry. However, after some initial things, it really started dragging a bit for me. It felt like too much and we really really started to just focus on the romance aspect and like, hey, um, we have more important things to focus on??? Why so so much time on romance?? That definitely dragged the story on.
Overall, this book was okay. It definitely fit into a lot of the same YA fantasy books, but it did provide a super cool mood with some good, interesting world building. I wanted much more from it than I got, and after about a month after reading it, I’m already forgetting it. However, I can still feel the epic, gothic, wintery, monstery mood, so that is definitely still cool and definitely memorable. If you’re a fan of Shadow and Bone and want a twist of Game of Thrones, this book is definitely for you. 3 crowns and a Belle rating!
EMILY A. DUNCAN works as a youth services librarian. She received a Master’s degree in library science from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video games and dungeons and dragons. Wicked Saints is her first book. She lives in Ohio.
What do you think? Are you excited for this one? What book is ultimate mood for you? Let’s discuss in the comments below!