Today’s an exciting day for me because I had the opportunity to read and review an early copy of one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. Today, I’ll be finally be sharing my book review for Wicked Saints.
“Were all monsters… Some of us just hide it better than others.”
“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
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.
Wicked Saints happens to be a deliciously dark and fantastical read for fans of The Cruel Prince and The Grisha series with a primary focus on these ships: Alarkling/Darklina and Cardan x Jude (I still don’t know what their ship name is). If you liked everything I just said, then this book is (probably) for you!
If you have been following me since the beginning, you know that I hardcore ship Alarkling. I mostly liked the power-play between Alina and the Darkling. Because of this, I’ve been looking for other young adult books with this type of aesthetic. Fortunately, Wicked Saints ticked the box for this requirement.
The world-building and magic system was rich and easy to understand. I found myself swept away by the story since the author immediately threw in some action at the beginning of the story. Characters were at war and readers get POVs from two characters in opposing sides. One of them is Nadya (and she reminded me so much of Alina Starkov) and the other is my problematic fave, Serefin. I liked Serefin because later on you realize that there really is more to his character than meets the eye. I know, it can sound cliché but he’s not just a good-looking & slightly evil but charming prince. It will make sense when you read the book!
I liked how religion, magic, and politics entwined in Wicked Saints. Nadya (Kalyazi) and her prayer beads (kind of like a rosary) vs. Tranavian’s blood magic. The Kalyazis and Tranavians were at war because of their differing beliefs. Additionally, the
“volcras” or “vultures” (in this book) had some sort of political system that had been interesting to read about, albeit it was told in a “telling” (instead of “showing”) fashion. The only crucial information missing was about the gods/saints because I still have my doubts about Nadya’s magic and her connection to them.
The heroine, Nadya, was raised at a convent and has a narrow-minded view of the world. She reminded me of the qualities I like and disliked about Alina Starkov. For instance, she can seem passive. Nadya either follows the gods or people around her. It actually took 85% (Kindle app) for it to be obvious that Nadya is finally making decisions for herself.
Her views/beliefs tends to waver, and so it was unclear what she wanted to do or what her motivations (and plans) were going to be especially by the end of the novel. This book was “kind of” a heist story that ended up being a story about self-discovery especially for its three main characters.
Malachiasz also happens to be one of the main characters but we don’t get a POV from him. Note that I don’t have “advanced” photoshop skills so we’ll have to settle for this. Count me in for fan-casting some characters. I had Cody Fern in mind!
Unfortunately, there was a character in this book that went through a confusing and constant personality change. Even after finishing this book, I still felt like I didn’t know this character. I felt that the change in personality was sudden, not exactly character development. This was needed to forward the plot and to influence the decisions of certain characters. And like The Cruel Prince, I wasn’t exactly a fan of the romance in Wicked Saints either. I just didn’t feel the tension nor the chemistry between two certain characters (just my opinion). Still, I am curious about what the author has in mind for her series.
Finally, some trigger warnings in this book: self-harm, alcoholism, abuse, neglect, and violent imageries often with blood (just to name a few).