I’m still catching up with all my reviews of books that I’ve read recently, and this is the next book to get a full review from my list! This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019 so I had really high expectations, and while it didn’t quite meet those expectations, it was still really enjoyable!
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..
I really loved how there wasn’t a single character that was 100% bad or 100% good, they were all believable characters as no one in life is 100% anything. Combine that with the religious aspect and it makes this book and the characters so twisted! As someone who doesn’t identify with any religion, it was really interesting reading about these characters who believe so strongly in their own beliefs, sometimes almost to the point where they were fanatically religious about things.
The setting was so atmospheric and dark and I was LOVING IT. There is something about deep snows and the wilderness that is so beautiful but so deadly at the same time. I could tell how much love Duncan has for Slavic culture and it was really fun getting to read a book inspired by a culture that I don’t really know too much about.
I don’t think that there was any one character that I liked more than the other because while I loved each of them, they each made some questionable decisions and weren’t always lovable (despite me saying I loved each of them).
A few things that I wish had been included was maybe a pronunciation guide/appendix telling you what each of the words meant/how to pronounce them. As I mentioned, I’m not familiar with Slavic culture and speech and I feel like I could’ve benefited from knowing how to properly pronounce things. I feel like I was doing the culture disrespect by not knowing the correct pronunciation or meanings of words or names. Maybe that’s just me though (google translate doesn’t always help with this issue!)
I do wish that Nadya had done something more….impressive. She was built up to be this savior of her country, but then didn’t really do much of anything. She just didn’t really have much going for her once she left her monastery. I also didn’t really get the inclusion of the strange, hunger games-esqe battle of the eligible women in the country to fight to marry Serefin, since it was pretty much only there to show that their King is not a great guy and to show that Nadya can do magic. It was never addressed after that point.
The ending of the book ended up being really confusing to me (what happened with Nadya getting knocked out/kidnapped/whatever that weird section was), I didn’t understand Malachiasz’s methods or plans, and I’m still not quite sure what happened there.
I think that this book suffered from a case of too many ideas in too short of a book. That being said, I do believe that this is a debut novel and I’m interested to see where the next book in the series goes, because other than the ending I did enjoy this book quite a bit. Maybe that ending will be explained in the second book!