Hi everyone! Welcome to my first post of 2021! 2020 was such a strange year and a lot of terrible things happened to so many people, so I’m gratefulthat my family made it through without too many hurdles. Here’s to hoping 2021 will be a better year for all of us. To kick off this year, I’ve got a review for Kingdom of the Wicked which I really enjoyed!
Kingdom of the Wicked
by Kerri Maniscalco
Series: Kingdom of the Wicked #1
Release date: October 27th 2020
Trigger Warnings: blood, gore, self harm for spells, loss of a loved one, grief, murder, magical compulsion
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
One brutal murder.
A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…
And an intoxicating romance.
Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.
Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…
I knew after reading the synopsis of this that I would most likely enjoy it, and I’m happy to say that I was right! I really enjoyed Maniscalco’s writing in her Stalking Jack the Ripper series even though I only read the first two books in that series, so it’s no surprise that I also liked her writing in this one as well. I’ve always said that the kind of writing I enjoy is the writing that doesn’t stick out to me as trying to be too flowery, or too simple. As long as I can fully immerse myself in the world, then the author did a good job with the writing (at least for me).
I liked the world and descriptions that we got about Emilia and her family, especially their restaurant and the way cooking and creating things is Emilia’s passion. I do think that aspect was lost a bit in the second half because it wasn’t the focus, which I was kind of sad about. I think the interactions between witches, humans, and the Wicked is interesting, but I’m hoping for more background information in the sequel. It makes sense that there’s a lot of unknowns in this first book since we’re learning things right along Emilia, but I wanted to know more! It was also a little tough to keep the image of Italy in my mind, because if you removed the few Italian words, it could easily have been set anywhere else in Europe.
As far as the characters go, I liked Emilia and I LOVED Wrath! Emilia became more and more reckless in her quest for revenge, and she didn’t always think through her actions which was a little tough. However, she is also dealing with the grief of losing her sister, so it’s understandable that she wouldn’t always be thinking things through. Wrath however, was so intriguing! There are still so many questions I have about him and his motivations, but there was just enough to make me want to root for him to succeed in whatever it was he was doing.
The romance between the two is very slow burn enemies to not quite lovers, even though it’s clear they both have feelings for one another. The added layer of Wrath being a demon who ultimately you can’t trust made it difficult for Emilia to believe if he truly loved her.
The biggest thing that I didn’t really like was that things were always so convenient for Emilia, despite terrible things happening to her. She always managed to get out of things at the last minute, and with how dangerous these things were, I expected the stakes to be a bit higher and to feel like she was truly in danger.
I’ve seen a lot of reviews mention that the reveal of who was doing all the murdering was something that they saw coming, but for me the mystery of the murders took a backseat to the relationship between Emilia and Wrath, so I wasn’t really paying too much attention to the clues that were laid out. However, once the reveal happened it was pretty obvious to me who it was.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I think I ended 2020 on a good note! I’m hoping the second book gets darker and the stakes get higher.
Have you read Kingdom of the Wicked? What were your thoughts? I’d love to chat!