Posts By: Rashika

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Gritty Characters: Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

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Gritty Characters: Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
Wicked Saints
Emily A. Duncan
Series: Something Dark and Holy #1
Genre: Fantasy, Gothic, YA
Publication date: April 2nd, 2019
by Wednesday Books

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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..
 
-A copy was provided by Wednesday Books for review-

CW: Self-harm and manipulative romantic relationship

I was told Wicked Saints would destroy me but I still didn’t realize what that would mean until I read the last couple pages of this book. If you enjoy happiness at all, you will stay far away from this book. If you love gritty characters, none of whom are particularly good (and some who might just be PLAIN EVIL), you will love Wicked Saints.

Right off the bat, we are pushed into the middle of a war with an opening scene where one of our MCs has to watch as many people important to her are murdered. So no, there are no rainbows and puppies in this book. Honestly though, having such a powerful scene was helpful to me because I’ve been struggling a lot with fantasy and this allowed me to get into the book right away rather than sitting around for a quarter of the book until I finally figured out what was going on.

The world of Wicked Saints immediately sucked me in and I was fascinated with how Duncan incorporated religion into her world. Part of me was reluctant going in because I am vary of how religion in used in books but any doubts I had were washed away very early on. Not only is the religion in this world unique and fascinating, it was also depicted realistically?? The discussions about religion that happen throughout the book are so well-rounded and I love that even if the characters themselves stand firm in their beliefs, Duncan still manages to make the readers understand the complexities of this world and of the religion in this world.

SPEAKING OF THE CHARACTERS, omg. Serefin, Nadya and Malachiasz. Serefin is our residential day drunk, self-deprecating, charming prince… who also just happens to be one of the most powerful blood mages in Travania. Nadya is our naive little, all powerful child who can commune with the gods and also might have the ability to stop the war SINGLE HANDEDLY. AND Malachiasz is a turd. I mean, not really but I also have strong feelings.

Honestly, part of why this book isn’t a five star read for me is that I felt somewhat mislead by Malaschiasz?? He is a villain but he is also incredibly soft. When I finished the book I had no idea what was real and what wasn’t real and while a lot of people love that, to me, it felt kind of the same way poorly written red herrings do in mystery novels.

Another part was that from 38% to 75%, there was a BIG LULL. Things were happening but they weren’t particularly enticing and that is a LONG period for me to not be truly invested in what is happening.

But shit did hit the fan and it hit the fan HARD. A lot of theories about magic and gods came to the surface, an assassination plot was finally in place and all the good stuff. The last 22% truly packed a punch and made me fall in love with this world and the characters all over again.

I have so many theories and so many questions and I am genuinely so excited to see everything play out in the sequels. I want to see the evolving friendships and relationships, I want my baby Serfin to be happy, and high key, I kind of want to see the Gods be taken down (sorry, Nadya!!!!) What I truly want is the next book in my hands, right now. If you enjoy being miserable, please read Wicked Saints and come join the rest of us in our misery.

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

2019 Books with Heists and Thieves

2019 Books with Heists and Thieves

Posted by on 04/05/2019 • 1 Comment

If you don’t live under a rock, you’ve probably noticed that there have been a surge in books about heists and thieves this year. As someone who is always on the lookout for a book about some good old fashioned thieving, I thought I’d make a list for anyone else who loves heists as much as me and missed any of these books. 

Note: this list includes two books that came out December 2018 (WHICH COUNTS, IMHO) as well as a book I didn’t personally love but that shouldn’t stop other people from loving it.

1. Death Prefers Blondes by Caleb Roehrig 

Kickboxing drag queens performing heists? HELL TO THE FUCKING YEAH. 

2. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

ITS SET IN PARIS in 1889. ’tis enough. Also…

Atmospheric With Well-Written Characters: The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

Atmospheric With Well-Written Characters: The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

Posted by on 04/04/2019 • 1 Comment

The Devouring Gray is a book that requires patience. There is no getting around it. It’s slow, and for the first quarter of the book I could not tell you what the fuck was going on except that the kids were sad, felt betrayed, maybe were trying to take each other down, it was a mess. I stuck with it though because my friends loved it and it turned out to be absolutely worth it.

Violet is new in town, Justin and Harper used to be bffs but Justin betrayed Harper, Issac is a soft boy with a world of hurt inside him. Together, the four of them make up the new generation of the founding families of the Four Paths and are sworn to protect the town from the…

The Beginning of An Exciting Family Saga: The Takeover Effect by Nisha Sharma

The Beginning of An Exciting Family Saga: The Takeover Effect by Nisha Sharma

Posted by on 03/26/2019 • 0 Comments

I absolutely adored My So-Called Bollywood Life when I read it last year so when I found out that Nisha Sharma was writing another book, specifically an adult romance, I was all aboard. When I found out the series would follow a wealthy Sikh Punjabi-American family, I WAS EVEN MORE EXCITED (which I didn’t know was possible but whatever.)

The Takeover Effect is a quick read. The pages just sort of fly by. That said, it did take me more than half the book to actually be invested in the characters and the plot. I don’t know if I can even point out a specific reason why this was but I didn’t really click with the book until shit hit the fan.

And when shit hit the fan, IT HIT…

An Emotional Rollercoaster: Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

An Emotional Rollercoaster: Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

Posted by on 03/22/2019 • 0 Comments

Rick Riordan Presents is probably the only imprint I can say I want to read EVERY SINGLE BOOK FROM. I saw the synopsis mentioned a raw chicken inside a locker and was immediately sold. I WANTED IT and I READ IT and YEAH. I am not really sure if Sal and Gabi Break the Universe has mythology vibes??? But what I can say is that it is truly a work of art.

There is a good chance I’ve said that about another book or two before but I don’t know how else to describe how truly well written this book is. Carlos Hernandez knows how to pace a book, he knows how to pull at your emotions and he knows just how to crack and build tension. There were so many…

Matriarchal Society Gone Corrupt: Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera

Matriarchal Society Gone Corrupt: Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera

Posted by on 03/20/2019 • 1 Comment

I honestly didn’t know that Lilliam Rivera had a new book coming out until earlier this year which just shows you where publishing’s priorities are in terms of marketing. In my eagerness to read anything Rivera writes, I actually forgot to read the summary and it wasn’t until a while later that I realized Dealing in Dreams was a proper dystopian novel. If you read my review for We Set the Dark on Fire, you will know I don’t do dystopia anymore but given that I’ve technically now read two dystopian novels for the first time in literal years, I THINK IT’S SAFE TO SAY I am doing dystopia again. BUT, to be clear, I am only doing dystopia written by POC.

Dealing in Dreams starts off super slow….

Three Pride & Prejudice Retellings You Cannot Miss in 2019

Three Pride & Prejudice Retellings You Cannot Miss in 2019

Posted by on 03/18/2019 • 6 Comments

1. Unmarriageable by Sonia Kamal

Pride and Prejudice set in modern-day Pakistan.

2. Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev

Gender-flipped P&P retelling that follows an Indian-American family descended from royalty. Set in San Francisco. 

3. Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

P&P set in Toronto! Follows the adventures of a large, boisterous Muslim family.

Bonus Emma Retelling: Polite Society by Mahesh Rao

Emma, with a touch of Crazy Rich Asians, set in Delhi. 

Content Warnings: the What and the Why

Content Warnings: the What and the Why

Posted by on 03/13/2019 • 1 Comment

After getting into an argument on Twitter, I came to the realization that the purpose and definition of content warnings isn’t as widely known as I previously thought. I’ve always felt that content warnings are necessary and to have them be perceived as shameful was incredibly frustrating. I decided to channel my frustration into a (hopefully) helpful post that breaks down what they are, what they do and why they are so incredibly important. 

What Are Content Warnings

As the term implies, they are warnings that precede content. To be more specific, content that might be sensitive. These kind of warnings can be found on all sorts of media – tv shows, movies, games, books, etc. Keep in mind that a content warning isn’t necessarily the same as a…