Genre: Gothic

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

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

Review: Dreaming Darkly by Caitlin Kittredge

Review: Dreaming Darkly by Caitlin Kittredge

Posted by on 04/08/2019 • 1 Comment

Gothic mystery novels are a favorite of mine, and Dreaming Darkly is an eerie novel that, albeit a bit predictable and dramatic at times, was an exciting read overall. 

After the death of Ivy’s mother, she’s sent back to her family’s old manor on a private island off the coast of Maine. When she gets there, she finds that not everything and everyone is at it seems, and strange dreams start feeling a bit too real. I found this story really intriguing from the very first page. Ivy’s life with her mom, her mom’s mysterious past, her family’s history are all really interesting. I found myself flying to the pages to find out every detail I could about this ominous family tree. This mystery aspect is done really well, with…

Review: And the Trees Crept in by Dawn Kurtagich

Review: And the Trees Crept in by Dawn Kurtagich

Posted by on 09/08/2016 • 8 Comments

I read The Dead House last year and immediately fell in love. It was eerie, scared the bejezus out of me, and twisted my mind into a pretzel. I LOVED the thriller aspects, the mystery and just the plain horror of it so I was excited to dive into And the Trees Crept In. While I definitely enjoyed the novel, I wasn’t as blown away by it as I was by The Dead House.

This novel starts with a happily ever after. Silla and Nori  have escaped their abusive household and are ready to start over at their aunt’s but then things go downhill. Kurtagich is the queen of building tension. When I was half-way through the novel, I had no idea how things could get any worse but holy…

Review: The Fall by Bethany Griffin

Review: The Fall by Bethany Griffin

Posted by on 09/25/2014 • 16 Comments

The Fall was so very unique and the writing: wonderfully atmospheric. Having really enjoyed Bethany’s Masque of the Red Death (I have yet to read the sequel), I knew that I was in for a stunning read. Masque was very well written, gorgeous in its melancholy, really – and that’s what I love the most about these historically creepy novels: the way they enchant you into their eerie settings. The Fall was no exception. I felt transported into this ancient house which was truly a character in and of itself. I could see every crack and hear every faint footstep. You could say that I was sufficiently creeped out.

Madeline is living with a curse. A curse revolving around a house that feels alive and vengeful, a house they…

Review: A Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron – Blog Hop, Day 6

Review: A Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron – Blog Hop, Day 6

Posted by on 09/16/2013 • 12 Comments

With the same atmosphere and wonderfully charismatic characters as the first book, A Spark Unseen is a good sequel to The Dark Unwinding, but I felt somewhat bored while reading it. Even though the pacing in the first book was unhurried, I still found myself entertained by the characters in such a way that I hardly noticed. A Spark Unseen, on the other hand, while it did have the same fun personalities, much of its time is spent expanding the now thicker political layer. Not being a big fan of strong political plots – especially in historical fiction – I had difficulty staying focused during this one.

I can’t say that there is any lack in character atmosphere in this sequel. We have our good old Katharine who…

Review: The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Review: The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Posted by on 09/06/2013 • 27 Comments

A decent dose of creepy, this was!

The Dark Unwinding started rough for me. For the first quarter of the book at least I had a very difficult time getting into it. My attention kept waning, my mind wandering. I think mostly caused by my own restlessness, though, but surely not helped by the ambiguousness of the plot by that point. It has a strong show rather than tell writing style; while it’s not always easy to initially situate ourselves in a story told as such, it does remain my preferred way of storytelling. I find it works especially well for this type of book, the eerie, gothic style, as it leaves room for our own imagination to creep ourselves out. This is where this novel excels, followed closely by…

Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Posted by on 07/15/2013 • 39 Comments

“Their faces were white. And grim. They glared at me, streaks of pale moonlight sweeping across their cheeks. They looked somber and gruesome and not like kids at all.”

Highly atmospheric, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is a haunting tale of evil and family secrets for every Gothic horror fan!

Although most Gothics are set in the past, this one is not, but it takes place in an old and tired estate which gives this book the perfect ancient feel. It’s not long before strange things start happening in Violet’s extremely small, quaint town, setting about hair-raising goosebumps that last throughout. First we get frightening legends about a kidnapper in a retired tunnel, then creepy kids walking around the cemetery claiming to have seen the devil, but…

Review: Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey

Review: Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey

Posted by on 06/10/2013 • 31 Comments

“He’s cursed. He’s human flesh worn by a demon.”

A fantastically atmospheric Gothic novel, Ashes on the Waves is based on an eerie Edgar Allan Poe poem – which is really all you need to know, right?

In a way, this novel reminded me a little of Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz. It’s set on a secluded island where people live in the old ways without much as far as laws and structure goes. There is also paranormal presence that makes the island unique, and a little chilling. Like in Teeth, you will need to go into this with an open mind as the novel is not considered a paranormal, but a Gothic story. Meaning the paranormal aspects are not examined in detail as far as their history or…