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.