Posts Tagged: Fantasy

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

Breathes Life Into a Genre I Thought I Was Done With: We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Breathes Life Into a Genre I Thought I Was Done With: We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Posted by on 02/28/2019 • 0 Comments

Currently, I am staring at a blank document trying to figure out how words work because I am not entirely sure how to even begin to describe We Set the Dark on Fire? When I first started hearing about the book, I thought it was a fantasy but then my friend, Shannon said it was more dystopia so I really didn’t know what genre I was diving into. I did go in expecting some badass girls and I GOT SOME BADASS GIRLS.

Upon finishing, I think I can say that while this book isn’t like a futuristic sci-fic novel, labelling it dystopia is not wholly inaccurate. WHICH, if you like me stopped reading dystopia half a decade ago because it was all bland, I promise We Set the Dark…

Entertaining: Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

Entertaining: Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

Posted by on 02/07/2019 • 0 Comments

I really enjoyed Tricia Levenseller’s Daughter of the Pirate King duology and I had no doubt that I would at least like Warrior of the Wild. And I did! But overall Warrior of the Wild doesn’t hold a candle to the Daughter of the Pirate King books. It’s a fast, entertaining read but it is the kind of book that if you looked at it too closely, it kind of just falls apart. Everything about the plot line almost feels too easy. I love a fast paced book but this might have just been a LITTLE too fast.

Warrior of the Wild follows a privileged village leader’s daughter as she is exiled from her village and has to embark on a quest that involves killing an oppressive, abusive God…

Lush & Powerful: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Lush & Powerful: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Posted by on 12/05/2018 • 6 Comments

I am a mood reader and my mood this year has led me to read WAY WAY WAY more contemporary novels than fantasy novels, even though there was once a time when I would avoid contemporary novels like the plague. I dove into Girls of Paper and Fire because it sounded great but also came highly recommended from a friend. The first time around, I got to about 10% and then stopped reading because I just didn’t have the energy for a fantasy but then, I picked it up again and got completely sucked in. Girls of Paper and Fire was so refreshing not just because it’s so wholly different from the contemporaries I have been reading lately but also because it takes some common fantasy tropes and puts its…

To Be Savored, Not Devoured: Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

To Be Savored, Not Devoured: Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

Posted by on 02/20/2018 • 2 Comments

Tess of the Road is not an easy book to read. At 544 pages it is long and those pages don’t fly by. In the traditional sense at least. Here is the thing about Tess though, it is a long book, it is winded and yet, I wouldn’t really have it any other way. The slowness can at times be exhausting but the book isn’t really about a big adventure that Tess takes. It’s about Tess’s character arc and her trauma. This book would NOT work if it was a speedy read you could flip through. It is a painful read but there is so //much// that Tess has internalized that it makes no sense if we could uncover her and her experience in a mere handful pages.

Tess is not…

Vaguely Narnia Vibes + Unicorns: The Unicorn Quest by Kamilla Benko

Vaguely Narnia Vibes + Unicorns: The Unicorn Quest by Kamilla Benko

Posted by on 02/07/2018 • 0 Comments

I love middle grade novels and I love discovering new ones. As far as I can see, The Unicorn Quest is shaping up to be a major middle grade release this year and it synopsis sounded up right up my alley. The vaguely Narnia vibes along with unicorns sounded like it would be an enthralling read.

Here is what I can tell you. The Unicorn Quest is an adventure of the best kind. We get sucked into a new world from the get-go and like the MC, we kind of have to assimilate to the new world we find ourselves in. This is great because we experience the world alongside the MC which allows us to form a special bond with her but it also means that it takes…

Dark & Rich: Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi

Dark & Rich: Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi

Posted by on 11/08/2017 • 11 Comments

I think there is this general conception that for a fantasy novel to be truly good, it needs to have about a 1,000,000 pages and at 304 pages, Beasts Made of Night is not a particularly long book. Do not and I repeat do NOT let that fool you. Tochi Onyebuchi packs a fucking punch in those 304 pages. World building? You got it. Adventure? You got it. A mother-fucking rebellion? YOU GOT IT. Beasts Made of Night isn’t just a great novel for fantasy readers but also for people too vary of the genre because of its reputation for long-winded novels that take lifetimes to get through.

Onyebuchi has a background in screenwriting and honestly, the high stakes and the quick pace of the novel really reflect this. For some people,…

The Princess Bride Meets The Emperor’s New Groove: The Emperor’s Ostrich by Julie Berry

The Princess Bride Meets The Emperor’s New Groove: The Emperor’s Ostrich by Julie Berry

Posted by on 07/27/2017 • 0 Comments

I feel like aesthetics for middle grade novels are fairly uncommon but The Emperor’s Ostrich is so laugh-out loud hilarious and really just lends itself to aesthetics. It’s got adventure, an unexpected romance (b/w a cow and an ostrich) & magic.

As the title of this post suggests, I believe that this book can best be described as The Princess Bride meets The Emperor’s New Groove. What happens when a spoilt man-child is on the verge of getting control of an entire empire? Why of course, he must be taught a lesson! Magic, mayhem and adventure ensue and a young dairy maid might be the answer to all. Basically, this book will make you LOL and draw you in for a ride. READ IT or give it to people who read middle grade. Seriously.