‘Wicked Saints’ by Emily A. Duncan/A Review

‘Wicked Saints’ by Emily A. Duncan
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Length: 384 pages
Genre: YA Fantasy
Book 1 of 3
Release Date: April 2, 2019

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

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.

My Thoughts:

I received Wicked Saints through OwlCrate several months ago, but haven’t gotten to reading it until very recently. Since it was Spookathon last week, I made it a point to read this book, since it’s a very appropriate, dark setting!

‘Wicked Saints’ is Emily A. Duncan’s debut novel, the first installment in the ‘Something Dark and Holy’ trilogy. It centers around a young Kalyazi cleric named Nadya, gifted with the power to communicate with the gods in order to wield powerful magic. The story opens with Nadya’s monastery getting attacked and destroyed by the Tranavian army, the unfortunate consequence of a war waging for a century between the two nations. This leaves Nadya on a mission to defeat the King of Tranavia and overthrow his empire. Along the way she meets Malachiasz, a blood mage who holds his own secret agenda, and represents everything Nadya stands against. Despite their tumultuous (and at times fiery) chemistry, they devise a plot to gain access into the Tranavian empire, whose High Prince Serefin is swept into a complicated political game that’s equally entertaining and devious.

Of course, I know that a huge focal point of Wicked Saints is the romantic plot line, (and it certainly made waves!), but I was also drawn into the religious discourse between Nadya and Malachiasz. They both use magic for their own personal gain, yet use different methods in reaching that goal. Their banter involving faith and religion throughout the book was very insightful, as Nadya’s argument stems from her ability in communicating with her gods, while Malachiasz describes a vastly different, method in attaining magic (using spell work to reach his goal). Nadya and Malachiasz are two powerful beings who steadfastly hold onto their beliefs. This heated discourse strengthens their desire toward each other. They both know it’s a forbidden attraction, yet the need becomes increasingly harder to ignore.

Wicked Saints is a multiple perspective novel, as it alternates between Nadya and Serefin’s (High Prince of Tranavia) point of view. After their initial contact in the beginning of the story, their paths diverge on their own journeys. As you follow each perspective, you learn that both characters have their personal goal to attain, trying to live up to their ultimate destinies that becomes increasingly harder to grasp in their minds from startling revelations. Their paths hold their own separate road, culminating to a significant plot twist.

This book displays the perfect ‘hate-to-love’ reading trope, as Nadya and Malachiasz’s lengthy discussions lead to quite a bit of romantic tension throughout the novel. And I loved the portrayal of Serefin, and how his purpose to end the war somehow shifts when his father aimed to distract him, for his own personal gain.

I’m glad that I finally gave Wicked Saints a read, and I can’t wait to find out what’s next among these three characters!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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