‘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

New Releases for Sept 2019

I get so enthused for the start of the fall season, and seeking new books to add to my collection makes things extra special! I have a few selections listed for this month.

Tunnel of Bones by Victoria (V.E.) Schwab

Adventures in Paris unfold in this next installment of Cassidy Blake’s life, as she navigates the Veil with her ghostly best friend Jacob! (Released Sept. 3rd)

‘The Institute’ by Stephen King

A group of children gifted with telekinesis are held captive at a facility, by people whose motives are dangerously unclear. It definitely sounds like a ‘good-vs-evil’ scenario in the making! (Release date: Sept 10)

‘The Testaments’ by Margaret Atwood

This anticipated sequel takes place 15 years after the events told in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. Whether you’re a fan of the books or the Hulu adaptation, it’s sure to be a definite page-turner! (Release date: Sept 10)

‘Red At the Bone’ by Jacqueline Woodson

An unplanned pregnancy intertwines the fate of two families, as Jacqueline Woodson tells a powerful story of multi-generational legacy in Brooklyn. (Release date: Sept 17)

‘The Dutch House’ by Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett expresses the power of sibling bonds in the face of family complications. (Release date: Sept 24)

‘A Dream So Dark’ by L.L. McKinney

‘A Dream So Dark’ is the highly anticipated sequel to ‘A Blade So Black’, which follows Alice traversing through the Nightmare-verse of Wonderland, while making it home in time for curfew! (Release date: Sept. 24)

KidLit: Books to Ease ‘1st Day/Week Jitters’

Although school has been in session for many since mid-August, the first week of September marks the beginning of school in the New York/New Jersey area! My social media feed is filled with friends and family posting pics of their children happily beginning their school year. My nieces Ana and Nadia started their first day of Kindergarten this week, and seeing their faces lit up with excitement was so adorable!

While starting Kindergarten and Pre-K carry feelings of excitement, it may also harbor a twinge of nervousness. Starting a brand new routine in a new building with total strangers can feel overwhelming! As Early Childhood/Elementary teachers, we hold some tools to gently guide children through the transition of school: warm words, gentle hugs, and inspiring reads!

I compiled a short list of books I’ve used in my experiences as an educator in both public and private school settings.

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

Chester Raccoon seeks love and reassurance from his mother as he ventures out into the world, attending his very first day of school. It’s so heartwarming to read about Chester’s mom comforting her son, giving him the assurance that his mother’s love will always be present.

Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney

Strange new teacher, strange new toys, lots of kids and lots of noise! Llama Llama starts his first day of preschool with much trepidation, but his Mama reassures him that he will have fun on his first day. I would read this story to my Toddler aged students as a reminder that their Mommy/Daddy loves them, and will indeed return at the end of their day!

Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate

As Miss Bindergarten readies her classroom for Kindergarten, her students get ready for their first day of school. This story shares the excitement a teacher experiences preparing her room for new discoveries, and a child’s excitement as they prepare for their first day in ‘Big Kids’ school!

Pete the Cat: Rocking in His School Shoes by Eric Litwin

This story takes you through Pete’s experiences during his first day of school. There are new rooms, lots of noise, and new faces! I enjoy the feel good message Pete gets across as he navigates through his school day: It’s all good!

What is your favorite book to ease ‘1st Day of School’ jitters? Let me know in the comments!