- STAR RATING: 3.5 stars
PAGE LENGTH: 372 pages
- DATE PUBLISHED: October 27th 2020
- PUBLISHER: JIMMY Patterson Books
WHAT SERIES? Kingdom of the Wicked Series
- WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? Kingdom of the Wicked
- HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? 3
- CONTENT WARNINGS: Death, Murder
- IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
One brutal murder.
A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…
And an intoxicating romance.
Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost—even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.
Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked—princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…
I can see why those of you that loved The Cruel Prince really like Kingdom of the Wicked. The same sort of relationship sits at the heart of both stories — enemies to lovers, but also a deep sister relationship. Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of the enemies-to-lovers trope, but I can see why it’s so popular. And truly, I enjoyed Kingdom of the Wicked way, way more than The Cruel Prince. For those of you that don’t know, I liked the first book in that series, and then found myself hating the rest of it the longer I read. That series is beloved by many, but certainly not by me.
Kingdom of the Wicked stars Emilia and her sister, Vittoria. Or it would if Vittoria wasn’t murdered 50 pages into the book. This is the catalyst, what starts off everything else in the book. Maniscalco does a fantastic job with the emotions here — you really feel how absolutely gutted Emilia is by finding her sister’s body. Emilia, in her rage, grief, and confusion, ends up summoning what she thinks is a demon, but is really one of the seven princes of Hell, Wrath. I wanted to like Wrath a lot more than I did, just because the idea behind him is something really cool. Instead, he’s sort of a half-hearted, almost character. There’s not much to him, and I’m very much hoping that changes in the next books.
Emilia herself is genuinely irritating. She’s got all these thoughts about Wrath, and continues to think them despite being shown time and time again that he’s really not as bad as she thinks. Especially when it comes to her. She’s very stubborn, and not in the best way. She’s also very slow on the uptake of…everything. (That one might be because this is a YA book. Who knows.) Either way, Emilia is definitely at least part of the reason why this book didn’t work for me as much as I wanted it to.
Together, they’re all bickering and baring teeth and basically if they were cats, they’d constantly be hissing at each other. Until they aren’t, of course. There’s one make-out scene, but that’s it. Nothing spicier than that, not that I was expecting more as this is firmly within the YA genre.
The rest of the book is just sort of info-dumpy. This is the first book of a trilogy, so it makes sense, but also there had to be a more elegant way of getting the information to the reader than huge paragraphs included in the middle of action. There were a lot of convenient moments, and just awkward inclusions, too. (In this book, what purpose did the shapeshifters have? They do nothing. Why include them yet?) And not to mention, towards the end, there’s one ‘twist’ that I saw coming literally a mile away. Was anyone surprised by who ended up being Vittoria’s killer? Wrath’s brothers that we see are entertaining to the extreme, but I do wish we had learned more about how Hell works, exactly. It’s left extremely vague.
Despite my complaining, I did enjoy most of Kingdom of the Wicked, and I do plan to read onwards. Three and a half stars! Thank you to Destiny for buddy-reading it with me!
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PS – Don’t forget my Sabriel Read-a-long starts next week!