Book Review

ARC Book Review: Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1) by Emily A. Duncan

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 400 pages
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Expected Release Date: April 2nd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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.

*Note: I was given this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Wednesday Books, for the opportunity to read Wicked Saints. Publication date, etc. subject to change.

OOO, I LIKED THIS.

I have so many questions, in the best way possible. This was a great opening book and I think this will be a fantastic series.

I was immediately thrown into an action scene where I didn’t know anything, but was totally captivated. I think that scene on its own will have further implications in the following books.

I had the hardest time pronouncing all of these names though, especially the gods. They’re a lot of characters. And often they are thrown together quickly. It took me longer to accept meetings/relationships than it did in the book because I wasn’t sure how everyone was so quickly trusting in the middle of a war.

The only issue I had was that the book could honestly, be a little longer. Now hear me out, whenever I read a scene that seemed very important to the series I felt it wasn’t long enough to grasp the whole picture. There were so many things happening in this book that it’s occasionally hard to keep up. More time could’ve been spent on getting to know others, fully forming plans, action scenes, etc.

Nadya is still growing on me. I liked her and think her character is going to have some great refinement over the next two installments. She’s a little naive and so rigorously faithful that it becomes her downfall. Nadya could stand to be a little more wicked. Especially since I feel this was the entire point of the book. She hasn’t actually done anything just yet.

Malachiasz on the other hand, totally baffled me. I went from: eh → you’re okay → I kinda like you → wait a second → oh no he didn’t → NOW WHAT HAPPENS? all in the course of this book. He took me on a ride and his broken, damaged soul is one to watch for. He’s the actual Wicked one and his buddies need to catch up.

Lastly, are dear Prince Serefin is an interesting character who I think will have a bigger role come book two. He’s here and he does a lot, but his story really picked up right at the end. I enjoyed his wit and charisma and am ever so curious how he will fare.

There’s plenty of world-building and a lot of religious discussions. I liked how Duncan wove the various religions with society and politics and with how religion and magic work [or not] together. I kept debating with myself which side I felt was the more trust worthy/best choice for Nadya because there’s a strong emphasis on listening, learning and not assuming you already know everything about someone’s beliefs. I’m even sitting here now trying to plot the entire series. I love when there isn’t a major cliffhanger, but enough open-endedness that you can hardly wait for the next one.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Very little language
  • Violence: arrows, death, murder, torture, abuse, knives, etc.
  • Romance: light kisses, to intense make-outs
  • Trigger warnings: child abuse, self-harm, excessive use of alcohol