Wicked Saints

Posted 08/16/2021 by Stephanie in Reviews, YA / 0 Comments

Wicked SaintsWicked Saints
Series: Something Dark and Holy #1
by Emily A. Duncan
Published by St. Martin's Press
on 04/02/2019
Genres: Young Adult Fiction / Fantasy / Dark Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction / Fantasy / Epic
Format: eBook
Pages: 400

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“Prepare for a snow-frosted, blood-drenched fairy tale where the monsters steal your heart and love ends up being the nightmare.” - Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen

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.

“This book destroyed me and I adored it.”- Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval

This edition uses deckle edges; the uneven paper edge is intentional.

This book was a bit out of the norm for me. The reason for that is that the male lead isn’t the knight in shining armor that most books have.

Right off the bat, there’s tons of things going on. From the introduction to our protagonist to the siege the monastery is under. Nadya is introduced as a mischievous young girl that has to be protected at all costs because she has a special ability to commune with their gods. Serefin, the crowned prince and a very powerful blood mage, is leading the attack against the monastery. The people of Kalyazin are pious and condemn the use of magic that the Tranavians exercise.

As the story develops, we find out that not everything is black and white. After Nadya flees the monastery in Kalyazin, she meets Parijahan, Rashid, and Malachaiz. A series of events lead Nadya to agree to travel with them to Tranavia to try to end the endless war by removing the King. Nadya has had a very sheltered and secluded life, and it’s during their journey to Tranavia that Nadya starts to see that not everything is black and white as she has been taught.

There are tons of takeaways – to be open to other’s views and beliefs, any situation can be seen in a different light from different angles, friends will always be there to lend their support in tough situations, and don’t assume the worse of someone without knowing them.

With the duel POV, we get to see the “good” and the “bad”. The good being Nadya’s perspective and the bad being Serefin’s. Turns out that they both want to put an end to the endless war between their countries but they’re just going about it very differently.

I enjoyed how the different relationships were developed because the story wasn’t fixated on the girl meeting the guy and everything revolves around that. Of course, a lot of the story does go to them but we also get to see what the secondary characters bring to the table. Those relationships didn’t feel forced or rushed, they felt natural. Even Malachaiz’s relationships.

Weirdly enough, or maybe not, my heart goes out to Malachaiz. He’s the result of how he was “raised”. And this is why I say that this was out of the norm. Malachaiz isn’t the typical bad boy that we all fall for, he truly is bad and yet, he burrowed himself in my heart!

The curveballs at the end and the epilogue really leave the reader itching for book 2.

About Emily A. Duncan

Emily A. Duncan was born and raised in Ohio and works as a youth services librarian. She received a Master’s degree in library science from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video games and dungeons and dragons. She is represented by Thao Le of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.