Emilia has cemented herself as one of my favorite female characters. She is strong and resilient. Fighting a force she doesn’t quite understand, Emilia wants one thing: revenge. She wants to find her sister’s murderer and do to them what they did to her. She wants them to suffer, and so begins Emilia’s path to the dark side of witchcraft. My heart broke for her over and over again as her world turned topsy-turvy. Everything she thought she knew, all the lessons her Nonna taught, turned out to be half-truths and lies. Emilia is left to her own devices, chasing shadows and cavorting with demon princes. All of this occurs while a murderer is on the loose targeting witches. When Emilia inadvertently binds herself to Wrath, one of the Princes of Hell, her world implodes.
Wrath is a bit of a mixed character. Having finished the book, I’m still not sure how to feel about him. I wanted to love him, but I struggled with his motives and if he could be trusted. Anger rules him which makes him the perfect partner for Emilia as she seeks her revenge. It’s clear he’s keeping secrets from Emilia, the question is what?
The plot follows Emilia and Wrath as they hunt for who is killing the witches. This takes Emilia on an adventure through the dark side of her city. She learns that demons are real, they are not contained to Hell, and her magic won’t keep her safe. The pacing here is not even. At times, when the author is building the mythology and introducing characters, it moves slowly. At others, when action is happening (which is quite often), I couldn’t read quickly enough. This was a bit distracting for me, and one of the reasons I rated it lower despite loving the story itself.
My other reason for rating it lower is the blurb promises “an intoxicating romance.” Where? It’s missing! Don’t get me wrong. There is a hint of romance, and you understand pretty quickly who the love interest is. However there is very little in the way of romance, especially when I’m promised one.
Despite the uneven pacing and lack of romance, I really enjoyed Kingdom of the Wicked. I’m hoping that since the characters are fully introduced now the pacing will flow with the next novels. I’m also hoping for more of that intoxicating romance. The thrill of mystery and the fantastic world-building will please any fantasy fan!