“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
Wicked Saints: A Novel (Something Dark and Holy, #1)Featured
When I first heard about this book I thought it was interesting. Then I saw all the hype surrounding it. I thought this book was going to be okay, but maybe not worth all the noise surrounding it. Usually, when a book is very hyped I try not to get myself too worked up about it. Once I started reading it though, I could not stop. This book is probably my most surprised book of the year. I absolutely loved it and I don’t know if I can explain how much it had me on edge. The story was so unique and fascinating that I immediately drew myself into the world. Each description was so thought out that I could imagine what was being told. Every time Nadya was cold, I was cold. The warmth she felt from Malachiasz, I felt. There was so much detail in this book, but it was just the right amount. I never felt over burden with details that sometimes you find it rich fantasy worlds. The only thing I had issues with were the names – I probably pronounced Malachiasz a different way each time. Regardless of that though, the pacing of this book was fantastic. I couldn’t wait to sit back down and read again. With reading so many fantasy books, I am a pretty good judge about what is going to happen next. This book, was the first book in such a long time to throw me for loops. And not even at the end of the book but throughout the whole thing. I was astounded about how many plot twists came my way and I was living for them. At one point I was reading this at work and I looked to my coworker and was like “I cannot with all these plot twists. I don’t even know what’s going on anymore!” The story definitely took a turn I was not expecting and I cannot wait to read the next one.
These characters are something else. I absolutely loved Nadya’s character. There were so many aspects of her that just reached to me. Obviously, I’m nothing like Nadya but her character development was just so real. I loved everything about her from her steadfast faith to questioning it towards the end of the novel. Each doubt she had, I had also. Each heartbreak she felt, I felt also. This is exactly how you create a fantastic character. Malachiasz…. Oh my broken boy. My feelings for him are as jumbled and clear as Nadya’s are. And the enemies to lovers? Ugh, give me it all day. I also really liked Serefin’s character. His development was beyond what I could imagine. I can’t even begin to explain how amazing he is. I’m so glad he is turning out the way he is, and his ending? Oh my, next book is going to be interesting. But if anything happens to any of these side characters, I will fight you. You hear me Emily? You leave them alone.
Overall, Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan is a ride! This book took so many turns that I don’t know how I kept up. The progression of this book was absolutely amazing and so surprising, I’m still not even sure how we ended up there. Each part of the story felt unique and wonderful, perfect for the created world. I also really loved the characters. There was so much to them that just instantly made me feel connected to each one. I’m really excited to see what the next book brings. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a dark filled fantasy books that will keep you guessing on what is going to happen next.
Nadya is a cleric who has been raised in a monastery. She does not answer to only one god but can call on most- whether and how they answer is up to them. The monastery is under attack by the Tranavians, who are led by their high prince, and the Kalyazins are desperate to save Nadya- she is the only known cleric and their hope for winning this hopeless war. Nadya escapes and encounters other people along the way, two Akolans and a Tranavian who is working against the Tranavian side. Together, they seek to travel to Tranavia and kill the king to end the war. Along the journey, Nadya begins to explore what divinity means and religion, as well as power in its many forms.
In other chapters, we follow Serefin, the high prince, who is a powerful blood mage (not a Vulture though), and who is ready to end this war. He is surprised when his father calls him back to the capitol for a Rawalyk, a ceremony to choose his bride. As Serefin travels back, we learn more about Tranavian politics and even more sinister plots.
This book was impossible to put down and I absolutely loved every second of it. We see the world from both sides of the war and all the complications along with them. This was a fascinating and truly unique story- I don't want to say too much to avoid spoilers, but AHHHHH! There are so many twists and turns and unexpected events, and I loved it! Fans of dark YA fantasy will need to add this to their TBR for sure. I cannot wait for the next one!
As a final note, I will add warnings for self-mutilation/harm (with the blood magic) and also for a bit of a cliffhanger ending.