This Kingdom of the Wicked review may contain slight spoilers.
‘There are victors and victims. Decide who you want to be. Or the choice will be made for you, Witch. And I doubt you’ll like it.’
I threw my head back and groaned. ‘It’s a game of scopa, not a battle between life and death. Are you always this dramatic?’”– KERRI MANISCALCO, “KINGDOM OF THE WICKED”
Victor or Victim?
Before I get into the depths of the book review, I wanted to mention that this book was a highly anticipated read for me and honestly, it really did not disappoint! I finished reading it last month and let me tell you, it’s the perfect dark and twisted read for the upcoming spooky season.
Kingdom of the Wicked follows Emilia a young witch who lives with her family, including her twin sister Vittoria, in Sicily. The witches live in secret to avoid persecution, so it is quite the shock when witches start turning up dead, brutally murdered. The question is though: who is responsible? Is it the new witch hunting group that has suddenly cropped up or is something supernatural afoot? When Emilia’s twin becomes a victim, Emilia, who was normally the more level-headed of the two, throws all caution to the wind and vows revenge.
At its heart, I’d say Kingdom of the Wicked is a story of revenge. Emilia is willing to do absolutely anything to bring her sister’s killers to justice and is blinded to anything other than that. Even when it quite literally brings Hell to her doorstep. Its when she magically binds herself to Wrath, one of the Princes of Hell, that everything changes…
The chemistry between Emilia and Wrath is off the charts. They both really know how to push each other’s buttons and I couldn’t get enough of their banter and bickering. Wrath is dark, dangerous, and demonic – it becomes clear as the story progresses that he develops feelings for Emilia. He has a soft spot for her, whether he likes it or not. Emilia finds herself experiencing similar feelings. Neither should trust the other but can they fight the intoxicating lure of their attraction?
Aside from the amazing chemistry between Emilia and Wrath, and the compelling mystery as to who has been killing witches, I also fell in love with the worldbuilding, and how atmospheric the story was. It’s dark and eerie every time someone goes out because of the tension of knowing there’s a killer among them. Then Maniscalco did a brilliant job with the witchy folklore. I absolutely adored the details of Emilia’s family history and how they ultimately became tied to the devil himself. So speaking of the devil, her descriptions of the Princes of Hell are truly brilliant. This is one of those books where, as I was reading, I could easily imagine it as a film.
I don’t want to give anything away regarding Emilia’s quest for revenge and how her entanglement with Wrath factors in, but I will say some unexpected twists and turns at the end have me very eager to get my hands on the next book.
If dark and twisty reads interest you, I can promise, this book will not disappoint!
‘One day you might beg me to kiss you.’ He stepped close enough for me to stab him.”
– KERRI MANISCALCO, “KINGDOM OF THE WICKED”
What I Do Like about Kingdom of the Wicked:
- The Many Food Descriptions! Several other reviewers pointed this one out, but there are some seriously delicious Italian dishes that get mentioned in this book. This is because the main character’s family owns and operates a restaurant. Cannoli’s are amazing, and I had some major cravings for some once I arrived at that part within the story…yum!
- The Romance Between Wrath and Emilia! This book is a great addition to the enemies-to-lovers romance trope as Wrath and Emilia have some immediate sexual tension. This builds and builds between them as they reluctantly work together to solve the murder of her twin sister. They irritate each other and start verbal wars, but underneath it all is an obvious attraction that neither can ignore. Their dynamic also grew rather realistically as they slowly begin to trust each other — at least until certain things happen — and rely on each other’s strength into a begrudging respect for one another.
- The Worldbuilding! I liked the class systems of demons the author presented us, there are the seven demon princes of hell representing the seven deadly sins. The witches living amongst the normal folks and the witch hunters who are secretly members of the church, even werewolves; it’s all mixed together to create an interesting world that may or make this series an incredibly memorable one!
- The “Whodunnit” Murder Mystery! I always love a good mystery where the main character is on the hunt for a killer who leaves a bloody trail of bodies behind.
What I Don’t Like about Kingdom of the Wicked:
- The Beginning Felt Very Generic…This book was pretty slow at first and felt like any general YA Fantasy title out there. But once Emilia and Wrath run into each other and meet for the first time, that was when things really begin to take off!
- The Ending…Okay, so, for most of the book, it felt like a pretty light read but then I really feel like I blinked and missed something. Then it was over.
As you can see Dislikes is much much smaller than the Likes! (I think this speaks for itself).
Like the romance between the two main characters in this book, the story was a slow burn that left me interested to keep reading on. This book shows that the series has a whole lot of potential to become a huge fan favourite. It can easily place among the many other incredibly popular YA Fantasy series most of us readers know and love!
Kingdom of the Cursed will be out later this year and honestly, I cannot wait to read what happens next!
Thanks for Reading!