This post contains a gifted item. All thoughts are my own.
So it seems like books about women making deals with devils is my new thing? And I’m not mad about it. As soon as I heard about this book I just knew I needed it in my life. I very gratefully received an e-arc of the book from Hodderscape and I just had to dive into it immediately. Keep reading for my spoiler free review of Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco, which is released today!
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Historical fiction, fantasy and young adult
Length: 448 pages
Source: Gifted by the publisher/Netgalley
Affiliate Links: Book Depository*
Two sisters. One brutal murder. A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself… And an intoxicating romance.
Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.
Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is at is seems…
Content warnings: gore, death of a sibling, grief, blood magic/self harm for spells
In a few words:
A young woman makes a deal with the devil to avenge her sisters death and becomes entangled in a battle between good and evil where the lines are blurred.
If I had to give you one thing that made this book a standout read for me, it would be the atmosphere. Kerri’s talent for word building meant that I was instantly transported to 19th century Sicily. I could almost feel the breeze, hear footsteps on the cobbled streets and smell the delicious food cooked and served in the twin’s family restaurant. Seriously, this book had be pining for pasta. The world was so vivid in my mind and that definitely massively aided my enjoyment of the story, as I felt immersed in and chilled by the story.
In terms of characters, I have to say that I really did enjoy the themes of sisterhood and family that ran throughout this book. The bonds were so strong and it was refreshing to see this when in so many young adult books family seems almost non existent. I loved how Emilia’s family of witches all incorporated witchcraft and magic into everyday life, whilst also adhering to their rules and limitations, remaining undetected by the witch hunters.
Emilia, our protagonist, is the shy, studious and rule-following twin, whereas Vittoria was more adventurous and outgoing. After finding her twin brutally murdered, Emilia sets out to find out who, or what, committed this atrocious act and seek revenge. I enjoyed seeing Emilia’s personal growth, as she really came out her shell and became a fierce and protective young woman. Her love for Vittoria really shone through and kept her moving forwards when things got tough and she became a really admirable character.
And in no surprise to anyone, in true Amy fashion, I fell for the devil right away. Tall, dark haired and super grumpy??? Sign me up! Wrath, one of the seven Princes of Hell was moody, snarky but also we saw he had more of a thoughtful and caring side. So, I was done for. His brothers, while obviously important to the story, definitely did not have the same effect on me and it was interesting to see how despite being “devils”, they all approached things differently, name sakes aside.
I enjoyed Emilia and Wrath’s relationship, and how they had to come together to try and defeat the evil. Wrath might be a Prince of Hell but Emilia didn’t hold back from standing up to him or voicing her opinion which I APPLAUD. Also the chemistry between the two was sizzling hot and I can’t wait to read more about them in the next book.
My parents visited Palermo last year and had a lovely time getting to know and understand the culture, including the catacombs, and after reading this I know I’m going to need to head back there with them on their next trip. Maybe bump into Wrath…? (Sorry George.)
Kingdom of the Wicked was full of witchy magical vibes, mystery and intrigue. It was a fast paced and tense story which kept me hooked throughout. I enjoyed that while the story featured some well loved elements of young adult fantasy novels, it also brought something new to the table and kept me guessing right to the end.
There was a serious cliffhanger, so be warned, you will be desperate for the next instalment! I’m super intrigued to see where book two will take us, I get the feeling it’s going to open up the world quite a lot of more which I’m excited for. Thank you so much for sticking around for my review of Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco*, this wonderful book is OUT TODAY, so grab a copy, put your feet up and sink your teeth into the story.
If you like the sound of that, you may fancy this!
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
The first in a series, this book is inspired by the murders of Jack the Ripper. Seventeen year old Audrey Rose breaks away from societal norms as a lord’s daughter to study forensic medicine and becomes involved with an investigation of a serial murderer.
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