Synopsis from St. Martin’s Press:
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.
About: Wicked Saints is a young adult fantasy written by Emily A. Duncan. It was recently published on 4/2/2019 by Wednesday Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, 400 pages. The genres are dark fantasy, fiction, and young adult. There will be 3 books to this series called Something Dark and Holy. Wicked Saints is book one and it is intended for readers ages 13 to 18. This book is the author’s debut. According to the publisher’s website, Wednesday Books is “a crossover, coming-of-age imprint for the insatiable reader.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.
Blog Tour Q&A: What inspired you to write Wicked Saints? (Asked by Bookish Bug)
Video games and metal music! I think everyone is expecting me to say Joan of Arc with questions like these but she actually had nothing to do with any of the genesis of this book; she came long after the book was finished as a marketing comp. No, the book was heavily inspired by Skyrim and Dragon Age and metal music.
My Experience: I started reading Wicked Saints on 4/4/2019 and finished it on 4/17/2019 at 1:05am. This book is a great read! It started out slow with difficult character names to remember with additional unrecognizable Gods. However, the story picked up when the alternating view starts. I like it more when Malachiasz, 18, is introduced. It seems all three characters are clever because they were noticed by each other and by someone else. Either way, I do like smart characters who can think for themselves and have their own suspicions. The supporting characters are well liked as well. I like Rashid, Pari, Kacper, and Ostyia.
This book is told in the third person point of view following Nadezhda (Nadya) Lapteva, 17, as she and her friend Konstantin (Kostya) are being punished to peeling potatoes in the cellar for their prank on Father Alexie’s washing bowl. The Tranavia just fired their cannon, blood magic at Kalyazin, a secluded monastery in the mountains, a home and all that Nadya knew of. During this attack, Nadya loses her friend and her home, but able to escape. Nadya has a necklace full of beads that brings different Gods to her rescue. They give her light and magic to defeat the enemy or at least save herself. The alternative point of view is Serefin Meleski, the High Prince of the enemy, Tranavia. Serefin uses spell books and his blood to create magic. Serefin has been sent to the war front at a young age, not just to keep the enemy at bay but keep the distance with the King. The war has gone on for a century and it needs to be stopped. Nadya is forced into something that she stands against her whole life but it’s the only way she can be strong to fight back.
Wicked Saints is well written and an interesting read. I like both views, more of Serefin than Nadya. She has issues with decision making. She’s never sure of the boy she likes. One moment she wants him and the next she thinks she made a mistake falling for him. I like the unexpected twists at the witch’s tower when they all ended up in the same place. I like the outcome of Zaneta’s fate, another twist I didn’t see coming, as well as Malachiasz’ true identity. This book is full of blood and razor cuts, yikes, but the story line is interesting and I do recommend everyone to read this book!
Blog Tour Q&A: What countries and eras/historical events served as inspiration for Wicked Saints? (Asked by Once Upon a Book Title)
Wicked Saints is set in a very much fantasy version of Russia and Poland. I don’t like nailing down a time period because it’s high fantasy and I like to be anachronistic with some things — I’m not writing historical fantasy for a reason! I like to say vaguely medieval with some aesthetic touches that come from time periods much later than medieval, especially in regards to Tranavia.
Pro: fast paced, magic, forbidden love, some twists
Con: slow start at first, difficult names and Gods,
I rate it 4 stars!
About the Author:
Emily A. Duncan 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. Wicked Saints is her first book. She lives in Ohio. https://eaduncan.com (Photo and info provided by publisher).
More Information about Wednesday Books
***Disclaimer: Many thanks to the publisher, Wednesday Books, for inviting me to host a blog tour. I appreciate the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.