Book Review: Wicked Saints – Emily A. Duncan

Book Review: Wicked Saints – Emily A. Duncan

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-05-17T101956.647.png
Something Dark and Holy #1
Release Date: April 2nd 2019
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Pages: 385
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this book from Wordery.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars


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..


wicked saintsWicked Saints is a dark and wild ride of a book! The story follows two warring kingdoms, and the people who will do anything to make sure they are their kingdom are the victors. We follow two people – Nadya, a young woman with divine powers who has lived all her lives in a monastery, and Serefin, a powerful blood mage and High Prince of Tranavia. The two are on opposite sides but are fighting with everything they have for survival.

This book is a bit of a rollercoaster. It’s a dark dark story, full of magic and blood. There are a few trigger warnings for this book, particularly for self-harm so I’d definitely recommend checking that out before picking this up if you feel it might be a problem. The story is full to the brim with adventure, a quest for power and a determination to succeed. It makes for an incredibly intoxicating story, and I definitely didn’t want to put this one down.

I thought the story was really fascinating, and the world building well-constructed. The two kingdoms fighting over religion was really interesting and I thought Duncan breathed some new life into this idea that’s been done many times before. The magic system was really intriguing and I enjoyed learning more about the gods with each chapter.

The story is split into alternating viewpoints with Nadya and Serefin and I actually enjoyed both characters plot arcs equally. I liked Serefin’s back story – the high prince with an incredibly strained relationship with his father – who just wants the war to be over. I did feel like Nadya could have done with a bit more of a back story – it would have been interesting to see more of what life was like in the monastery for her.

Overall the story is well paced, growing more intense and quick as it reaches the climax. There were quite a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming, and that certainly made me enjoy the story all the more. I won’t say too much about the ending so that I don’t spoil it for anyone, but I did feel that it was over very quickly. I felt like we were building and building to this big moment and it was over very fast. I am however super excited to see what will happen in the next instalment of the series. There’s already been quite a bit of hype surrounding this book so I can definitely attest that it’s worth it!
5 stars

9 thoughts on “Book Review: Wicked Saints – Emily A. Duncan

  1. Your review is much better written than mine. I’m kind of figuring out why, though, as time passes. I think as time passes I’m seeing it as a bit more messy as I did as when I first read it. I’m still curious as to the second book (although I’m still not liking some stuff at the end between certain characters). But I don’t know- I’m curious, if overtime, if the opinions of it stay the same or change. It might just be me though. But your review is very well structured and just much more coherent than mine!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thank you! I loved your review – I totally agree that it’s a really polarizing book, I think some people will completely love it and others won’t. It will be so interesting to see if opinions change over time – looking forward to book two!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I completely agree on the polarizing part. I didn’t see any inbetween reviews. Very love it or hate it! I do want to see book two. I think the author has loads of potential and I love the idea of a new genre that has this gothic fantasy feel for sure. It is a debut novel that is a first in a series. So some mess is to be expected.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am 100% here for gothic fantasy books. Definitely hopeful that the popularity of Wicked Saints means we might get some more! For a debut novel I thought she did really well, hopefully any kinks are worked out in the next book.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This premise reminds me a little bit of Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, a book (and series!) I really loved. I’ll have to check this one out. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m reading this one right now. I’m only about 30 pages in and really enjoying it so far, and this review has made me even more eager to finish it.

    Liked by 1 person

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