Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan! Today I shall share my thoughts on this lovely book with you! 
Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
Series: Something Dark and Holy #1
Published by Wednesday Books on April 2, 2019
Pages: 400
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review, via Netgalley

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..

My thoughts are that you should read this handy little pronunciation guide before you read the book. Seriously, apparently it was a thing all along, but someone’s dumb ass didn’t realize it until after she was finished. (For those of you a little slow on the uptake like I am, that would be yours truly.) 

Seriously though, a better understanding of characters/world is always good. Because my only issue with this book is one we’re going to get out of the way really quickly: I was a little lost and/or overwhelmed at the start. It starts pretty intensely, and that is not necessarily a bad thing, I just didn’t know if I cared, you know?

But it’s okay, because as it turns out, I did care, yay! The chapters begin with little snippets of tales of the past (presumably potentially wicked) saints, whose stories are all brutal, dark, and utterly enticing. A good way to segue into each chapter, not only because they’re awesome, but because it is almost like a tiny breather. You know, if by “breather”, you mean “anecdote about how some poor bastard met their doom”, but I digress.

Even though I definitely enjoyed the darkness and intensity of this book and world (and make no mistake, I did), the characters are ultimately what won me over. Nadya is just so… human. She doubts herself, she gets completely pissed at herself, she makes mistakes, she’s strong, she’s so damn relatable. Little morsels of her inner dialogue would have me practically yelling at her in agreement. I just understood her on some level, even though I am not exactly a magical cleric or what have you. And I loved the male characters, too. I couldn’t (and maybe never will) decide where anyone stood with Malachiasz, only that I want to root for him, even when he makes it difficult. Serefin is also relatable, but in a humorous way- his antics are never dull.

Obviously this world is dark, as I have mentioned. And the author does a fabulous job setting it up as such. It’s bleak, it’s desperate, it’s basically hopeless. And it’s one of those extra-special morally gray situations where maybe everyone is the bad guy and no one deserves to come out a victor. OH! And there is a journey, and wow am I a sucker for a journey. Add to it some romance, friendships that I love (Parijahan for life), secrets, and betrayal and well, you have a recipe for a damn entertaining book.

Bottom Line: I can’t decide which is better: The twisted, brutal world, or the twisted, brutal characters. Both are absolute wins.

About Emily A. Duncan

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.

Do you love dark books? I absolutely do, so share some favorites! 

Posted March 29, 2019 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Blog Tour, Review / 7 Comments

7 responses to “Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan: Review & Blog Tour

  1. I am so down for brutal worldbuilding and brutal characters! AND THE COVER AND THE BLOG TOUR BANNER ARE BEAUTIFUL. I’ve heard a lot of mixed things about Wicked Saints (some don’t like it, some LOVE it) and it seems that I really need to read it myself to realize on what end of the spectrum I fall on. Also “But it’s okay, because as it turns out, I did care, yay!” totally made me lol.

  2. Yessss there has been so much hype for this book and I was wondering how it was really like, and it looks like it really delivered on the world and the fascinating, dark characters! I love dark brutal worlds so it is totally up my alley.

  3. It does look like one of those books where a pronunciation guide is a good thing! And glad that you came to really like it! I’ve definitely been interested in this one since I started seeing it around. And the little snippets at the beginning of each chapter sound like a nice touch. 🙂

  4. I’m on the fence about this one. It sounds really interesting, but it also sounds like it will be mentally exhausting. Really cool world building and an interesting magic system, but 400 pages with a lot of detail. I might have to save this one for the summer, I just don’t think my brain can handle at this point in the school year. I think i need something light and fluffy, like brain candy.

  5. Wait a second. There was a pronunciation guide??? I also loved this book because of the characters. They’re all such bad people but I still want them all to succeed. It’s a bit weird, but I guess that’s just a show of good writing.

  6. Beth W

    You had me at bleak, desperate, and hopeless. I don’t know why I love a good, dark atmosphere (even if it’s not gritty), but I do. Something gothic, or just difficult for the characters….it makes every victory that much sweeter, and it also subtly boosts the stakes. Sooooo this one goes on the TBR list now. Thanks!

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