Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan - Review & Excerpt!

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.

---------------------------- Amazon, B&N, Goodreads -------------------------------

If you don't want to read my kind of long and ramble-y review, skip to the bottom for an excerpt!

My Thoughts

I am so happy to be a part of the Wicked Saints Blog Tour! Thanks for stopping by! 

Just to start off, I have to say that this book has literally everything I love in a fantasy. An incredibly developed world, an interesting and nuanced magic system, complex and lovable characters. And even then, there was so much more about this book that I loved, like the push and pull between faith and choice, between believing in yourself and believing in others, and that people are often more than they appear. 

In many ways this world will remind readers of Leigh Bardugo's Grisha series, particularly in the Russian influences and social structure. However, Emily Duncan's world is completely unique, filled with monstrous humans and misguided princes, a temperamental pantheon of gods and magic forged by blood. I found the tensions between the characters and people the most interesting - one ruled by a complete trust in the gods and the other strengthened by the idea of being able to forge one's own destiny. And more importantly, people on either side who work together and believe that maybe, just maybe, there is room for all of them. 

Nadya's sarcasm is balanced by her loyalty not only to the gods that only she can talk to but also her friends. I loved seeing her grow as her way of life was challenged by outside forces after she must flee the convent in which she grew up. The mysterious Malachiasz and the people she meets on her journey change the way she sees the world as much as she changes their perspective, and the conversations around why people do the things they do were a joy to read. Though on opposing sides, seeing the world from both Nadya and the warrior prince Serefin's points-of-view felt like watching two trains racing towards each other, waiting to see what would happen when they collided. People are so much more than they appear in this book, for better and for worse, and following all of them on the beginning of this adventure was a treat. 

There's a lot more I could gush about but I think you probably get it by now. Wicked Saints was everything I hoped it would be and so much more. Even beyond all the tropes I love, the writing is haunting and atmospheric, the characters believable and flawed, and the world and magic enchanting. I cannot wait for the next installment! 
Thank you Wednesday Books for including me in the tour! 

And now, for the excerpt! 

Learn more about Emily here: 
(Also follow her on Twitter! @glitzandshadows)

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.

Happy Reading!