Wicked Saints by Emily Duncan

One of my most anticipated releases for 2019 was Wicked Saints. It sounded like a fun, dark fantasy that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on. I was lucky to get an early copy via NetGalley and started reading it right away.

I loved the first 30%. The story begins with Nadezhada or Nadya peeling potatoes. She’s the only cleric of her generation, the only person who can speak to the Gods and use their magic. There is a war going on all around them, but most people don’t know that Nadya is a cleric. But then they are attacked, and it’s obvious that the High Prince and those with him are looking for her.

As Nadya runs and the High Prince, Serefin, chase her, the story gets a little more interesting. As we’re introduced to more characters, included a man who no longer wants to be a monster, you’ve been hooked and can’t wait to see what happens next.

And then things fell a little short.

The middle part of Wicked Saints was really really slow for me. I was more invested in Serefin’s storyline than I was about Nadya’s. She sort of annoyed me and didn’t really grow or change throughout the entire book. While with Serefin, we get a lot more character growth and I was constantly wondering what his motives where and what he was going to do next. Nadya, you know she wants to kill the king and that she doesn’t want to fall in love with the guy who should be her enemy.

It took me two months to read Wicked Saints. I see a lot of the good things that people were talking about, but this story just fell a little flat for me.

I also didn’t love all of the blood. I would say that if you struggle with blood in any way or are triggered by self-harm, but book isn’t for you. While Nadya’s magic was all about communicating and receiving magic from the God’s other people used blood magic, where they would literally cut themselves and use their blood to create the magic. It was pretty dark. I hadn’t seen it done before (maybe it has, fantasy is still a pretty new genre for me) but it was a little too dark and gruesome for my taste.

I did like the beginning and the end though.

Even though the middle of the book fell flat for me, the beginning was strong and the ending was alright. I didn’t expect the twist, but it also didn’t actually shock me as much as it could have. I’m interested to see where this series will go, and depending on how I feel, I’ll read the next book when it comes out.

About Wicked Saints:

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

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Did you read Wicked Saints? What were your thoughts?