One brutal murder.
A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…
And an intoxicating romance.
Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe—witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin… desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost—even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.
Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked Princes of Hell that she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…
“Love is the most powerful magic. Above all else, remember that. It will always guide you where you need to go.”Kingdom of the Wicked, Kerri Maniscalco
Kingdom of the Wicked has been one of my most anticipated 2020 YA releases since I adored the author’s Stalking Jack the Ripper series so much. Apparently, I hyped myself too much for it. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either, hence it was still a pretty enjoyable book, if not a bit underwhelming. The wonderful experience I had with Kerri Maniscalco’s debut series did not exactly translate in this new line-up but I am hoping that improves more in the next book.
I am always going to be a sucker for historical fantasy books featuring a darker tone and atmosphere, hence Kingdom of the Wicked nailed it with its story full of witches and demons in a historical Sicily wherein witch hunts are rampant, and any form of “unnaturalness” is considered to be bad. The addition of the Seven Deadly Sins in demon forms and other demon types were also a great addition to the story that I think matched the witches, vampires, and shape-shifters already present. The mix of both real and fictional concepts will always be a treat, and I loved how the author’s imagination and personal experiences were added into these real-life events. The setting, atmosphere, and of course all that deliciously described food were just among my favorite things.
One of the things I enjoyed about Kerri Maniscalco is that she knows how to write her characters. I really enjoyed Emilia and Wrath’s characters because they were both so different yet similar in many ways. I actually liked how Emilia was this good girl gone bad character because her demeanor did a 360-degree turn. I will always love love love a anti-hero main character, and while she isn’t exactly an anti-hero, there are bits of it in her that might as well make her one. As for Wrath, anyone who has read A Court of Mist and Fury and Rhapsodic will automatically love him because of that brooding, sexy, dark persona he has going on. While their bickering and dynamic are adorable and hilarious, I still haven’t fully shipped them yet, but the chemistry between them is undeniable.
The over-all story started off strong, and I got excited to see a mystery waiting to be solved later on. However, as things progressed and more details were being introduced, I felt like things have ventured far of from its original goal, and it left me confused. There were just a lot of random things being thrown into the characters’ main goal that it felt like the entire point of solving the mystery wasn’t the most important thing anymore. And then it all circled back widely into the main mystery towards the end, and it got me even more confused. While I appreciate those details because it gave the story a bit more depth, I wished that they were incorporated more into the original idea gradually for it to be able to mix harmoniously into it without disrupting the story flow.
There were obviously some flaws into the story, and I felt like the ending could have been fleshed out a bit more and things weren’t rushed towards the end, but I still had a good time reading this book. There are still some questions left unanswered that would probably be answered in the next book, and I would be looking forward to it, although I wouldn’t get my expectations high again.
About The Author
Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.
She is the #1 NYT and USA Today bestselling author of the STALKING JACK THE RIPPER quartet. The final installment, CAPTURING THE DEVIL, will be released on 9/10/19. KINGDOM OF THE WICKED, the first in a new YA fantasy series, is slated for fall 2020.