Published by Wednesday Books on April 2, 2019
Series: Something Dark and Holy #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic
Source: eARC from Publisher
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 Saints is the first book in the dark fantasy series, called the Something Dark and Holy series by author Emily A. Duncan. I am all about dark fantasy, so I was super excited to dive into a new world. And even better if it is the first book to a new series. Wicked Saints has a lot of things that I really enjoy in a book. I really liked that the magic system was intertwined with politics and religion. I loved the russian inspired setting. That is a setting that I don’t read about too much in the young adult fantasy realm, but it is a fascinating landscape. I had a few pacing issues with the story, but I am still interested to see where this series will go from here.
Wicked Saints is the story of a holy war between Kalyazin and Tranavia that has been going on for centuries. At the root of this holy war is magic. More specifically, the ability to talk to the gods and have your body be a conduit for their power. Traditionally, someone who can communicate with a single god is revered and known as a cleric. Nadya, our main character, is special because not only is she a cleric, but she is the only known cleric who can communicate with all of the gods. Really cool setup, right? I thought so too.
Our story starts with a sudden Tranavian attack on the Kalyazin monastery where Nadya lives. This attack sends Nadya running from the Tranavian Prince. This journey leads Nadya to discover more about her powers. Pretty quickly, I started to feel the slow pace of the story, which was strange to me because the characters were on the run from a very active attack, in the middle of a Holy War. It wasn’t a slow pace string of events, but still each of the passages and pages felt…slow. As I continued to read, I did feel myself get more immersed in the story, and I was enjoying it, but I wanted more from the story. I liked the magic, I liked the characters, and I liked the overall plot, but the pacing made it hard for me to read a lot of this novel in each sitting. I found myself putting the book down frequently or switching between novels while I was reading, whenever I got to a slow bit. I did love how secrets and plots were revealed throughout the book, and I hope there are more secrets, twists and turns waiting for us in the next installment.
Overall, the setup for Wicked Saints is a very interesting one, and the characters are well developed, but the progress of the story seemed very slow to me. I felt myself wanting to skip whole sections in the middle of the book because I wanted to jump ahead…to something. I liked it and I think I would be interested in the next book, but this one fell a bit flat. I am hoping the sequel in the Something Dark and Holy series will pick up the pace and the excitement. I will be interested to find out if it does.