Wicked Saints | By Emily A Duncan
(Courtesy : Goodreads)
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.
Narrative and plot
Wicked Saints is told from two of the main character's point of views. Despite, being a much hyped book, the story takes its sweet time to warm up to you. Before even starting to contemplate what is enjoyable and not, one cannot help but wonder at the masterful mind that built a whole fictional world and culture and dialects. In this case, even Gods and power politics. The amount of detailing and work in the world building is indeed enchanting.
Whether you like it or not, it definitely takes you on a journey in this magical world and makes you an eager bystander of the politics of magical power.
However, the book felt slow in the middle particularly those that featured it's central character Nadia. It makes you want more of Serafin and his narration because he seems more interesting than the supposedly main character who appears to be overtly doctrined and plain.
Characters and Conflict
This being a series, you can still hope.
Malechaeus was portrayed as this charming, disheveled bad boy who tempts you, like the forbidden apple but it felt half-cooked at times. Was he a mystery? Yes. Was he charming enough to shake someone as hard a believer as Nadia? Yes/No/Maybe. Puzzling as he is, Malachaez remained an enigma till the very end. He was never dull and you wish he had a chapter of his own.
As you've guessed by now, Serafin had been the saving grace of the entire book. Perhaps, it was the narrator, who made him absolutely enjoyable. Serafin was charming even when he didn't try, witty and rational among them all. Unintentionally it was Serafin who constantly questioned what was around him, could see through his circumstances rationally and genuinely wanted to try. Even a spin off with Serafin and his company on journey would make an interesting read. Serafin was what you wish Nadia would have been.
The conflict was one of the oldest tropes in fiction - good vs evil. Only question is what is good? It takes good writing to get you invested in plots that had no major takeaway for you in real life. Yet, this mysterious world of wicked saints sucks you in with its magic.
Overall, this is an intriguing and thrilling read. A book that would leave you wanting for more and one that you would want to come back for when the next one is out. The ratings are merely based on the wish that the main character was just a little bit more elevated. You don't want another damsel in distress. You want someone who can think for themselves and act on it. Someone who owns who she is.