Hellooo lovelies! Happy friggin’ Saturday. Currently I’m home sick from work snuggled up on my couch with season 2 of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina playing in the background while I type this. I’ve finished my taxes and I feel like I’ve done enough adulting for the day. With that being said, I’m coming at you guys with another review! Spoiler alert, I loved this one too, but for different reasons than I loved Aurora Rising.
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.Now, my darling lovelies, let me explain why I loved this book so much.
As you’ve probably guessed, especially by my last review, I’m a sucker for world building. Where my last read was exceptionally large in scale, with alien species and a multitude of planets and space stations galore, this read did it on a bit of a smaller scale. It was very clear that the inspiration was Russian folklore and the author did such a beautiful job of introducing us to the religion (and lack thereof) of the people inhabiting this world. I’ve always enjoyed when authors shared information about the world through characters telling stories or in epitaphs (at least I’m pretty sure that’s what the little snippets at the beginning of chapters is called, excuse me I’m kind of doped up on cough medicine right now). Before each chapter we get glimpses at what other clerics went through in their devotion to their patron god/goddess. This was definitely one of my favorite parts of the book next to the characters.
I’m just going to let ya’ll know these are my murder children. My poor, sweet murder children. Nadya is the least murdery of the murder gang, but she has just as much snark and sass as the other members. I really loved her voice and how she didn’t start off as your typical YA heroine who’s unsure of her powers. She’s knows she’s blessed by the gods and she tries to live as true to the gods as possible, considering her situation. Malachaisz is my legitimate murder child. My poor, sweet, steamy boy is my favorite type of character — morally grey and all too handsome. I can’t really say too much about this character without going into some spoilers, but if you’ve read this you know!
THIS MAY BE A SPOILER (READ AT YOUR OWN RISK) His relationship with Nadya may seem like “Insta-love” but that’s completely off the mark. There’s a difference between love and chemistry, and their chemistry is very noticeable from their first few interactions. I much prefer this slow burn, painful, insta-chemistry situation we have gong. (END OF SPOILER-Y PARTS)
And I can’t forget Serefin and Ostyia and Jacper. The sass bucket trio of the whole novel. Serefin and Ostyia are two characters who have one of the most interesting friendships, especially considering I’m pretty sure they lost the sight in opposite eyes (hers I think is left and his is right? I could be wrong), so they watch each other’s blind spot. I found myself really drawn to Serefin and I kind of wish he had more page time…I mean you guys can tell me he had half the book to himself, but I would still say I want more of him.
The overall plot was really interesting to me as well. I love books that focus on politics and coups and court intrigue. Honestly this book had most of the things that hit most of my bookish buzz words, so it shouldn’t really be a surprise that I loved it so much. A ragtag group of misfits thrown together to try and usurp a king and stop a war to please/end/who knows what to the gods. It’s really kind of a whirlwind from start to finish, especially the last few chapters when everything starts coming together.
I can see how people would be turned off by the fact that yes, you may need to look up the translation guide for the characters, but I actually found trying to pronounce the character names kind of fun. I definitely would say if a lot of Russian names is intimidating, give it a try just for the wild ride you’ll find yourself on.
QUESTION: Do you guys love morally grey characters? Who are some of your favorites?