fantasy · Reviews

Review: Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Page count: 404

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: April 2, 2019

Genres: Fantasy, gothic, high fantasy, romance

Age group: YA

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 started out as a decent high fantasy that was fun when I was reading it, but I didn’t feel any kind of loss when I was busy with other things. But then I got about halfway through and WOW did it pick up! The first half walked so that the second half could sprint. The first bit felt like a massive prologue, but the plethora of twists and developments later make the slow beginning completely worth it.

First of all, I LOVED the setting and how it influenced the story. Kalyazin’s pagan Russian culture is an integral part of the story, not just a pretty backdrop to paint a picture on. It directly contrasts Tranavia, which is a comprehensive representation of Polish beliefs and ways of life. The Slavic folklore woven into the novel is new and refreshing and makes for an interesting read.

I am completely on the fence about how I feel about Nadya’s relationship with Malachiasz. Does she love him? Yes. Does she hate him? Also yes. And it’s not just an enemies-to-lovers arc. She simultaneously hates and loves him but like…in a weird way? He isn’t exactly toxic, but he certainly uses a lot of her light and lets darkness leach into her life. Literally. The metaphors aren’t that secretive. It just feels a little bit like he’s poisoning her. It’s hard to put into words but it just feels wrong. Maybe the next book will help it make a little more sense?

I can see why this book has such polarizing reviews (literally everyone I’ve seen has either given it five stars or two) but I personally would recommend it. If you don’t want to power through a slow beginning and weird relationships I get it, but the plot twists that I am not spoiling!!!! make it all worth it.

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