Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1)
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Rated X because you won’t trust a single one of these people with your life unless you want to doom the world or yourself.
A girl named Nadya, who hears the whispers of the gods inside her head.
A prince surrounded by desperate suitors and deadly assassins.
A monster hidden behind pale, tortured eyes—and a smile that cuts like a knife.
Nadya has grown up in the monastery for most of her life, revering the gods, and she is the only known cleric that is able to communicate with all of them and not just the one she is bound to. After the monastery is attacked, she runs into a band of unexpected allies that seek to end the brutal war between Kalyazin and Tranavia, a god-fearing land and a godless one. With the high prince on their trail, it may seem tricky. But, the high prince is also trying to escape the suitors and assassins around him. A prophecy of dark magic and heresy that has been long known is put in motion and two countries may be in worse danger than this war never-ending.
I guess the perfect place to start with any review is stating right off the bat if you enjoyed or disliked a book, or at least that typically how I like to get started. To be honest, I’m not sure which direction I lean. Complex. That’s it. There was a lot of hype (mostly my own) about this book and it was even on the NYT bestsellers list for a while. This is one I’m going to want to reread later on. While the cover is completely mystifying and is really what attracted me—following the mini-blurb on the jacket inside the book—I really find that this story, this journey really stands next to those like LOTR (J. R. R. Tolkien), Mortal Engines (Phillip Reeve), and The Magicians (Lev Grossman). There is so much attention to not only detail but emotions.
War, religion, faith, and love are the strongest themes I came across while reading. The characters were always questioning everything as well as themselves, except for Rashid and Parijahan of course. Those two knew to the very point of their hearts what they wanted without a single drop of doubt. I truly loved those characters. Great for relief in intense moments and were proof that—in this book anyhow—there are people you can trust at face value because they’re upfront with everything with nothing to hide. Can’t guarantee anybody else in this book. LOL. Not even the main characters: Nadya, Serefin, and Malachiasz.
This story was pretty dark. It had me questioning every page. I certainly didn’t trust any of the characters. Serefin is obviously an alcoholic which really bothered the heck out of me. Nearly every time his POV came up he was waking up with a nasty hangover. Each of these characters really struggled, and I get that they live in war-torn countries, but damn, they are messed the eff up. It was making me go crazy.
The cult-y touch with the blood magic versus what the gods of this world provide was epic though. That had me impressed. That, and the histories offered at the beginning of each chapter. So much depth!
I truly wish I had more excitement. There’s so much to talk about, but I don’t have any enthusiasm in me about it, which is a bummer. I think it’s just because so much was loaded into it that I was having a bit of trouble keeping up and catching on. Duncan really delved into her creation of a world whole-heartedly and it’s amazing. This isn’t a dislike review. Those are much more different. This is definitely a recommend for those who love fantasy and magic. Certainly, worth a shot.
“The was magic, it was power, it was mankind stepping out of the shadows and finding out the world had been kept in the dark by these gods.” (p. 50)
“Blood was not to be spilled for the sake of power. Magic was a divine appointment from the gods.” (p. 113)
“A boy made king of monsters for a kingdom of the damned.” (p. 346)
More to come soon…
P.S. Song today? When the Darkness Comes by Grace Fulmer.
Thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments below!