Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1)
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Rated W for wickedly dark and twisted princes that bend you to their will and you’re unsure if you mind.
One brutal murder.
A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…
And an intoxicating romance.
Emilia and her twin sister, Vittoria, have grown up on the dark legends of the devil and the princes of Hell. The way they twist and manipulate to get a person to give up their soul. So, as streghe, the girls have done their protective spells since they were young and worked in their family restaurant.
One evening, Vittoria doesn’t return for dinner service and when Emilia finds her she is dead, with her heart ripped from her chest. She isn’t the first witch for this to happen to. Devastated and distraught, Emilia wants vengeance. What she didn’t expect while seeking it was meeting Wrath, one of the princes of Hell that Nonna warned against. Though Wrath swears he didn’t kill her sister and is also tasked by his master to find the murderer, Emilia still doesn’t trust him. When it comes to the Wicked, nothing is certain.
First off, the cover is absolutely stunning and the map on the inside cover is mesmerizing. It takes on a glow that makes the interweaving of the story’s main and subtle pieces, such as Wrath’s tattoos and Emilia’s spell, is gorgeously chilling.
I was immediately pulled in. At first, I was attracted by the little whispers of how good this was and its attractive cover—I know, cliché—and was lucky to have it gifted to me for Christmas. The imagery as well as the cultural pull of Italia is incredible and beautiful. Tying that into magic and Hell’s demons amid a country of Catholicism made this quite the gem. Two strong contrasts that had me digging for more. This book was dark juicy!
The writing style did come off a bit too predictable. I already had an idea of where this book ended so I wasn’t too surprised. I still enjoyed the ride though. At times the writing seemed to lack attention and came off blander than other parts.
Nonetheless, the back and forth between Emilia and Wrath was lip-bitingly delicious. Sure, shipping somebody with a sin/Prince of Hell isn’t the best since he is evil and coniving and devious and many others things, but I’m feeling along the lines of ‘I don’t care’. LOL. The banter driven by each of their dark and heinous goals and how they clashed over each of them was nothing but ferocious fire. Though comical at times, the dialogue was quite spicy. I fell in love with their chemistry from the get-go and I don’t even care that Wrath (and his brothers) were basically men from the covers of those mass-market historical romances—long hair, ridiculously buff, and typically shirtless with a “Devil may care” attitude.
Outside of this addictive ship, I wasn’t too attached to the story. The entire idea is eye-poppingly intriguing. However, as I read further with each chapter the story became stretched out and repetitive as it went on. Vow of vengeance, argue with a Prince, storm off, get into trouble that leads to needing to be saved. Granted, each reason Emilia needed to be rescued was new rather than her falling for the same trap. Still, it was like she didn’t learn any cleverness or possibly even care about the reckless situations she kept getting herself into. She kept falling into the damsel category recklessly.
That doesn’t mean I hated Emilia. She was willing to do whatever it took and dove into the unknown to avenge her twin. As dumb as that is, it’s also incredibly brave. She risked a lot because she loved her sister so much. I found that beautiful.
Could this have been better written? I believe so in some places that felt thin. Am I totally amped up to read the next one? TOTALLY!!! I can’t wait! Most of my pickiness didn’t come from the plot and storyline itself. That was phenomenal and the imagery and worldview of Sicily were incredible. Emilia is a force to be reckoned with and the Princes of Hell are in for a ride. She is definitely one who doesn’t accept defeat and the final lines of the book really solidify that. I look forward to seeing what kind of Hell Emilia can give in the next installation of the series.
“There are seven demon princes, but only four di Carlos should fear: Wrath. Greed. Envy, and Pride. One will crave your blood. One will capture your heart. One will steal your soul. And one will take your life.” (Nonna, p. 3)
“Memories, like hearts, can be stolen.” (p. 45)
“When witch blood spills across Sicily, take your daughters and hide. The Malvagi have arrived.” (p. 49)
“This was not the kind of prince written about in fairytales.” (p. 85)
“Why do villains always wear black?” (Emilia, p. 216)
“Werewolves are like puppies. It’s hellhounds you need to watch out for.” (Wrath, p. 218)
“There are victors and victims. Decide who you want to be. Or the choice will be made for. You, witch. And I doubt you’ll like it.” (Wrath, p. 276)
“Being a realist didn’t mean I was a defeatist.” (Emilia, p. 335)
More to come soon…
Song Today? Going Under by Evanescence.
Thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments below!
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