Sin With the Best of ‘Em (Kingdom of the Cursed – A Book Review)

Kingdom of the Cursed (Kingdom of the Wicked #2)

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Published: 2021

On Goodreads

Rating:

Rated D for a devilish good time and a dangerous deception game.

One sister.
Two sinful princes.
Infinite deception with a side of revenge…Welcome to Hell.

After Emilia sold her soul to become the next Queen of Hell, she’s introduced to a dark world of temptation and vice that threatens to pull her apart. In order to avenge her sister, Vittoria, she accepts the hand of the devil himself.

First rule in the court of the Wicked? Trust no one. As Emilia uncovers a dark prophecy that could unlock more than just her powers. But, the more she discovers, the more she’s unsure of what path to choose. She’s finding herself more and more at home in the palace of Wrath which leaves her questioning herself. Keep moving forward, uncovering secrets and the answers she seeks, or fall into oblivion as the Queen of the Wicked? Hell, why not both?

Kingdom of the Wicked Reviews

Kingdom of the Wicked

And the coil that is Emilia and Wrath tightens! As if it wasn’t enticing enough to see Emilia actually dragged to hell, or rather, walked, the two of them circle each other like lions, unravelling. Talk about enticing! Especially as Wrath’s hidden emotions are broken down little by little, revealing so much. Just the small tidbits about the care he takes with Emilia and how he lets slip his jealousy goes so easily unnoticed is delicious. There’s a push and pull between these two and it’s entertaining! I can’t say they have the best romance, but it sure is on its way. The two just have a long way to go before they really fall for each. It’s still just a game for them. On the plus side, I can definitely be glad it’s not toxic.

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This book definitely explored Wrath a little bit more, showcasing why and how he can be as distrustful as Emilia. Hell plays on secrets and exploits them at every corner. Getting to see more of that was fantastic. It’s the type of more you hope to see in a sequel.

Also, the little reminders that Emilia will find no real and true solace or niceties are grand. I find it refreshing. It’s not constant torture that she suffers, but it is a reminder of where she is. Not only is that useful to her but to the reader. It’s so easy to get lost in this dark and enrapturing world that it’s possible to forget it’s Hell. LOL. Though, amid its dark and deadly, there’s quite an allure that Maniscalco has created with her rendition of Hell. And the celebration of Lupercalia got me all kinds of thrilled and chilled!

Speaking of Lupercalia, the way the celebration divulged the depths of the princes and their sins was divine. Both stunning and disturbing, which is quite unique. As entertaining as it was for Wrath and Emilia to bat at each other and flirt tenaciously, I was outright enthralled with the celebration. Every page hung over me like a hazy dream. It was hard to pick a favorite Prince.

Side Note: A novella on each prince would be divine.

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So, of course, as I was getting really into this new world, it was hard to handle Emilia making such drastic and deadly choices carelessly. I’ll hand it to Maniscalco for getting me so invested. I just have to imagine all of these choices will play an even bigger part in the next book because right now, Emilia is wreaking nothing but chaos. That, and she and Wrath will finally come together as partners and lovers, instead of only egging on each other’s rage and frustrations. I say that while keeping in mind of Wrath’s big secret being revealed. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil, but I did have to pick my jaw up off the floor and reread the whole section.

Emilia’s desperation for a vengeance was even stronger than before. So strong, that she was ready to wed the devil and wouldn’t shut up for a second about. A Woman with a bone and she really liked to hit people with it. Sadly, I feel like it took too long to get to the main point of this bit. However, as she played at this time and time again, I did take quite a liking to getting to know the side characters more. I love me some side characters. LOL. And, Fauna and Anir were whimsical but still held that edge of tempting danger.

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While the take on Hell was quite unique and fantastical in its realm, there were still parts that broke the reverie of it. Like, being under a spell and it breaking. It was a 50/50 shot of whether or not you let yourself get lost in it. For the most part, I did. I was actually wondering if I’d get to see Hell or if it would just be talked about. But, Maniscalco dove right in like Ms. Frizzle, and said, “Here we go!”.

There were just parts that either overreached or were under the bar. The scenery was vivid for sure, but that didn’t fix the believability in some areas of the book. Same to be said about part of the plot as well. Some parts felt stretched out or came off as just filler and useless. Noticing both of these doesn’t thrash how I feel about the writing itself which was outstanding. My attention was definitely kept and a smirk was always playing on my lips as I kept yearning for those Wrath/Emilia moments. Can I call them Wremilia or should it be Emath? Wramilia? Hmmm, this ship name needs work.

Overall

A great follow-up that took Emilia’s story one step further. Now, what I can’t wait for, is what could possibly come next. What a sinful and devilish thing it is to be forced to wait.

Quotables:

“Let me clear up any confusion. You’re very enjoyable to look at. And on some occasions where logic fails I may desire you, but I’ll never love you…” (Emilia to Wrath, p. 40)

“Why is it whenever a man throws a tantrum a woman is blamed for his poor behavior?…” (Emilia, p. 77)

“It’s every woman’s dream to be likened to a natural disaster.” (Emilia, p. 111)

“Fate may deal its hand, try encouraging our path or intervene, but we are ultimately free to choose our own destiny. Never doubt that.” (Wrath to Emilia, p. 150)

“Of course. There is nothing more dangerous than a woman who owns who she is and apologizes to no one.” (Emilia, p. 322)

“Bravery might be the absence of fear in most cases, but it also seemed a little like acting foolishly for a good cause.” (p. 395)

“Every villain thinks themselves the hero. And vice versa. In truth, there’s a little villain in each of us. Depending on the circumstances.” (Celestia, p.409-410)

More to come soon…                                                                                               

  -K.

Song Today? Devil’s Side by Foxes

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