TITLE: Wicked Saints
AUTHOR: Emily A. Duncan
SERIES: Something Dark and Holy
RELEASED: April 2019; Wednesday Books
GENRE: YA Fantasy
KEY INFO: divine magic, gods, Russian & Polish inspired, holy war, romance, unlikely alliances
blood, self-harm (for magical purposes), magical torture, alcohol, war
Synopsis: 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..
Emily A. Duncan’s debut novel seemingly came out of nowhere to blow me out of the water with it’s beautifully written story of monsters, magic and holy war. Unlike many of you who are much more tuned into upcoming releases than me, Wicked Saints wasn’t on my radar at all until I was approached by the publishers, Wednesday Books, to take part in the blog tour. At first I wasn’t too sure as I had recently taken a little bit of a step back from YA books, but my curiosity was immediately piqued as particular phrases in the blurb jumped out at me: ‘a peasant girl who can speak to the gods and who is granted with magic’, ‘a deadly holy war with Tranavian heretics’ ‘blood magic’, ‘dangerous alliances’ and ‘unthinkable monstrosities’. Wicked Saints sounded like a fantastically dark fantasy written by a wonderful sounding author – a youth services librarian who likes to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through her interlibrary loan systems and who loves playing copious amounts of video games and Dungeons and Dragons.
My response? Hell yes, sign me up immediately.
Sadly, I haven’t yet been able to finish reading Wicked Saints in time for today’s blog tour stop at my little corner of the internet but I have no doubt that this is going to be receiving a shining 5 stars from me. So far, I’ve been blown away by the rich world-building that Emily has achieved, an intriguing and complex story, and characters which I am already falling in love with (especially Malachiasz *fans self*). As I can’t yet give you all a full review, here’s a little break down of some of my favourite aspects of Wicked Saints so far:
💫 An immersive Russian & Polish inspired world complete with folklore, religion, magic system, names and language
💀 The amazing array of gods in the Wicked Saints pantheon, each with their own fascinating back story and colorful characteristics which we become familiar with via Nadya and the Codex of the Divine found at the start of each chapter
🗡️ A young girl raised in a monastery who can speak to the gods, the Tranavian High Prince and his fearsome blood mage soldiers, and a boy with truly monstrous secrets who must try to suppress his true nature if he is to help turn the tide of the war
💥 A story which complicates the distinction between good and evil which provides morally grey characters who are forced into difficult situations and must continually challenge their values, opinions and beliefs
⌛️ Very reminiscent of other incredible novels such as The Bear and the Nightingale, Children of Blood and Bone, Tempests and Slaughter, and The Poppy War yet manages to stand strongly on its own two feet to sweep readers of their feet
If that isn’t enough to convince you to read Wicked Saints then check out an excerpt of the book here!
About the Author
EMILY A. DUNCAN works as a youth services librarian. She received a Master’s degree in library science
from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through
interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video
games and dungeons and dragons. Wicked Saints is her first book. She lives in Ohio.
My sincere thanks to Meghan Harrington, Associate Publicist at St. Martin’s Press and Wednesday Books, for providing me with an ARC of Wicked Saints and inviting me to take part in this blog tour. Wicked Saints will be out in the world on April 2nd 2019.