Book Reviews

Book Review: Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

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..

Title: Wicked Saints
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Format: Hardcover
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2019
Rating: 1.8//5 Owls

Imagine the first MCU film you watched was Avengers: End Game. You come into the story in a world of loss and pain, with dozens of characters that you don’t know or understand. As the action starts and more characters are introduced you find yourself lost, confused as to why they’re mourning the loss of characters you’ve never met, fighting against enemies that you feel no ill-will towards, because you don’t understand their story. Why should you care who Thanos is? What is Scarlet Johannsen trying to accomplish? Who tf is Ant-Man?

That’s how this book felt. Immediately there’s action and excitement, but I found myself not caring about who won, who died, or who our hero’s were. There was just too much information too soon.

And about those “hero’s”

We have three main characters, the girl, the monster, and the prince.

Nadya (the girl) and Serefin (the prince) are our dual narrators for this story….but their voices sound exactly the same. I recently read The Girl The Sea Gave Back, and loved how it switched POV seamlessly and I knew exactly who was speaking to me. In Wicked Saints, I was really grateful that each chapter was labeled with the POV character because there’s no way I would’ve known otherwise.

In fact, I had to go back and check more than once to figure out who was speaking now because they sound EXACTLY THE SAME.

Dazzle the monsters, Nadya. You’ve already charmed the worst of the lot; the rest should be easy.

But let’s talk who these people are:

Nadya: she has the powers of the gods but she has to ask their permission before using their magic. Considering she was raised in a monastery with higher beings talking in her head, she’s surprisingly normal.

Serefin: the prince. He has daddy issues, a wicked scar on his eye, and is really good at blood magic. He just wants the war to end and to live in a better world than the one his father is trying to create.

Malachiasz: the monster. Nadya’s love interest/enemy he’s by far the most interesting character (probably because we don’t actually read from his POV). A blood mage with a mysterious past, Nadya and him have to work together despite their differences to try and end the war. Learning about who he really is and all his delicious secrets was really the highlight of this book.

I didn’t really understand the world building in this story either, or how their religious beliefs work. Is it really a belief system if there’s actual proof the Gods exist? Where is the war actually being fought? Where are the Salt Mines and why do I care what’s happening there?

There were so many unanswered questions and attempts to tie plots together that didn’t need to be. The majority of this book was building up to this grand moment, the big climax at the end of the novel, but everything about it fell flat. It felt rushed, and there was more magic and new characters introduced so suddenly that I had to reread it a few times to fully understand what was happening.

I don’t think I’ll be continuing this series, but I’m curious as to what Duncan writes in the future. I really liked the idea of this novel and think it was okay for a debut novel, but definitely not one I’ll be recommending to my friends anytime soon.

Have you read Wicked Saints? What did you think?

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan”

    1. I wish I listened to my friends before reading this one honestly. Not many people I know liked it either! At least my current read is good 💜

      Liked by 1 person

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