BLOG TOUR REVIEW: Wicked Saints – by Emily A. Duncan @WednesdayBooks

Hello and welcome to my little stop of the Wicked Saints blog tour! A huge thanks to Meghan Harrington for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I fell in love with the cover and blurb as soon as I first heard about this book, so of course I had no other choice but to accept joining the tour. And I can say it was a good decision… Want to know why? Join me while I share my thoughts on Wicked Saints!

Title: Wicked Saints 
(Something Dark And Holy #1)
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Magic
First published: April 2nd 2019
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Finished reading: March 17th 2019
Pages: 400

“We are all monsters, Nadya. Some of us just hide it better than others.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Wednesday Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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Every once in a while you come across a book with a cover and blurb that will blow you away completely. A book that will have you looking at your calendar longingly until the day arrives when it’s finally published. You might also luck out, and be invited to read it early and join the blog tour to help spread the love… This is exactly what happened when I was approached to read Wicked Saints. A dark, bloody and gothic fantasy story with superpowers, mysterious saints and an assassination plot to kill a king… What more to wish for in a story? This debut without doubt met my expectations and I already can’t wait to find out what the sequel will have in store for us.

So what made this story work for me? The first thing that stands out is just how delightfully dark and gothic Wicked Saints is. This story isn’t for those with a weak stomach and blood, violence and monsters are a constant presence in the plot. This dark and disturbing atmosphere sets the right tone for this wicked beginning of a new fantasy series… The setting itself adds to the overall atmosphere. The two main countries at play, Kalyazin and Tranavia, are clearly inspired by Poland and Russia and I liked the little references to names and culture. Would I have liked to see the worldbuilding more developed with more descriptions to make it truly come alive? Most definitely. It would have given Wicked Saints that little something extra that would have made it in an instant favorite… But I was still more than happy with what I got.

I also really liked how Emily A. Duncan incorporated religion into the story, with a clear difference between the Kalyazi culture and their magic by praying to different gods on one side and the Tranavians using blood magic and being called heretics on the other. It was interesting to see this theme evolve during the story, especially in Nadya’s perception of the world as she no longer find herself in the sheltered monastery and learns to put things in perspective. I liked the idea of ‘light and dark’ magic and how it was developed. The blood magic and the vultures are basically the perfect villains of the story, but like in the real world, definitions are messy and there is not just one villain and side to the story.

Wicked Saints has a dual POV, where the story alternates between Nadya and Serefin. They initially represent the cliche good and evil in the world, but as we get to know the characters better we learn that conclusions are not that easy to draw and things are not black and white but rather grey. I’m personally a big fan of the characters and their development. Not only Nadya and Serefin, but especially Malachiasz as well all turned out to be a fascinating characters. I admit there were some cliches involved and I can’t do anything else but agree there are certain similarities between Wicked Saints and the popular Grishaverse, but personally I wasn’t all that bothered by that. The dynamics between the different characters are great and the secondary characters are mostly well fleshed out as well.

As for the romance… Do I wish the story didn’t go down that road? Probably. Wicked Saints is pretty mild on the romance though and we are spared a love triangle (or at least for now), so that is most definitely a bonus. This is by no means a sappy fantasy story and most of the plot is black and gothic to the core. It’s my kind of fantasy, where the wicked and powerful get a leading role and are ready to kick ass. I loved the duality of this story; between the different countries, cultures and light and dark magic. It is a story with a fascinating premise and a lot of promise for what is yet to come, and without doubt recommended to those who enjoy darker YA fantasy stories with strong main characters.

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.

SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: https://eaduncan.com/
Twitter: @glitzandshadows
Instagram: @glitzandshadows
Tumblr: http://glitzandshadows.tumblr.com/

BUY LINK:

https://static.macmillan.com/static/smp/wicked-saints/


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WWW Wednesdays #214 – March 20th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m finally reading The Dry by Jane Harper, an author I’ve been meaning to try for ages now and it’s definitely living up to expectations so far. I’m also starting my latest TBR jar pick Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt… I’m going to finish my Spanish reread of the fourth Harry Potter book Harry Potter Y El Cáliz De Fuego first though as I’m having too much fun revisiting their world.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith (2/5 stars) REVIEW 
I really wanted to enjoy The Fourth Courier and it initially had all the signs I would. But between the chaotic plot, too many characters, sexist comments and negative stereotypes and cliches I ended up really disappointed by this story. I confess I probably would have DNFed if it wouldn’t have been an ARC… And I can’t say that reaching the final page was all that satisfying, with the forementioned negative comments and plot getting on my nerves every single page. Like I said before, I might have been the wrong target group here, so I suggest deciding for yourself if you want to give this story a try or not.

2. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 24/03
While I did find it an entertaining read in general I can’t say the story managed to blow me away completely. It was fast-paced and the writing is engaging and really flows, but I found the plot to be quite predictable and I saw most plot twists coming from a mile away. This lack of surprise was a bit disappointing, but because I was warned before starting Then She Was Gone I already saw this coming.

3. Verity by Colleen Hoover (4/5 stars) REVIEW 24/03
While not my all time favorite CoHo, I still had an excellent time reading this story. Some parts were a bit predictable and I did see some twists coming, but I think the shock of that ending made me completely forget about that. What a way to mess with our minds and leave us hanging like that! It’s an open ending that will most definitely leave you wanting for more and second-guess what you just read and thought was true. And aren’t those just the best feelings when reading this genre?

4. 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne (2/5 stars) REVIEW 28/03
There is one thing for sure: this story was most definitely not for me. Why? Let’s just say that the sheer amount of adult content and sexy scenes made me want to throw my kindle against the wall and run away screaming. I know this has everything to do with me and nothing with the book, but it did mean 99 Percent Mine and me started off the wrong foot… While I can normally tolerate a certain amount of steam if the rest of the story makes up for it (her debut proves that for example), I didn’t feel the plot or characters made up for those scenes in this case.

5. Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan (4/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 27/03
Look out for my thoughts during my stop of the blog tour on March 27th!! Spoiler: I really enjoyed it.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m picking up I Know You by Erik Therme next as I’m trying to make a dent in my NG shelves… And I’m not sure how much longer I can resist Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine as it’s one of my most anticipated releases, so I’m going to read that one soon as well even though I shouldn’t. I’m also thinking about picking up Fruit Of The Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras as I’ve been meaning to read it for a while now. And I have a new TBR jar pick! Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain… I’ve been saying I was going to continue the series for years now, so I’m glad my TBR jar thought it was about time I really made that happen.


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WWW Wednesdays #213 – March 13th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading another upcoming ARC: The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith. This story has a fascinating setting, but sadly isn’t really living up to expectations so far… I’m also starting Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell, a story I’ve been looking forward to. And guess who’s finally continuing her Spanish reread of the Harry Potter series! I’m at book number four, and will be reading chapters in between other books so it will probably take me a while to finish it. Harry Potter Y El Cáliz De Fuego it is!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Bones She Buried by Lisa Regan (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 21/03
Detective Josie Quinn has quickly grown into one of my favorite detective thriller series. I like my thrillers fast, entertaining, suspenseful and action-packed, and every single book has delivered exactly that so far. The main character is easy to like and meeting up with Josie Quinn is like visiting an old friend. Things can be said about the credibility of certain aspects of the plot and the fact that a LOT seems to be happening in such a small town and within such a small group of people. But I have to be honest here and say I was far too busy enjoying the ride to really think about it. This is one of those series you will find yourself flying through and it will be hard to let go before you reach the final page. The Bones She Buried is another scorcher!

2. The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 14/03
The Enchanted isn’t for everyone and if you are not a fan of magical realism I won’t suggest reading it. If you are open to the genre though, this story will prove to be a little gem. You will get swept up in the whirlwind that is this magical story and savour each and every single magical realism element that will help soothen the sometimes difficult and disturbing subjects as (child) abuse, violence and mental health. Rene Denfeld did a fantastic job combining the different elements, waving them together in such a way that will leave you speechless by the time you reach the final page.

3. Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga (3/5 stars) REVIEW 15/03
It might have been that I had set my expectations too high, but unfortunately I can’t say I was all that impressed by this story as a whole. It’s not a bad read and fans of character driven YA contemporaries will probably have a great time with this one. It’s not the writing either, which felt natural and I just loved the many musical references. But there was just something about the plot and characters that didn’t manage to convince me.

4. Smoke And Key by Kelsey Sutton (3/5 stars) REVIEW 
There were a lot of things I loved about Smoke And Key and this is by no means a bad read. There were just certain elements that really irked me and failed to live up to the fascinating blurb and fantastic beginning for me. The slow pace, the romantic elements, the love triangle, the predictability of the plot… All things that made me enjoy the story less than I thought I would. I still love the premise of this story as well as the historical setting, Under and its Corpse Bride feel characters and the magic among other things. It’s a very interesting story and I have no doubt this world will stay with me for a while.

5. The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl (4/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 22/03
Look out for my thoughts during my stop of the blog tour on March 22nd!! Spoiler: I really enjoyed it.

6. The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa (5/5 stars) REVIEW 15/03
The Travelling Cat Chronicles is the perfect book for anyone who enjoys being around cats. It’s so easy to relate to this wonderful story! The descriptions are wonderful as is the writing style in general… The characters will win over your heart in record time and will stay with you for a long time. Warning: make sure you have your tissues ready! Because the end will most definitely make you cry (I know I did, and I almost never cry).

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m going to pick up Verity by Colleen Hoover next no matter what… It’s been a while since I last read a CoHo book and I’ve been dying to read this one. I’m also going to pick up The Dry by Jane Harper after the weekend as a birthday present to myself… And I really need to read Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan as my blog tour stop is coming closer. My TBR jar pick is still Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt.


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