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Wicked Saints

(Something Dark and Holy #1)

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  21,403 ratings  ·  5,078 reviews
An instant New York Times bestseller!

“Prepare for a snow-frosted, blood-drenched fairy tale where the monsters steal your heart and love ends up being the nightmare.” -Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Gilded Wolves and The Star-Touched Queen

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide w
Hardcover, 385 pages
Published April 2nd 2019 by Wednesday Books
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Emily Duncan
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
The Wicked King by Holly BlackKing of Scars by Leigh BardugoNinth House by Leigh BardugoThe Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha ShannonThe Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare
Can't Wait Books of 2019
1,458 books — 3,994 voters
The Wicked King by Holly BlackKing of Scars by Leigh BardugoThe Gilded Wolves by Roshani ChokshiFinale by Stephanie GarberA Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
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862 books — 3,052 voters

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Average rating 3.71  · 
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chai ♡
Dec 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Ah yes, the place I truly dwell, a cold eternity of endless disappointment.

Fine. I’m just being dramatic (again). But seriously—being this sensitive is really inconvenient. Your most anticipated book of the year doesn’t live up to your expectations and you have to cancel your plans for the day to mourn.

So, what’s this book about?

For a century, Kalyazin and Tranavia bled great gouts of men into a holy war that served no greater cause than one country’s fear, and one empire’s hubris.


ARC given to me by my kind friend - Lilly at Lair of Books!

“If you fall to him the war will be lost. You have to live, Nadya.”

I’m going to be really honest with you all; I feel like Wicked Saints is the book of my heart. From the lyrical writing, to the cold atmosphere, to the beautiful themes, to the characters that I’d already be willing to give my life for; this book just felt like it was written for me. This debut fantasy, all about blood magic and a cleric who can speak to all t
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5/5 ⭐

Full review on my Blog: The Dacian She-Wolf 🐺

I don't know what's going on with this book but I'M LOVING IT.

I didn’t know what exactly was I expecting from this book because I was more curious than expectant, but it made me so happy that I picked it up, read it and enjoyed it that all I can say is that from now on I’m a fan.

“Don’t be a martyr. We have no use for yet another saint.”

As a Christian Orthodox, I can say that this gave me the exact same vibe that I get when I ent
Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰
“Blood and blood and bone. Magic and monsters and tragic power.”




Everything that has needed to be said has probably already been said about this book. I wanted to love this one so bad and what started off as a great exposition went downhill very fast. I'm still kinda just sitting here blinking... confused...unsure

copyright of all fanart goes to their amazing artists:
© ©

Is it really possible to be that bored?

Short answer = yes.
Long answer =

Wicked Saints is truly a
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs-read
((Savage SCREAM!!!))

That was SO GOOD!!!

Wicked Saints is the first book in a YA Fantasy trilogy aptly titled, Something Dark and Holy.

This was so dark and so damn holy.

A debut novel!? Say what!?

Y'all, if this is Duncan’s debut, she is definitely an author to watch.

I picked this up just prior to release day, as I was generously provided a copy by the publisher, Wednesday Books, to read and review.

I feel like I have been blessed.

The tone of this is hella Grimdark and we all know, I live for that
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Well look what came today on my Bday, April Owlcrate! As always, click on the link below the picture to see all of the amazing freaking goodies!





Thank goodness I loved the book! Let just give you a little skinny on the book first before I tell you WHY I love it.

The book starts out with a bang; action right out of the gates. We have Nadya, she's a cleric and has been hiding in a monastery forever! She has pow

To say that this book let me down is an understatement. It disappointed me in ways I didn’t know were possible. Is it me? Maybe. Is it the book? Oh, definitely. You’d better get your landing gear on, guys, because this is going to be a long one. Warning: gentle spoilers.

The biggest problem with this book is the worldbuilding, in part because the relationship between the gods and the people doesn’t make sense. The pantheon of gods in Wicked Saints is comprised of deities that can be quantified (
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
'we are all monsters, nadya. some of us just hide it better than others.'

this book is so seductively dark and holy, so gothically bloody, so cruelly romantic; and my black soul has never been happier. 🖤

the strength of this story is the magic, the ferocious yet satisfying magic. hands down. the characters are brutally intense and beautifully developed, but its how magic affects them and their world that is so captivating. the entire plot is driven by the opposing beliefs about the nature of m
Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink

“He was a liar and she wanted his truths.”

Trigger Warnings: Self-harm and parental abuse. The author has been very vocal about it – which I appreciate – so readers, just be aware before diving in. Please take care of yourselves!


Most clerics hear the voice of one god who grants them a particular power. Nadya, however, hears the voices of all the gods, and they all grant her power when she asks – which puts a target on her head. The opening pages immediately set the tone, wher
I felt one thing while reading this book. Just one:

This was a buddy read with the lovely Rendz. She is all around wonderful and I suggest you check out her page and her reviews! I had a great discussion with her on this book and there I realized that I might be, in fact, heartless because I gave very little mercy to this book. But hey, at least Rendz had better luck with it than I did.

I wanted to love this. I wanted so badly to fall head over heels for this book. I went into it expecting it to
Miranda Reads
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: owlcrate


New Month, New Tierlist BookTube Video is up - click the link to check out my August Reading Vlog!
The Written Review

Nadya lives in a world seeped with magic and she's one of the very few remaining "clerics" that can commune for the gods (and is granted their powers on occasion).

For as long as she could remember, her homeland (Kalyazi) has been at war with the heretics in Tranavia (blood magic).
“We're all monsters, Nadya, some of us just hide it better than others.”
When the Tranavia pri
EDIT: Okay, so, yeah, 2020 is a distant memory now and I did not even think about starting the second book. I guess that it's two stars then.

It took me a month to read this. And I mean a month to read, I was reading almost daily.


I was unsure of how to rate this book. On the one hand, I did not like it. On the other hand, I did like it a bit more than Serpent & Dove.
The first would make this two stars, the second probably two and a half, therefore, three to make the difference visible.
I've b
Emily Duncan
Aug 26, 2017 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Update 10.17.18: Hi! We have a cover! It's black metal as hell and I adore it! The book is also up for preorder if you feel so inclined! The link will lead to a landing page that directs to all major retailers. <3

Update 5.10.18: So the book is going into the world now and I wanted to note some content warnings. There's a blanket content warning on self-harm because this book has multiple blood mage characters and that rather comes with the territory. However, on page 350 (in the bound MS) the
unknown pokemon
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2-stars, young-adult
2/5 Stars


Instagram | rant on youtube


Ughhh, where do I start? Wicked saints was such a mess. I'm left picking up the pieces and I'm not okay with it.

Okay, so the pitch is this; A girl can talk to Gods, a Prince is at Death's door and a monster is looking for redemption. The three of them must ally to stop the war currently ravaging the two opposed countries.

This story is just so problematic on so many levels, I can't even mention it all b
Elle (ellexamines)
We are all monsters, Nadya. Some of us just hide it better than others.

It’s really been a while since I’ve fallen head-over-heels for a fantasy series in this obsessive, letting-it-take-over-my-time-for-a-week way, and Wicked Saints did that for me. I had one or two problems, yes, but overall, I was so completely engrossed in this novel and in this world.

→ worldly worldbuilding ←
Okay, so, this is Russian-inspired fantasy, with blood mages, and also clerics. The Kalyazi can cont
Apr 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-reads, e-books


Is this Flat Earth Society

Yes, how can I help you?

I found another evidence that the Earth is flat

Oh, wow. Enlighten us please!

So there is this book that is called Wicked Saints and the characters are so flat. They can't be this flat if the Earth is rounded

Oh, that's huge!! Can you give us more?

Yeah, check my full review here @The Book Prescription
Jan 19, 2019 rated it liked it
I am teetering between 3.75 and 4 stars for this review, so this rating is a placeholder for now.

I will be doing a full review and discussion on my channel which will be posted closer to release, and I will be talking about this briefly in this month's wrap up, but to hold you all over until then:

This book wasn't quite what I expected, but it is hard to live up to the hype one builds in their head when you've been waiting for a book for literal years. Because of that, I feel I'll be sitting wi
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
update — May 2020:
You know what? I've had a lot of feelings about this book over the last year. I initially gave it a pretty high rating, but then the author sketched me out on social media and I decided I didn't want to support her work while she was being unkind to other reviewers. A quick way to convince me not to support an author is to show me them attacking reviewers, because 1) I think of the reviewing community as one big, dysfunctional family that needs to stick up for one another, and
Chelsea Humphrey
I hate writing 3 star reviews. There, I said it. It's not because I don't think that they hold weight in the reviewing world, I just feel that those middle of the road reads are the most difficult to review without sounding like a 2nd grade book report. This book was fine. It was not great, but it was fine. Fine is how this book was. That said, I apologize for the following review and if it sounds repetitive and lacks flavor or conviction.

I'm between a 3-4 star rating here, but I think I'm going
Nenia ✨️ I yeet my books back and forth ✨️ Campbell

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest

DNF @ 25%

I bought this book on sale because it sounded like everything I love in fantasy-- oppressive regime, bad boy love interest, morally grey protagonists, dangerous magic. But sadly, this ended up being boring as all get-out and I found myself quickly growing bored and frustrated with the novel, skimming and skimming until I decided that, finally, I was unwilling to give it any more chances.

1. This falls under a genre that I call B
Ꮗ€♫◗☿ ❤️ ❤️
Awesome experience!

I loved the ending. The entire second half of the book was pretty darn fantastic for that matter. The first half moves a bit slowly, but it is giving you all the history and information to support the later parts and especially the ending. I have to say also that I love the titles to this book and the series. Something Dark and Holy rings true in the story. A holy war has been raging between the two countries of Tranavia and Kalyazin for over a century and it is a dark time fo
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
Finally! Whew! That book was bloody - those that read the book will understand.

This book took me a long time to read - much longer than normal. I picked this book up, I put it down, I read approx. six or seven other books while reading this book. My main issues with this book were: I liked it, I didn't like it, I lost interest, I became intrigued, etc. I felt as if I were on a teeter-totter(seesaw) while reading this book. Another review used the word "conflicted" to voice her thoughts on the bo
Jan 31, 2019 marked it as to-read
very excited for this
April (Aprilius Maximus)
May 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
I would die for Serefin and that's the tea. ...more
krista ☽✧
Jan 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
“We're all monsters, Nadya, some of us just hide it better than others.”

“Are we so different, Nadya?” He lifted his hand, fingers tipped with long claws, and pressed his thumb against her lips. “We both long for freedom. For power. For a choice. We both want to see our kingdoms survive.”

* krizzie is freaking out atm because of this book *

AHHH first I now have to have a huge panic and excitement attack from finishing this book because * internal screaming * this was a 5 star read and my heart is
Aliyah ♡ ♡
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
“What happens when a monster tries to become a god?”

Gosh, this book was such a ride. I wish I could say I liked all of it but the start was super slow. Though despite the rocky beginning, everything after was a masterpiece!
Wicked Saints is a pretty dark book and discusses issues of morality, religion and war through our 3 main characters which I have to say, were beautifully written characters.
Literally *chefs kiss*.
All three characters, Nadya, Malachiasz and Serefin all have opposing views an
Apr 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, 2019-reads, fantasy
Something dark and holy indeed.
❝ Some gods require blood. ❞

It is not every day that you come across a debut that would put to shame works of seasoned authors. Emily A. Duncan’s talent is otherworldly; through a blood-drenched combination of the sacred and the profane, through snowy landscapes painted with red and desecrated worship grounds, through cut-throat courts and ungodly romances, she weaves a sinister, haunting, deeply mesmerizing tale walking the line between damnation and salvation
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is... something i'll talk about in my vlog lmao. ...more
alana ♡
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
"And who are you that you can do what countless others have failed at over a century?" No one. Just a girl. Some small scrap of divinity. She shrugged. "I'm the first person who refuses to fail."

There's a new group of monsters in town and they're here for a bloody good time.

It's been a hot minute since I've been so invested in a fantasy book within the first chapter, but NOT ANYMORE. When I finished chapter one I knew this was going to be good and different than a lot of the other fantasy books
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“Emily A. Duncan was born and raised in Ohio and 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. She is represented by Thao Le ...more

Other books in the series

Something Dark and Holy (3 books)
  • Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy, #2)
  • Blessed Monsters (Something Dark and Holy, #3)

Articles featuring this book

As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of...
42 likes · 10 comments
“We're all monsters, Nadya, some of us just hide it better than others.” 125 likes
“Dazzle the monsters, Nadya. You've already charmed the worst of the lot; the rest should be easy.” 74 likes
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