megs_bookrack's Reviews > Wicked Saints

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
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it was amazing
bookshelves: arcs-read

((me: savage SCREAM!!!))



That was SO GOOD!!!



Wicked Saints is the first book in an all new 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.

Basically, in this world, a Holy War has been raging for centuries between two kingdoms, Kalyazin and Tranavia.

The narrative alternates between three perspectives: Nadya, Serefin and Malachiasz. The world is vast and complex, yet feels like nothing to learn.



Last week I reviewed another YA Fantasy book, I won’t name here, but I mentioned how I felt like I needed to be taking notes as I was reading.

That shook me out of the story and made it hard for me to connect. With this book, even though vastly more complex, I never felt that.



Whilst reading Wicked Saints, I felt like I was living these events along with the characters. I never felt that I didn’t understand what was going on or how the world worked.

This, to me, is a sign of a great fantasy construct; well thought out and balanced. Even though this story takes place in a world that is being created from scratch, it's not overwhelming.



Nadya, the main female protagonist, is the most fascinating to me. She was raised in a monastery in the mountains, where clerics and others were able to commune with their pantheon of Gods.

Nadya is very special in that she is able to commune with all the Gods and can even gain magical powers from them. Most interesting is the fact that the Gods literally talk to her.



Depending on the situation, and what powers she may need, she asks particular Gods for help.

The Gods are all developed with their own personality and they can offer up guidance, a friendly chat or just be silent.



I love this aspect! It made me think of the Disney animated movie, Hercules, with all the different Gods you meet; so much fun.

It is a very unique element. I have never read anything quite like this in a YA Fantasy before.



Due to circumstances I won’t get into here, Nadya is forced to flee the monastery, fearing for her life. Once on the road, she bumps into a traveling trio that includes another of our main characters, Malachiasz.

Malachiasz is a complex character and a little difficult to explain. Let’s just say, he was once part of a very dangerous and secretive order of powerful blood mages called the Vultures.



I know, right!?

Doesn't that sound creepy and ominous AF?



Yep. The Vultures are creepy masked guys and gals with the most murderous of intentions. They are so scary and powerful that they are referred to as ‘monsters’ by people outside the sect.

Malachiasz is a defector from the sect, the only person known to have done so and survived. He confesses this to Nadya and tells her that he is essentially on the wrong side of the law in Tranavia.



Our final main character is Serefin, the crown Prince of Tranavia.

He has been leading armies for the past few years in the never-ending war with Kalyazin, but has recently been summoned home by his father, the King.



Serefin is convinced his father has one goal in mind, to take him out. Is he just paranoid or does his father really intend to kill him?

It is clear the King isn’t playing with a full deck and he is quite volatile; whispering around with the Vultures.



When Nadya, Malachiasz and their traveling companions arrive in the capital city, set on stopping the war, whatever the cost, they come into contact with Serefin and begin to wonder, exactly whose side he's on?



The writing in this is so delicious. Dark and gothic from the very start! If you love that kind of story, set in a harsh and unforgiving world, you need to pick this book up.

It's so compelling, I just know there is going to be a huge fandom for this story, this world, these characters and this author!



I am so excited to see where Duncan is going to go with this story. I just can’t even imagine what ultimately is going to happen. There are so many ways it could go, all of them bloody and brutal.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Wednesday Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity and will definitely be buying a finished copy for my collection!
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Reading Progress

November 6, 2018 – Shelved
November 6, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
March 31, 2019 – Started Reading
April 1, 2019 –
4.0% "...now that's how you start a book!

"
April 2, 2019 –
13.0%
April 3, 2019 –
28.0% ""
April 4, 2019 –
37.0% "...so the King is a dick. Big surprise there...

"
April 5, 2019 –
54.0% "O.M.G!!!!
This is getting so intense. I have no idea what is going to happen!!!!

"
April 6, 2019 –
72.0%
April 6, 2019 –
76.0% "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

"
April 8, 2019 –
88.0% ""
April 9, 2019 –
92.0%
April 12, 2019 – Shelved as: arcs-read
April 12, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-24 of 24 (24 new)

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message 1: by Kat (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kat Ooo.. looking forward to your review of this one!!!


megs_bookrack Kat wrote: "Ooo.. looking forward to your review of this one!!!"
Thank you, Kat!!! :)


Catherine It's one of my most anticipated 2019 books too, I really hope it lives up to our expectations!


Fafa's Book Corner Cool! So am I actually. Do you wanna buddy read next year?


megs_bookrack Catherine wrote: "It's one of my most anticipated 2019 books too, I really hope it lives up to our expectations!" Me too!!!


megs_bookrack Fafa's Book Corner wrote: "Cool! So am I actually. Do you wanna buddy read next year?" Yes!! That would be fun! I wasn't thinking of starting it until March though because I have a bunch of other things to get to before then...


Fafa's Book Corner @meg_bookrack That sounds good! I’ll DM you soon with details. So that we can at least plan something.


message 8: by Diana (new) - added it

Diana Rose #omgmustget


message 9: by Kat (new) - added it

Kat Valentine Fabulous review megs!💖😉


message 10: by Megan (new) - added it

Megan Oh good...I've been hearing mixed reviews. Needed something to sway me to continue reading. Thanks for this! :)


megs_bookrack Diana wrote: "#omgmustget" I hope you do and I hope you love it as much as I did, Diane!!!


megs_bookrack Kat wrote: "Fabulous review megs!💖😉" Thank you so much, sweetie! xo


megs_bookrack Megan wrote: "Oh good...I've been hearing mixed reviews. Needed something to sway me to continue reading. Thanks for this! :)" I hope it turns around for you, Megan. It is definitely divided on the reviews. It seems people either love it or really don't. I loved it from the very beginning. That type of grimdark fantasy is my jam! I look forward to hearing your final thoughts. xo


Kristin I'm almost done with this one and I'm loving it, I don't think I've seen a review that sums up how I feel about it like yours has.


message 15: by Paula (new)

Paula Terrific review, Meg!


megs_bookrack Kristin wrote: "I'm almost done with this one and I'm loving it, I don't think I've seen a review that sums up how I feel about it like yours has." Kristin! This makes me so happy. Thank you. I look forward to seeing your thoughts once you are done. xo


megs_bookrack Paula wrote: "Terrific review, Meg!" Thank you so much, Paula! I appreciate that!


message 18: by Ɛɾιɳ (last edited May 16, 2020 09:12AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ɛɾιɳ Fantastic review!! I adored this one, too (I got a copy from Owlcrate). Like you said, it's super impressive as a debut. Emily Duncan is absolutely amazing.

I received an eARC from Netgalley for Ruthless Gods months ago but haven't started reading it yet (ridiculous, I know) but I'm getting to it very soon! It'll be my next fantasy read after The Silvered Serpents (also received from Netgalley many moons ago) 😁


megs_bookrack Ɛɾιɳ wrote: "Fantastic review!! I adored this one, too (I got a copy from Owlcrate). Like you said, it's super impressive as a debut. Emily Duncan is absolutely amazing.

I received an eARC from Netgalley for ..."
Same! I received and ARC of Ruthless Gods last year and just started it a couple of days ago. It's wicked good! xo


Ishmeen Yaaaas I love this book! Glad you liked it :)


megs_bookrack Ishmeen wrote: "Yaaaas I love this book! Glad you liked it :)"
I'm so excited for the third one, but will definitely need to refresh my memory by the time it releases!


message 22: by Brittany Lee (new) - added it

Brittany Lee Lovely review!
This author on Twitter is quite something! Her tweets are snarky and hilarious! And when someone tries to cross her, I LOVE seeing the intellectual wit she fires back. I highly admire her, I've been waiting to read her books though. Seeing her process on Twitter before they came out was a really neat thing to watch and see what frame of mind she was in as she was writing the trilogy. I really must pick these up soon. Thanks for encouraging me sooner than later!


megs_bookrack Brittany Lee wrote: "Lovely review!
This author on Twitter is quite something! Her tweets are snarky and hilarious! And when someone tries to cross her, I LOVE seeing the intellectual wit she fires back. I highly admir..."

Oh, really!? That's so interesting, Brittany. I actually don't think I follow her on Twitter; I will go do that now! Thank you so much! xx


message 24: by Brittany Lee (new) - added it

Brittany Lee Exciting! :) You are most welcome!


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