Melanie's Reviews > Kingdom of the Wicked

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco
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ARC provided by the publisher

"In the end, the monster we feared didn’t come from Hell. He came from privilege."


Oh, this review is going to be a wild ride. The range of things I feel for this book is very unreal. Listen, the atmosphere of this? The settings? The premise? I couldn’t get enough. Dare I even say close to perfect? And the plot had me so very invested in every single way. But this actual story and the plot conveniences, the characters and their lack of critical thinking, the obvious plot twists? The Lord might be testing me. The whiplash I felt while reading this was a full experience and deserves a star rating of its own, truly.

When you open this book for the first time, the prologue will transport you to a stormy night in 19th century Italy, where two little twin girls are being gifted very special necklaces while slowly learning their witch powers and history from their grandmother. There are seven demon princes but only 4 the witches should fear, but somehow their necklaces will keep them safe, even though they are instructed to never place them together.

"One will crave your blood. One will capture your heart. One will steal your soul. And one will take your life."


Then the story actually takes place ten years in the future, where Emilia and Vittoria are now eighteen-years-old, but we see how that night has shaped their lives for the last decade in so many different ways, but for sure centering on those necklaces that were entrusted to them. Both girls are trying to help their family with their restaurant, find and follow their dreams, and lead normal lives, but they soon find out that normal and safe and happy was never in the cards for them.

Again, I do not want to give much away, because I think I very much benefited from not reading the synopsis of this story. But the gates of hell are weakening, and their city and family are no longer safe. Not only do they have to worry about hiding the fact that they are witches, but now they have to worry about demon princes, witch hunters, and other creatures that go bump in the night! But Emilia is thrust in the heart of it all, with her witchcraft on full display, when she makes a deal with a demon when she is most desperate.

Together, Emilia and Wrath (be still, my BDB heart) are forced to work together to investigate brutal and mysterious murders that are happening, but they are both looking for clues for very different reasons. My favorite part of this book was truly going alongside Emilia and seeing all these different settings. From secret casinos, to her family’s kitchen, surprise palaces, spooky beaches, to the scary and dark corridors within the church, I couldn’t get enough of all the different adventures in all the different places.

"Grief carved me in half. And fury honed the pieces into a weapon."


I really loved the depiction of grief and depression in this book, too. How the weight of sadness can be unbearable, especially alone, when your world and future are taken from you right before your eyes. I also think Kerri Maniscalco did a really good job portraying not only the different stages that can be held within grief, but to also tell the reader that there is truly no wrong way to grieve. Heartbreak can be sadness and pain, but it can also be anger and revenge.

I also did really enjoy the romance and I think if you are looking to indulge in a new OTP that will remind you of 2015 then you are in luck with this one! I did enjoy Wrath a lot more than Emilia for the most part, but I feel like the plot convenience (and Emilia acting stupid) was the downfall of this book. I am not good at unraveling mysteries, but I truly unraveled this one instantly, I only wish Emilia could have a little sooner and it made the reading experience a bit annoying. Also, she gets upset at the strangest things, and wholeheartedly accepts the wildest things for no reason. I truly feel like her character was mostly used to move the book along conveniently instead of actually making her feel like a main character with depth and identity.

Also, I’m just going to say it, the grandmother in this book is one of the most infuriating characters I’ve read about all 2020. Like, regardless of prophecies, how are you going to be this mysterious with eight-year-old little girls and then really not fill them in on any blanks for the next ten years of their lives too? The grandma is really written to look like this cool and wise character who helps save the day, but I truly could not stand her or her shocked reaction when things would fall apart around her.

On top of the mysteries in this book being a bit of a letdown, I will also say that I felt like so many big events in this book kind of happened just for (hopefully) set ups for the next installment. I’m all for setting up things in early books, but it just kind of feels bad when absolutely nothing happens regarding these big chapters after the scene has ended. I feel like if this book felt more cohesive throughout, instead of just setting up for what is to come, I would have gotten so much of a higher rating from me, but I have to rate and review off the material that is given to me and it made for a bit of an infuriating reading experience.

"Man had a funny way of blaming the devil for things he didn’t like."


Overall, I couldn’t put this book down. Truly. And I would bet you a great sum of money that I will also pick up the next one, because this book ended on a very perfect cliffhanger set up that I greedily want to know everything about. This book really did give me nostalgic feels for some reason, it made me very hungry most of the time, and it made me truly never want to put it down. The writing is so easily consumable, and I really did fall in love with the setting and plot set up. I only wish it felt a little bit more like a full story and not just a set up book. I still predict that this book will do really well, and I think most people will have a very good reading experience with this with.

Trigger and Content Warnings: gore, violence, blood depiction, self-harm to get blood for spells, loss of a loved one, grief depiction, murder, death, brief mention of unwanted touching, and magical compulsion.

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Buddy read with Maëlys & Lea! ❤
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Reading Progress

July 21, 2020 – Shelved
July 21, 2020 – Shelved as: to-read
July 21, 2020 – Shelved as: arc
July 21, 2020 – Shelved as: historical
July 21, 2020 – Shelved as: young-adult
July 21, 2020 – Shelved as: fantasy
July 21, 2020 – Shelved as: witches
September 27, 2020 – Started Reading
September 27, 2020 – Shelved as: maëlys
September 27, 2020 – Shelved as: quarantine-reads
September 27, 2020 – Shelved as: read-in-2020
September 30, 2020 – Finished Reading
October 3, 2020 – Shelved as: vampires
October 3, 2020 – Shelved as: shifters
October 3, 2020 – Shelved as: romance
October 3, 2020 – Shelved as: demons
October 6, 2020 – Shelved as: buddy-reads

Comments Showing 1-31 of 31 (31 new)

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❀ Alex ❀ (The Scribe Owl) You got a copy?! So jealous! I hope you love it!


message 2: by Penny (new) - added it

Penny OMGOSH!! You're so lucky!! =O I'm just going to lurk waiting for your reaction <333


Melanie ❀ Alex ❀ wrote: "You got a copy?! So jealous! I hope you love it!"

i did! crossing everything for you too, bby. i hope we both love it a lot! 💕xx


Melanie Penny wrote: "OMGOSH!! You're so lucky!! =O I'm just going to lurk waiting for your reaction <333"

i'm telling you penny.... just come move to vegas after quarantine times, please! i love you, bby. i hope we both love this one! 💕xx


message 5: by Savannah (new) - added it

Savannah :O I didn't even know this was a thing! SO EXCITED


Melanie Savannah wrote: ":O I didn't even know this was a thing! SO EXCITED"

same! ahhh! i'm so ready for all the spoopy feels! happy reading! 💕xx


message 7: by Tonya (new) - added it

Tonya (Rustic Book Reviews) Have you gotten around to this ARC yet? I am very interested in your thoughts?


Nasi Are you me? I felt exactly the same. The story was so atmospheric and so compulsively readable. But then the MC drove me crazy.


message 9: by Kevia Campbell (new)

Kevia Campbell I didn't even know that it was at thing?


message 10: by Kim (new) - added it

Kim This makes me nervousssss


Adi Rocks Socks Oh no, only 3 stars? I’ll read your review after I’m done with the book, I’m currently in the process of reading it! 🙈


message 12: by Autumn Byrd (new) - added it

Autumn Byrd Oh no! I'm so sorry the MC wasn't more enjoyable! But I'm glad the atmosphere was enjoyable and hopefully gave spooky vibes.


Melanie Tonya wrote: "Have you gotten around to this ARC yet? I am very interested in your thoughts?"

i may have just wrote my review tonight... muahahah! 💗


Melanie Nasi wrote: "Are you me? I felt exactly the same. The story was so atmospheric and so compulsively readable. But then the MC drove me crazy."

RIGHT? like... i just wrote my review and i'm like "this is so hard bc i couldnt put it down... but no thinking was happening...." hahaha 💗💗


Melanie Kevia Campbell wrote: "I didn't even know that it was at thing?"

Hahahaha! I feel like it was unexpected! 💗


Melanie Kim wrote: "This makes me nervousssss"

no no it truly was such an un-put-down-able read... i promise! 💗


Melanie Adi Rocks Socks wrote: "Oh no, only 3 stars? I’ll read your review after I’m done with the book, I’m currently in the process of reading it! 🙈"

oh i hope you extra love it, bby! it truly was such a fun one! 💗


Melanie Autumn Byrd wrote: "Oh no! I'm so sorry the MC wasn't more enjoyable! But I'm glad the atmosphere was enjoyable and hopefully gave spooky vibes."

yessss, it really is such a good october read, bby. and it is the highest of 3 stars from me, because i couldn't put this down, truly. 💗💗


message 19: by Autumn Byrd (new) - added it

Autumn Byrd Melanie wrote: "Autumn Byrd wrote: "Oh no! I'm so sorry the MC wasn't more enjoyable! But I'm glad the atmosphere was enjoyable and hopefully gave spooky vibes."

yessss, it really is such a good october read, bby..."


At least you couldn't put it down! I'm so excited! Have you considered reading her other books?


message 20: by Penny (new) - added it

Penny Oh....oh no =O BUT! 3 stars! That's not a bad rating at all! It means you did enjoy it <333 Can't wait to read your thoughts!


message 21: by Tonya (new) - added it

Tonya (Rustic Book Reviews) Melanie wrote: "Tonya wrote: "Have you gotten around to this ARC yet? I am very interested in your thoughts?"

i may have just wrote my review tonight... muahahah! 💗"


I have so many order for this out lol. So many special editions lol. I am excited for the book but nervous since its new work for her.


message 22: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Santana-Banks I love fantasy books, although it sounds like Maniscalco did something different with the mold. I'll definitely be reading this book. Thank you for your review, Melanie!


Melanie Autumn Byrd wrote: "Melanie wrote: "Autumn Byrd wrote: "Oh no! I'm so sorry the MC wasn't more enjoyable! But I'm glad the atmosphere was enjoyable and hopefully gave spooky vibes."

yessss, it really is such a good o..."


you know, i REALLY want to read her other series now! hehehe! i also cant wait to talk to you about this one! 💗


Melanie Penny wrote: "Oh....oh no =O BUT! 3 stars! That's not a bad rating at all! It means you did enjoy it <333 Can't wait to read your thoughts!"

i cant wait to talk to you about this one! 💗


Melanie Tonya wrote: "Melanie wrote: "Tonya wrote: "Have you gotten around to this ARC yet? I am very interested in your thoughts?"

i may have just wrote my review tonight... muahahah! 💗"

I have so many order for this..."


ohhhh i wanna see your thoughts so much though! and i love all the book mail, i hope you love them all! 💗


Melanie Kelly wrote: "I love fantasy books, although it sounds like Maniscalco did something different with the mold. I'll definitely be reading this book. Thank you for your review, Melanie!"

no truly... it was very different and so atmospheric! i hope you love it, sweetheart! happy reading! 💗


message 27: by Simone (new) - added it

Simone Oh no, just 3 stars. That makes me less excited to start this one. Most of the time, we have similar opinions on books.


Melanie Simone wrote: "Oh no, just 3 stars. That makes me less excited to start this one. Most of the time, we have similar opinions on books."

this one was truly... such a reading experience because i had SO much fun while reading it? so i have hopes that you will enjoy it too, truly, sweet friend! happy reading, always! 💗


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