Saturday, March 30, 2019

#ARCReview: Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

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Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: April 2nd, 2019
Format: egalley
My Rating: 
GoodReads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
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
I heard a ton of people talking about this book, that I thought it was super interesting. I was pretty excited when I got the chance to read it ahead of its publication. The book is touted as kind of a fantasy Joan of Arc, which I guess makes sense, but there are a lot of gods in this book and it's not really that clear why Nadya is the only Cleric that can talk to all of them. I think this is somewhat explained by the end of the book, but I still have a lot of questions. This is a series, so I expect I will get those answers later on.

I really liked the world building in this book, and I liked reading about the two cultures that had been waring forever. It was also cool to show that what they are doing affected other cultures too, like the Akolans. I felt like that culture was a touch inspired by Indian culture, but it's not explored enough and I wanted a little bit more about them and why Parijahan and Rashid got mixed up in all of this stuff. I definitely wanted more about these characters, although I did love that Parijahan was protective of our main protagonist Nadya. Serefin who at first is the villain is a complex character, but I can't really talk about him much without giving away massive spoilers. Just know, he's not a complete jerk!

I'm a little conflicted about the romance in this novel. I was getting nervous that there was going to be a love triangle, which I hate. The jury is still out after the end of this first novel, but I really hope it doesn't happen. I liked the romance in this and it absolutely gutted me at the end when what happens...well happens. (I'm being purposefully vague here because I don't want to give anything away.) I could really feel the anguish that the characters felt, so Duncan really made me feel a lot of things about this novel.

The conflict of blood mages vs Clerics was super interesting to me. I feel like every fantasy thing I read always has something to say about Blood Mages. I really should trust my instincts, when it comes to blood mages is all I really can say. I thought it was interesting that they are really not that different from each other. I loved the descriptions about the nightmare blood mages, The Vultures. They were so creepy and made my skin crawl, which is exactly what the author was going for with them.

I do think the book was a little slow at first, and it took me a little too long to get into it. I felt like it did drag its feet a little bit too much and there were parts were I just wanted to get to the action. I think the story is interesting, but I still have a lot of questions at the end of just what the heck happened. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt since this is a series.

*I received an eARC copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Many thanks to Wednesday Books for sending me an eARC via NetGalley for my honest review! Quotes are taken from an unfinished ARC and may not match final publication

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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.Learn more by visiting her website.
Happy Reads Everyone!

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