Title: Kingdom of the Wicked
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Published by: Hodder & Stoughton
Release date: 27th October 2020
Two sisters. One brutal murder. A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself . . .
A new series from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Stalking Jack the Ripper.
Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin . . . desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.
Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems . . .
Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for sending me a copy of Kingdom of the Wicked to review via Netgalley!
I had high hopes for this book. I hadn’t read any of Kerri Maniscalco’s other books before reading this (they’re on my TBR!), but I’d heard such high praises, and Kingdom of the Wicked sounded like something I’d adore. I mean, witches, magic, demon princes and mystery?! Yes please. But while it certainly delivered on some points, I unfortunately found it lacking in others.
Kingdom of the Wicked had a very promising and perfectly atmospheric prologue that drew me in — it set a dark and ominous scene which made me so excited to keep reading. The following chapters, however, I felt progressed too quickly. We didn’t have time to really get to know Vittoria or Emilia before the main plot kicked in, and I would have loved for them to have been a little more fleshed out.
I love a book with strong character development, and with the events of this book, I thought that it offered the perfect opportunity for this to happen. Unfortunately, I thought that Emilia’s character development was too rushed. I get that it kind of had to be so that the events in the second half of the book could take place, but I think her development would have been far more effective if we’d seen her develop gradually throughout the book instead of almost all at once in the first half.
Alongside this, I felt that many of the plot points were predictable. I’d guessed who the killer was before the reveal, and there were some twists that I could see coming. With that said, though, I did enjoy the storyline once I got stuck in. Wrath, I felt, was a very cliched character, but I still loved his and Emilia’s dynamic — the enemies to reluctant allies/maybe lovers energy was immaculate.
THE ATMOSPHERE of this book. While I struggled with the characters for the most part, I was completely hooked on how atmospheric this book was. It gave me the feeling of being inside a mysterious old house by the sea a while storm rages outside, and I loved that. This book is so perfect for this season, and it definitely helped me get into the spirit of October. One thing that really confused me, though, (and maybe this is just me being #Dumb lol) but I have NO CLUE when this book is set?!
Kingdom of the Wicked started to pick up for me around the 40% mark, when the mystery was building and the stakes were rising. I loved the combination of magic, and the intrigue of the demon princes. The ending would have been more incredible if we’d slowly seen Emilia develop into the person she becomes, but it still has me dying to see what’s next. Now that the characters and storyline have been established, I’m hopeful that I will enjoy book 2 even more.
Overall, Kingdom of the Wicked had its great points, its good points, and some that were slightly meh, but I am looking forward to see where the story goes in book 2.