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Kingdom of the Wicked Book Review

Welcome to our first post of 2021 and my first review for a Fairyloot book! Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco was the featured book for the Wicked Hearts October theme, and I'm excited to finally have the opportunity to read and review it for you book witches.


*Major spoilers ahead*


Kingdom of the Wicked book review Coffee, Book, and Candle


Genre: YA Fantasy


Category: Spooky Read

Want to know more about how we categorize books? See our Lexicon for details.


Rating: 3/5 Stars




This book hooked me from the beginning with gorgeously dark and witchy descriptions, fast-paced dialogue, and a sprinkle of intrigue.


The main character, Emilia, is an Italian witch who basically grew up in the kitchen alongside her Nonna, parents, and twin sister, all of whom work at their restaurant Sea & Vine. Right off the bat, this book draws you into so many amazing food descriptions.


Like many bookworms, I am a sucker for food in books. Beware ye those with snackish appetites. I made a batch of spaghetti after reading the first few chapters.


The tension steadily builds throughout the beginning, starting with superstitious Nonna's mutterings of demons, followed by rumors of two dead witches not far from their village, and culminating in the death of Emilia's twin sister Vittoria, which launches Emilia on a mission of justice. This mission has her dabbling in dark magic that accidentally (and conveniently) bonds her to a hot, snarky demon.


I mean...




Emilia is, though. Very mad. All the time. So much angry packed into one little witch noodle.


For the first half of the book, this anger is fantastic. She stands up to demons, takes risks she never would have before, and accomplishes plenty without her demon guardian's help because she doesn't trust him enough to have him on board.


But.


This anger quickly becomes counterintuitive.


While I completely understand why Emilia doesn't trust Wrath, it would have been nice to see her come up with a strategy for investigating her sister's death that wasn't "run repeatedly into danger with no help, weapons, or plan and get mad at my demon guardian who has the audacity to rescue me every time."





The demon Wrath, whom Emilia is tied to, proves his trustworthiness time and again by giving her information he doesn't have to, assisting her in her quest for vengeance (even the parts that have no benefit for him), saving her in measures he really doesn't have to, and never taking advantage of her naivete by chaining her into any number of contracts or nefarious plots.


But oh no. How dare he save her. How dare he be a demon. And how dare he judge witches. You shouldn't judge someone by what they are!


By the third time Emilia needed rescuing, I was tired. She could have easily asked her demon ally for help, or at least formulated a plan or some kind of defense before leaving the magic-protected castle Wrath provided for her.


After everything Wrath does to help her, save her, guide her, Emilia gets herself into one last scrape, which Wrath shows up to save her from. He tells her he can easily teleport them away from the hordes of shadow demon attackers—the only catch is he'll be able to teleport her at will from that point on.


Granted, that could be a little shady, but after all he'd done to help with no gain for himself, plus the fact that he told her what the catch was, is it worth both of them dying to say no?


Yep, apparently it is.


Long story short, Wrath gets ripped to pieces while protecting her, and Emilia has the nerve to be upset.





When she can't immediately summon her demon protector that she doesn't even like back from Hell, her course of action isn't to a) wait around for the summoning spell to take effect, b) reach out to the demon or army of shapeshifters she knows is willing to fight the devil, or c) find her Nonna who dropped a ton of badass arcane info shortly before...


She picks d) marry the devil and sell her soul.


Also, Wrath comes back and she hates him again. Because...he took too long to materialize after dying for her?






TL;DR


I have mixed feelings. Am I glad I read it? To an extent, yes. The writing really is gorgeous. I love Wrath's snark. I'm intrigued by the concept and so on board with the dark, witchy, Italian atmosphere. To a certain point, I even liked Emilia and her vicious character arc.


Then it got exhausting. I'm curious about the next book and the implication that she's going to be a ruthless Queen of Hell.


We shall see.



Coffee, Book, and Candle Kingdom of the Wicked Fairyloot

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