Book Review

Kingdom of the Wicked

Kingdom of the Wicked

  • Author: Kerri Maniscalco
  • Genre: YA Fantasy
  • Publication Date: October 27, 2020
  • Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
  • Series: Kingdom of the Wicked #1

TRIGGER WARNING: gore, depression

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book to review. I am providing my honest opinion voluntarily.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Two sisters.

One brutal murder.

A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…

And an intoxicating romance.

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… 

I’ve never read a book by Kerri Maniscalco before, and I was really excited to finally try one. I was certainly not disappointed. The writing was comfortable and natural, and I found it easy to get lost in the story. 

The story is set in Sicily, at some unspecified point in the past. Emilia and Vittoria are twins, and hide among the humans, avoiding threats like witch hunters and the Wicked, who are princes of Hell to be avoided at all costs. So when her twin sister doesn’t show up for her shift at the family restaurant, their overprotective and superstitious Nonna goes a little overboard with her suspicions, especially since other witches have recently been killed in the area. Emilia isn’t *too* concerned, since Vittoria is the wild child of the family. But when she finds her sister’s mutilated body, she is consumed by an overwhelming desire for vengeance that leads her down a dark and dangerous path. As she became wrapped up in her quest, she stopped doing all the things she used to do, and stopped working, stopped spending time with her family and friends, and even seemed to cut ties to her family in order to hunt down whoever was responsible for her sister’s death.

Emilia quickly becomes involved in dark magic, and crosses paths with Wrath, one of the Wicked. There’s an unexpectedly hot sexual tension that builds between the two enemies as they’re forced to work together. I was also pleasantly surprised by how funny the book was. There were plenty of spooky elements involved in the story as well — witches, demons, princes of Hell, magic, murder, and mystery, making it a perfect read for the month of October, without being too scary. Additionally, since the family owns a famed restaurant, the descriptions of food were descriptive and sounded so delicious that it made me crave Italian food to the point where I couldn’t keep reading without ordering some! So be prepared to get hungry when you start reading this.  

I cannot wait to read more of this series, and I’m hooked on Kerri Maniscalco’s writing. It had an authentic Italian flavor, not just the food, but the family environment, the language, and the customs. This book hasn’t even come out and I’m already so ready for book 2!

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 17

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