Naw. NAAAAW. You can’t be selling your soul like that after edging me towards a completely different outcome. If I do not see the intended ship come to a head in the second book I. WILL. RIOT.
KINGDOM OF THE WICKED
by Kerri Maniscalco
Little, Brown Books, October 2020
YA fantasy, paranormal
Rated: 3.5 / 5 cookies
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 will only admit this once, and ONLY once: I totally picked this book up because of the fanart. Particularly of Wrath, not gonna lie. I mean, NOW I’ll probably read further and finish this trilogy, because I can’t get enough of this particular demon prince, but ya know, I suppose I’m also sticking around because I need the endgame to result in a crowning. In Hell. Or I will RIOT.
The story was interesting enough, though: a witch and her twin sister are living in secret amongst humans in a quaint Sicilian town. Growing up with the whispers of how dangerous witch-hunters and the Wicked are, Vittoria and Emilia are fairly content living their life on the down-low, working in their family restaurant. That is, until Vittoria is brutally murdered, leaving Emilia with the need for vengeance.
Enter demon summoning, witch curses, and the sexy Prince of Hell that is Wrath, and boy oh boy, things get even more complicated for Emilia, who has truly no idea what she’s just stepped into. The only goal in mind is to find her sister’s killer and to mete out the punishment he so deserves.
Admittedly, I’m not a fan of Emilia, and I still have yet to warm up to her. I did cut her some slack because much of her decision-making is incurred through her passions, with wrath almost being her perpetual state. Funnily enough, when Wrath makes an appearance, though, Emilia’s righteous anger just seems to fall by the wayside, and I found it more aggravating when she continued to jump to conclusions, despite evidence pointing to a different outcome.
THAT SAID. She sure knows how to pick ’em. Wrath is his sin personified, and I’m wondering now if perhaps Emilia’s summoning him wasn’t entirely due to chance. It seems like too much of a coincidence that she just managed to summon one of the more dangerous of the Wicked (Wrath, Envy, Greed, and Pride), and then proceeds to encounter the other Princes in succession within the story. There’s definitely a lot more that hasn’t been said about Emilia and her background–especially with how apparently powerful the di Carlo women are.
But let me get back to the sole reason I will finish this series: Wrath.
He was death and rage and fire and anyone stupid enough to forget that would be consumed by his inferno.
Lest we forget how ridiculously tempting this guy is…
The minute this Prince of Hell appeared onto the page, I knew Emilia was done for. With the way she’d described him, you’d think she was talking about her favorite dessert. I mean, COME ON.
Golden skin glistened in the candlelight, the smooth perfection broken only by an assortment of shimmering ink. His beauty was an affront to what evil ought to look like.
Well, Emilia, you’re in luck. I certainly don’t mind having to imagine this particular sin as a sexy, tattooed bad boy in my head.
Once Wrath and Emilia got into their banter, it was hard to put the book down. I very much enjoyed the fighting and the flirting, and WE ALL KNOW how much of a Liar-with-a-big-fat-L Wrath is when it comes to not caring for the witch that summons him into her service.
“Freedom will be mine soon. If you are foolish enough to attack such a creature, I will not come for you.”
I stared up at him. “Good.”
Not Wrath saving Emilia soon after! Not Wrath taking care of her safety and helping her with Vittoria’s murder investigation! Definitely NOT WRATH dressing her in HIS gold and black colors to stake his claim!
DEFINITELY not Wrath just being overall filled with steamy, glorious tension as he eye-fucks Emilia every chance he gets!
But ya know, who’s counting?
The tension was delicious up until the end. Do I remember anything else besides the shenanigans that Wrath and Emilia were up to? Unfortunately no. Because at that point, I didn’t care so much about the mystery of the human world, not when there was much more drama going on in the supernatural.
3.5 out of 5 cookies! With how that cliffhanger ending went, I’m actually looking forward to Emilia’s destination, because it’s sure to be FIRE.