TITLE: Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked, #1)
AUTHOR: Kerri Maniscalco
AGE RANGE: New Adult
PUBLISHER: Jimmy Patterson Books
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…
REVIEW ORIGINALLY WRITTEN: AUGUST 2022
“There are victors and victims. Decide who you want to be. Or the choice will be made for you, witch. And I doubt you’ll like it.”
After loving the Stalking Jack the Ripper series so much, I was beyond excited to pick up the Kingdom of the Wicked series, but when a slump prevented me from reading the first book right away, I decided to wait until close to the third book’s release date before starting it (so I could more or less binge the trilogy) — and I’m honestly glad that I did, because the end of this book left me so excited for the second one, and I have no doubt that I’ll be just as eager for the finale!
“Young women died. Life resumed. Such was the way of the world, at least according to men.”
First of all, this setting and the atmosphere? Incredible. Kerri made me feel utterly transported into this world, especially when describing the foods — I’m not sure any book has ever made me so hungry! I loved the lore playing out as we learned about the families of witches and their histories and superstitions, as well as learning about the Princes’ Houses and meeting a few of those Princes themselves.
“One day you’ll call me Death.
For now, Wrath will do.”
Speaking of those Princes, I’m going to go ahead and say it: you can fully count me amongst the shameless masses who are trash for Wrath, because I loved his character. This is the kind of enemies-to-lovers content I want: broody, irritable, grumpy characters who genuinely don’t want to enjoy the other’s company and would have no qualms about stabbing each other if it came down to it. Give me those high-stakes reluctant pairings, please! Wrath is a little flashy and over-the-top at times, but I eat that shit up, so I’m not complaining. The scenes with him were by far my favorite parts of the book and based on what I’ve heard about him in the next book, I am ready.
“At times my simmering rage was the only indication I was alive.”
The only complaint I had about Kingdom of the Wicked, and the reason it was a 4-star read for me, was Emilia’s character. I struggled a lot with the decisions she made and how wishy-washy she felt at times, plus she constantly put herself in the most ridiculous and compromised situations just because she refused to listen to anyone! I love a headstrong heroine, but I need a bit of common sense mixed in, and Emilia lacked a great deal in that department. That said, I was warming up to her by the end of this first book, so I have high hopes that she’ll be one of those protagonists that fully wins me over as the series progresses.
“Fear made monsters of men.”
While Kingdom of the Wicked may not have been a perfect read for me, I enjoyed it thoroughly and was fully captivated by the mystery and the action, as well as the slowly budding romance. By the end of this first book, I was hooked, and I’m actually planning on picking up the second book as soon as I finish typing that review because revisiting my notes has made me realize all over again how excited I am to watch this play out! I definitely recommend it for anyone who likes romantic fantasy novels with supernatural elements, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
WARNINGS (click to expand):
murder, mild gore, betrayal, sensual scenes with dubious consent involved
— destiny ♥