Blog Tour Review: Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Today is my stop on the Wicked Saints blog tour!

Title: Wicked Saints
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Genre: fantasy
Series: Something Dark and Holy #1
Pages: 385
Published: April 2 2019
Source: publishers for review
Rating: 4.5/5

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

Without doubt, Wicked Saints marks the arrival of a new talent on the fantasy scene. With her debut and the launch of a series, Emily A. Duncan ably crafts a tactile and immersive world, full of monsters and magic, gods and girls. From atmosphere to characterization, Wicked Saints is a finely-tuned work of fantasy/horror. The author clearly illustrates a keen eye for detail and a dab hand at plotting; this novel proves a good harbinger of things to come for fans of intricate, morally grey stories.

The slowly revealed world and central conflict at the root of Nadya's story is loosely based on the Hundred Years' War and is also vaguely Slavic in nature and tone. Despite these real-world influences, Duncan's countries of Kalyazin and Tranavia come across with a unique sense of place and history; their ongoing and escalating conflict is rooted in recognizable territory and feels as senseless as any real war. There's a solidity to the world that Duncan has fashioned for her characters to live within and it anchors not only Nadya but Serefin and Malachiasz as well. The verisimilitude of each of these countries is slowly built, by Nadya's stories and experiences and by Serefin's journey across both in pursuit of her. It's a world worth exploring and bursting with potential.

The characters in Wicked Saints live up to the high expectations wrought by comparisons to Bardugo. Duncan's characters are complicated and conflicted -- they may not always be likeable but they are always interesting and hard to predict. Nadya, Serefin, and Malachiasz are more than they appear to be and are more connected than it might seem. Their slowly revealed relationships make for another layer to the interactions between them.  This author has shown herself to be quite adept at uncovering and exploring the hidden facets of people.Even the secondary characters feel three-dimensional and real, though I could have done with more time spent with Parji in particular.

Wicked Saints stands out. It's unapologetic and angry; Nadya's emotions bleed out from the page and so does Serefin's. It leaves a mark when you're finished because it's memorable and harsh. A dark fantasy filled with blood magic, power, and an endless struggle. The magic systems could stand to be fleshed out some more but signs indicate that more on the front will be present in the sequels. Emily A. Duncan knows to leave her audience hungry for more and this brutal, reckless read does exactly that.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Copyright © 2015 Ageless Pages Reviews. All Rights Reserved.

Amelia Theme by The Lovely Design CO and These Paper Hearts.