Release date: 27th October 2020
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Series: Kingdom of the Wicked #1
Blurb: From the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Stalking Jack the Ripper series comes a new blockbuster series…
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…
Many thanks to the peeps at Netgalley and Jimmy Patterson. This is my first dive into the worlds of Kerri Maniscalco and I’m glad I read this one first.
So, I have thoughts. Many, many thoughts. Be warned, this review may turn out to be babbling idiocy with which makes zero sense unless you are fluent in my own personal brand of nonsense.
First off, look at that damn cover people. I can totally envisage the gorgeous gold foil which I assume will be adorning this beauty of a novel. Not usually a fan of snakes but this one endears me to want to stare at it or pat its evil little head – its eyes bear into my soul and I approve of this scaly critter staring at me from my shelves.
We start off by meeting twins Vittoria and Emilia when they are 8 years old and being raised on their Nonna’s own brand of life lessons about demons. The two possess special necklaces which they have been told to never let come together because the gates of Hell will open, which will apparently bring about the end of the world but seriously what do 8 year old’s care? Flash forward ten years and each has their own special power that they have kept secret from their family as well as each other. The two have never again tempted fate by bringing their necklaces together, nor have they told anyone about that night. From here the tale hits the ground running with people dying, demons spawning, and some outright delicious sounding meals being made – be warned, the first 15% is literally mostly people talking and either making or eating food, they’re all Italian sooooo.
Usually I would gush about loving certain characters throughout, but everyone had their purpose and I kind of liked them all for their own reasons. Wrath is kind of a dick but also marshmallowy soft at the same time (yes, it’s a YA novel, apparently teens love bad boys with hearts of gold *shrug*). Emilia is determined and strong but also so damn stupid at points that I found myself shaking my head and reminiscing about my younger years and the mischief I brought to the neighbourhood. Nonna is everything a good grandmother should be from caring to prickly this is a woman who knows things and refuses to take peoples shit when they ignore her. I could continue but you get the point.
I really enjoyed the aspect whereby the princes can affect the feelings of those around them. Regardless of their particular talent, they all seemed deliciously dark and manipulative. I especially loved Lust because, honestly that guy is a dick, but I loved to hate him.
Being new to Maniscalco’s writing style, I found it easily flowed onto the page and there was really no question as to whether the intended audience would understand where the whole thing was going. Yes, it was a little predictable and the love interests were a little gag-worthy, but I grew up in the age of loving Twilight (I still do, don’t judge me heathens) – I definitely see how it could draw in the young adult readership. I also really enjoyed the inclusion of certain Italian phrases; while it was educational in some parts, others had phrases with vague hinting at the translations (yes there is a certain one early on that I knew kids at school would say to teachers until the faculty finally caught on to its loose meaning).
Also, reader beware. Once you start, you will want to take it slow and digest all the amazing in bite size chunks but then suddenly you will be 3/4 of the way through, speeding towards the end and finishing at 2am. Not that I did this at all…
Overall, I just found this an easy read that I would definitely read again. While it was a little predictable, in a year full of curve balls, we could all do with something reliable. The prose used flowed well and easily communicated the subject matter. The love interests while a little stereotypical will definitely cater to those of the intended age group. Supporting characters were all well rounded and pretty much perfect in their intended roles. Basically, its just an easy read with some interesting subject matter and a badarse protagonist.
Until next time lovelies xo