Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for:
by Emily A. Duncan
“Prepare for a snow-frosted, blood-drenched fairy tale where the monsters steal your heart and love ends up being the nightmare.” – Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen
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.
“This book destroyed me and I adored it.”- Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval
Title: Wicked Saints
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Free ARC from Wednesday Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Wednesday Books. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.
Thoughts: One of the things I struggle with most as a reader is DNF’ing books when I’m not feeling it. Part of it is the sense that it’s quitting (a failure! giving up!), but mostly it’s the idea that I’m going to miss out on something if I don’t continue. I picked this book up for a reason, right? And when is the right time to make the decision? Can I really get a full sense of all the book has to offer in the first 50 pages? 20%? 50%? So, more often than not, I plow through anyway, hoping that at the end it won’t feel like a waste of time.
Why do I say all of this? Because this book was definitely a slow boil for me. There are a few reasons for that, I believe. First, the whole book revolves around a holy war and a cleric who can speak to the gods (main character). That means there is a lot of religion in the book, something I’m not especially comfortable with. In particular, Nadya’s (the cleric) blind faith and hate of the enemy (partially because they are faithless) really stuck in my craw. Aside from that, I was reading another fantasy book with a female protagonist at the same time, and even though they are very different stories, there is a reason I don’t tend to read two books from the same genre at the same time. But I digress…
It was a slow boil for me, but I am SO glad that I signed up for the blog tour because I felt pressured to finish it. I am so, SO glad that I did. The second half absolutely made up for the first. There was action and intrigue, a steamy romance with so much chemistry it was killing me, betrayal and unexpected alliances, a twist that I really didn’t see coming and absolutely slayed me. Honestly, the last half was all the things. In the second half we are reminded that people can change, that one of the biggest influences on our beliefs is the people that come into our lives, the people that we care about. Themes of finding power and strength within ourselves, of doing what’s right instead of what’s easy, of not giving up on ourselves or other people, of looking for good in everyone…and on and on. Seriously good stuff.
As it’s the first book in a…trilogy?…it left off on a perfect note. Hints of a possible love triangle, an open-ended “what’s next”, and my gods I was dying knowing it was the last few pages and now I have to wait because I need to know right NOW!!!
My final judgment: hopefully you aren’t me and don’t wrestle so much with the first half, but if you do, keep going. The payoff is huge!
About the Author
EMILY A. DUNCAN works as a youth services librarian. She received a Master’s degree in library science from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video games and dungeons and dragons. Wicked Saints is her first book. She lives in Ohio.