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Review: Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan (Something Dark and Holy #1)

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Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan // VBC ReviewWicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1)
Emily A. Duncan
Published: April 2, 2019 (Wednesday Books)
Purchase at: Book Depository or Amazon
Review Source: Copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars

Tranavians and Kalyazins have been in a centuries-long holy war ever since the Tranavians had forsaken belief in the gods, and their power, to harness their own blood magic. Kalyazins view Tranavians as heretics as opposed to their own clerics—those who can commune directly with the gods who in turn imbue them with often unimaginable power. All the clerics are believed to be dead…except one.

Nadezhda Lapteva (Nadya) has been living in secret at a Kalyazin monastery, training until her time comes to be the salvation the Kalyazins believe her to be in the war. But when the monastery is attacked—by the Tranavian High Prince—and Nadya has to flee for her life, she runs into a ragtag group of rebels bent on seeing the war end one way or another—up to and including assassinating the King of Tranavian.

Out of other options, Nadya will have to put her trust in these people, including a mysterious boy with dark magic of his own that makes her start to question the beliefs she’s always held true.

I went into Wicked Saints not knowing what to expect. I honestly don’t think I even gave the blurb anything but a glancing read through, but it was enough that I was interested in reading Emily A. Duncan’s debut. I can only say that I was thoroughly blown away by Wicked Saints.

The world is so realized. The push and pull between the belief in gods or the use of one’s own blood as a source of power is so completely conceptualized.

The narrative switches between Nadya’s perspective and that of the Tranavian High Prince Serefin, and gives readers a good glimpse of both sides of the conflict. While Tranvaians are painted as more of the villains in this one, you come to see where they’re coming from with their beliefs. I loved that Emily A. Duncan was very precise in giving both sides and bringing up good counterpoints to both. You see that sometimes not everyone’s beliefs necessarily align with the side their fighting on.

In this way you also see the characters as more than just good or bad. Depending on which side, you understand that people can inhabit both qualities. Nadya has this immense power from the gods, and she wants to use it to end the war, but how far do you go in your quest? What happens when things she does is in opposition to what she’s been taught about the gods? Can you care for someone who is so openly against all that you believe? There are so many questions to postulate, but to do so would allow for spoilers unfortunately.

Suffice it to say, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in picking up Wicked Saints. Emily A. Duncan was wonderful at keeping the story on track while also throwing out little asides of information that I’m hoping will lead to interesting places in the next book.

Sexual Content: Kissing

Wicked Saints Blog Tour 2019 // VBC

2 Responses to “Review: Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan (Something Dark and Holy #1)”

  1. Kelsey says:

    Thank so much for reviewing the book Amy! My local library hadn’t ordered the book and I’ve been wavering on whether to spend the money on it. So thanks for helping make the decision, can’t wait to get my copy.

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