Title: Kingdom of the Wicked
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Release Date: 27/10/2020
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 32
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free eARC copy from Hodder & Stoughton , via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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…
This was my first time reading Kerri Maniscalco’s work and all I can really say is it was alright. I did enjoy the story but also found it incredibly predictable and even slightly slow at times, bordering on boring at times.
The biggest plus for this book was the description of the food. This was just jam packed with the most delicious sounding meals and dishes imaginable. Though I do protest at the main character seemingly inventing bruschetta! I really did enjoy the premise of the book, it had real promise for me it just didn’t pay off. I really liked the magic system but it felt very sporadic and never fully explored. The concept of the 7 brothers of hell as representatives of the seven deadly sins was great but the ones we got to meet and the manner in which we met them was just lacklustre. It came off a little bit side quest in a video game to be honest. Go meet Envy, couple of lines of dialogue, tick him off the list, go meet Greed, couple of lines of dialogue, tick him off the list, with out them seemingly adding much to the overall story. It felt repetitive and I got a little board with it.
The romantic plot line felt like was so predictable you could see it coming a mile off. I love a good trope but I really appreciate when an author adds a little twist or a new angle to it but I could guess exactly how it was going to play out from the beginning which was disappointing. The plot also heavily relied on the MC just overlooking very obvious clues and foreshadowing, not talking to the right people or asking them obvious questions, which occasionally got frustrating.
Overall, it was fun but not without its faults. It did cliffhanger, at a point where it was beginning to take a different turn so I think I may actually enjoy book 2 more and will be reading it. If you have a soft spot for the more classic YA dark fantasy you will enjoy this.