Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco
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I was sent a copy of this novel by the publishers to review, however this has no bearing on my rating or review.
Emilia and her twin sister Victoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Victoria 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 discover who did this, and to seek vengeance at any cost—even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.
Then Emilia meets Wrath, the outlier among the seven demon brethren, always choosing duty over pleasure. He’s been tasked by his master with investigating a series of women’s murders on the island. When Emilia and Wrath’s fates collide, it’s clear this disturbing mystery will take a bewitching turn…
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Kingdom of the Wicked is everything I could have wished for in a ‘deal with the devil’ fantasy novel. I was hooked from the very beginning, or to be quite honest I was hooked simply from the dark and enticing map! I wanted to learn all there was to know about the Seven Houses of Hell, sadly all their secret weren’t divulged within the first chapter but the wait was most definitely worth it. Wrath, the demon prince of House Wrath, gave me huge Darkling vibes (who I adore) but with chivalry and manners, it was quite an interesting combination!
Not only is this novel steeped in all the usual elements of fantasy, from dark magic, witches and covens, to evil creatures of the night and forbidden secrets, but at it’s core the plot is a murder mystery and the combination works beautifully! Our heroine, Emilia, tasks herself with solving the mystery of who is murdering witches after the life of her twin sister is so cruelly stolen. When it’s revealed that both Emilia and Wrath are searching for the killer, the only obviously sensible thing to do is to team up! This pairing was brilliant, Emilia is a bookish introvert attempting to channel her late twin’s outgoing personality in an attempt to solve the mystery while Wrath is duty bound to protect her as she puts herself in harms way!
There’s a couple of hidden twists within this story that I did not expect, one of which left me absolutely howling with laughter, it was quite a classic twist but I did not see it coming at all! I did however guess who the murderer was fairly quickly but that didn’t take away any of the fun of this novel. Kingdom of the Wicked is fast paced, brimming with action and and all round fantastic page turner that I couldn’t put down! I highly recommend picking this novel up.