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Book Review: Kingdom of the Wicked

by | Apr 16, 2023 | Book Reviews, Fantasy, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

Rating: 4/5 stars
Age Rating: 16+
Spice Level: Bell pepper representing 0 spice(Kingdom of the Wicked is not a spicy book, though this increases as the series progresses)

In this book review, we’re exploring Kingdom of the Wicked by USA Today bestselling author Kerri Maniscalco, a gruesome but engrossing story of dark magic, vengeance, and romance set against the backdrop of nineteenth-century Sicily.

Known for her Stalking Jack the Ripper series, Maniscalco combines adventure, an intriguing plot with twists, and a well-built world to create an engaging historical thriller. The story transports readers to a captivating world where witches, demons, and dark forces exist alongside everyday life, leaving them enthralled as they explore the intricate and treacherous landscape.

Tropes in this Book

  • Slow burn
  • Enemies to lovers
  • Forced proximity

Seeking Justice in a World of Dark Fantasy

Emilia and Vittoria are twin sisters and witches who live secretly among humans to avoid persecution. They work in their family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant, where especially evocative descriptions of Sicilian cuisine and bustling marketplaces come alive. Their life is simple but filled with love and a strong sense of family, making the bond between the sisters all the more heartwarming.

When Vittoria misses dinner service one evening, Emilia discovers her beloved twin’s brutal murder. Heartbroken and furious, Emilia vows to find her sister’s killer and bring them to justice. Her determination leads her to the dark magic she’s been warned about since childhood, a terrifying and dangerous realm where nothing is as it seems.

As Emilia begins her search, she uncovers a series of horrifying secrets about her family’s past and the dark forces that have been haunting them. Along the way, she finds herself questioning everything she thought she knew about her family, her sister, and herself.

Trust, Deception, and Unexpected Romance

As Emilia seeks vengeance, she encounters Wrath, one of the seven demons and wicked princes of Hell. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, but can she trust him? As they investigate a series of women’s murders, Emilia and Wrath discuss life’s finer points and uncover long-forbidden secrets. Their intoxicating romance adds an unexpected twist to the tightly plotted feast of a story.

Wrath offers Emilia his help in finding her sister’s killer, and though she’s initially reluctant to accept his aid, she eventually realizes that she needs his knowledge and expertise to navigate the treacherous world she has entered. As they investigate a series of women’s murders, Emilia and Wrath discuss life’s finer points and uncover long-forbidden secrets.

As Emilia and Wrath grow closer, they learn that trust and deception are two sides of the same coin. With each new revelation, Emilia finds herself questioning who she can truly rely on and wondering if the lines between friend and foe have become blurred.

A Richly-Drawn World

Maniscalco’s writing shines with richly drawn characters and atmospheric settings, from eerie Capuchin monasteries to the semi-haunted house the sisters reside in. The descriptions of the Sicilian countryside, with its beautiful landscapes and ancient ruins, paint a vivid and enchanting picture that pulls readers into the story, immersing them in the world Maniscalco has created.

The bustling markets and lively streets of Sicily are brought to life with colorful descriptions, and the sumptuous feasts and meals served at the family’s restaurant are particularly delightful, offering a sensory experience that adds depth to the novel. Maniscalco’s love for her Sicilian heritage is evident in every carefully chosen detail, making the setting a vital part of the story.

The diverse cast of characters adds further texture to the novel, with each person playing a crucial role in Emilia’s journey. From the forward-thinking protagonist, who challenges Victorian-era gender norms, to the tenacious young forensic scientist who flaunts society’s rules, each character is richly drawn and engaging. Even the wicked princes themselves are intriguing, with each having distinct personalities and motivations that keep readers guessing until the end.

A Satisfying Conclusion and an Anticipated Sequel

The propulsive story carries readers through a world of mystery, dark fantasy, and romance with the perfect balance of intensity and levity. As the tale unfolds, Emilia and Wrath face a series of unexpected plot twists and hurdles that keep the suspense high and the pages turning. The novel culminates in a dramatic cliffhanger that leaves readers eager for more.

Thankfully, the Kingdom of the Wicked series continues on past this book, allowing readers to delve deeper into the lives of these fascinating characters and explore the mysteries still left unsolved.

Final Thoughts: A Gripping and Atmospheric Read

In Kingdom of the Wicked, Kerri Maniscalco weaves a gripping mystery with a captivating atmosphere that transports readers to a world of dark magic, danger, and unexpected romance. The lush descriptions of Sicily, the family’s restaurant, and the ever-present sense of danger create an immersive atmosphere that will accompany readers long after the final page has been turned.

With a satisfying conclusion and a dramatic cliffhanger that leaves readers eager for the next installment, Kingdom of the Wicked is a must-read for fans of historical mysteries, dark fantasies, and intoxicating romance.

If you found this review helpful, you can check out the book at Bookshop.org here and support local bookstores along the way!