- Kingdom of the Wicked
- Series: Kingdom of the Wicked #1
- Author: Kerri Maniscalco
- Genre: Fantasy (See Trigger Warning)
- Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books / Little, Brown and Co.
- Publication Date: October 2020
- Source: Barnes and Nobel (purchased)
- Blurb: Goodreads
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…
***While this is marketed as a YA Fantasy, there is a lot of blood, gore, and smoldering hot scenes. I would recommend mature adults only.
I cannot believe I waited so long to read this book. However, I do this often. I’m usually afraid of the hype, and sometimes that is called for, and others, the book lives up to the hype, and Kingdom of the Wicked surpassed its alleged greatness. Witches, demons, and Italian food. What more could you want, I ask.
We meet Emilia just before she finds her twin, Vittoria, dead in a monastery. She finds a demon standing beside her sister’s heartless body, tasting her blood. All the warnings their grandmother warned them of are coming to fruition. Daughters of the Moon’s blood has been spilled, the ocean is stirring, and the color of the moon makes the sky appear as it is bleeding. It is time for the “Prophecy” to be fulfilled. A set of twins would be born, one would rule above and the other below. Nonna kept this part of the Prophecy hidden from Emilia and Vittoria.
The backdrop to this story is Palermo, Italy. Emilia’s family owns a trattoria, an Italian restaurant serving simple food, called Sea & Vine. When the di Carlo women are crowded into the kitchen cooking, my mouth watered nonstop. Miss Maniscalco’s writing splatters the pages with all the senses, especially vision and taste, but plenty of humorous words to be heard, touches to be felt, and foods to entice the olfactory nerves.
Written in the third person from Emilia’s point of view, the world was vivid and Nonna’s twisted old-world tales have left Emilia turning circles and messing up demon summoning spells. She bonded the Prince of Hell, Wrath, to the earthly plane in more than one way, but you should definitely find out what happens with that story.
Emilia irritated me at times because of her naivety. Granted Nonna and the rest of the witches’ families bear much of the blame, Emilia still looked over some very obvious clues left to her by friends and even demons. She grows and we see her begin to understand that not all that is defined as good is all good and not all evil is all evil. Including certain Princes of Hell.
All in all, this was a darkly satisfying book and I reached for Kingdom of the Cursed as soon as I finished the last sentence. Which continues along the path of Emilia and Wrath, her partner in crime so to say.