Tag: YA Fantasy

{Book Review} Kingdom of the Wicked



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Two sisters.

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.

Book Review – The Ravens

  • Title: The Ravens
  • Author: Kass Morgan, Danielle Paige
  • Genre: Supernatural/Fantasy
  • Publisher: Alloy Entertainment, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Release Date: November 3, 2020
  • Picture Credit: Goodreads
  • Blurb: Kappa Rho Nu isn’t your average sorority. Their parties are notorious. Their fundraisers are known for being Westerly College’s most elaborate affairs. But beneath the veil of Greek life and prestige, the sisters of Kappu Rho Nu share a secret: they’re a coven of witches. For Vivi Deveraux, being one of Kappa Rho Nu’s Ravens means getting a chance to redefine herself. For Scarlett Winters, a bonafide Raven and daughter of a legacy Raven, pledge this year means living up to her mother’s impossible expectations of becoming Kappa Rho Nu’s next president. Scarlett knows she’d be the perfect candidate — that is, if she didn’t have one human-sized skeleton in her closet…. When Vivi and Scarlett are paired as big and little for initiation, they find themselves sinking into the sinister world of blood oaths and betrayals. (Blurb Credit: Goodreads)

I picked up The Ravens by Kass Morgan and Danielle Paige from Barnes and Noble as it was one of their YA Book Club books. The blurb pulled me in and the writing on the pages of the book kept me reading. I have always found books that take place in dorms or something similar. fascinating. The fact that this tale unravels inside the Kappa Rho Nu’s sorority house upped my interest.

The main characters, Vivi Devereaux and Scarlett Winter, belong to the exclusive sorority, Kappa Rho Nu, AKA: The Ravens. Each young lady holds a secret that can never be shared. Rumors have spread throughout the campus. Nobody can pin down exactly what happens inside the house; they just know strange things occur.

The story is written in third person. The point of view shifts between Scarlett and Vivi in separate chapters. Scarlett has known her destiny since birth. Vivi’s mom kept them hopping from town to town and tried her best to steer Vivi away from the past. These two were thrown together from the beginning in what would become an enemies-to-friends tale. Throw in a good dose of magic and a heaping pile of gore and the plot of the story is laid bare.

The Ravens kept me in suspense from the first page until the last. The writing is simplistic with a little too much telling and not enough showing. The story contained characters of all races, which is wonderful. The description of the different races might have been a little too simplistic for me. I enjoy reading character descriptions, such as “her flawless dark mocha skin” or “her face looked like peaches and cream” when discussing ethnicities. It paints a picture that I am likely to forget. The authors chose to use the words “black” and “white” to distinguish race. I will reiterate, I loved this story because of the multiple races interacting together, I only feel that there was a more beautiful way to describe the girls.

In conclusion, The Ravens is exciting and nail biting and full of suspense and gore that kept me reading. The simplistic writing kept the pages turning but disappointed me on another level. It is possible that I have an unpopular opinion on this piece of work. I’ve not read reviews but I have glanced at ratings and it seems it has a great share of 4 and 5 stars. I’m not able to rate it that high but it does come in at a respectable 3.5 with a recommendation to read if a sorority house of magical beings living out their destinies fascinates you.