Title: Wicked Saints
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Date published: April 2, 2019
TW: self harm
A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.
A prince in danger must decide who to trust.
A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.
Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.
In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy..
“devastatingly Gothic,” Goodreads? More like “devastatingly boring” with a dash of being problematic (though to be fair the author has been pretty vocal about the trigger warnings, but in my opinion the whole magic system is kinda problematic anyway), super boring (oh wait, I mentioned that already), poorly thought out, and just…lackluster. This book did not live up to the hype AT ALL and just…no…
Okay, here are my slightly more coherent thoughts about the approximately 25% I read of this book:
- The characters had no personality. I didn’t know anything about Nadya other than she had the ability to speak with gods and they gave her their powers to wield. She was very reckless, but there was nothing about her personality development that could back that up, because there was no personality development. Serefin also had no personality outside of being cruel and annoyed at everything for no reason.
- The characters felt contrived. I’ve seen all of these characters before. They all felt very derivative of characters from the Grisha Trilogy, which I started rereading promptly after DNF’ing this book. The book was even pitched as “for readers who shipped Alina and the Darkling,” and Serefin was clearly supposed to be the Darkling, but not as complex of a villain or character in general.
- I didn’t understand the magic system. Nothing about the blood magic was well explained. I knew basically that it required them to cut themselves, which seemed a little gruesome and problematic, and that they required spell books that ended up all over the place. There was also no explanation of why clerics were chosen, etc.
- I was confused about the world building. What I got from the world was that there were a lot of churches and villages around, but not much else. I found it hard to situate myself in the story because I couldn’t picture it at all.
- The religious stuff made me very uncomfortable. I mean, it is about a girl who can communicate with gods and they give her their powers, but the whole thing just made me queasy since I am not religious. The whole book was based on a holy war, only the religious people were clearly in the right because gods did exist. However, the concept of the blood mage heretics wasn’t fully explained, and I didn’t understand why they became heretics. The author seemed to rely just on the words saints and heretics to tell the story without telling the story.
- It was really boring. Without personality for the characters, a slow plot, and dull writing, there really wasn’t much to keep me interested. I thought I’d try to read the book all the way through, but I just kept losing where I was in the story because I couldn’t hold onto anything about it. It was slow and boring and not worth reading.
Obviously, I did not like this book. I have no problem DNFing but I still hate to DNF a book, so curse you, Wicked Saints, for making me DNF you. Verdict: extreme disappointment.