Wicked Saints



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..Wicked Saints

Emily A Duncan was born and raised in Ohio and works as a youth services librarian She received a Master s degree in library science from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through interlibrary loan systems When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video games and dungeons and dragons She is represented by Thao Le

[Reading] ➶ Wicked Saints Author Emily A. Duncan – E17streets4all.co.uk
  • Hardcover
  • 385 pages
  • Wicked Saints
  • Emily A. Duncan
  • English
  • 01 September 2018
  • 9781250195661

10 thoughts on “Wicked Saints

  1. says:

    Ah yes, the place I truly dwell, a cold eternity of endless disappointment.Fine I m just being dramatic again But seriously being this sensitive is really inconvenient Your most anticipated book of the year doesn t live up to your expectations and you have to cancel your plans for the day to mourn So, what s this book about For a century, Kalyazin and Tranavia bled great gouts of men into a holy war that served no greater cause than one country s fear, and one empire s hubris.Nadya, a Kalyazi cleric who can commune with an entire pantheon of gods, is training in secrecy in the holy mountains by priests who sought to wield the power that sheltered inside her into the one thing that could save Kalyazin from sinking to its knees But a sudden Tranavian attack on the monastery sends Nadya s destiny spilling out into the air, the storm of it no longer a far future to be reached, but a typhoon here and now All this mayhem is like blood in the water, and Nadya isn t the only one swimming in it Serefin, the High prince of Tranavia and a powerful blood mage, has scant interest in anything unless it involves alcohol but now finds himself forced to constantly look about him in trepidation for those who might be in a position to oppose his succession, including his father, the king And there s Malachiasz, a Tranavian defector whose real intentions are shrouded in secrecy and with whom Nadya forms a reluctant alliance while they re both on the run from the Tranavian soldiers.Nadya soon discovers that unknown forces are scheming to carve a new avenue to power and fulfilling her destiny of helping the gods reclaim their hold on the world might prove harder than she d thought We re all monsters, Nadya, Malachiasz said, his voice gaining a few tangled chords of chaos Some of us just hide it better than others Reading the first couple of chapters, I was intrigued by Wicked Saints twining of religion, politics and magic, and the provocative questions it rises at every turn, but, sadly, what tatters remained of that interest quickly deserted me as the story progressed.I expected from this book than a sequence of interesting situations and a setting that felt built from analogues than originality, a little than a scaffolding made of concepts like holding up a cracked mirror to the world I was also disappointed with how the political exposition and the magic system sometimes read messily, especially towards the end when suddenly the logic that belonged to the story seemed as if it had remained behind, like luggage on a dock I was also and I can t stress this enough really bored Yes Tension clambers up Portents simmer Dark magic threatens to consume everything it touches But nothing much comes of any of it until the final pages, when the narrative bends towards a showdown that was massively anticlimactic.I saw a lot of people evoke how similar this book was to The Grisha Trilogy, and I have to agree Quite frankly, it felt like an uninspired rip off The intricate plot turnings in TGT are so strong and so compelling because Bardugo spends so much time placing us in the minds and hearts of her characters, ensuring that we care about them long before danger comes for them That isn t the case with this book at all I couldn t connect with any of the characters There were some minor characters and relationships I wish had been focused on instead of others Rashid and Parijahan Malachiasz s companions and the only POC in the story as far as we know make brief appearances but we never really get much chance for them to settle into being multi dimensional, or find out what their revenge agenda is.This is not the only way that Wicked Saints doesn t entirely commit to its potential The premise of the story led me to believe it wouldn t adhere to genre conventions, clich s and staples, which meant I was really dispirited when it did Wicked Saints plays the enemies to lovers romance without any attempt at subversion I feel as if some deficiency of the soul has made me unable to ship Nadya and Malachiasz I couldn t give a tuppenny damn about their relationship for many reasons Least of which is the fact that there was absolutely no real reason for them to hate each other in the first place, other than that they re on opposing sides, and no real reason for them to fall for each other, other than because that s the trope But chief of which is this my least favorite thing in fantasy is when a female character is reduced to a love interest.It couldn t be obvious that this was Malachiasz s story and Nadya was merely a minor player in the drama of her own life Sometimes, she wasn t even the focus of the story within her own POVs In the beginning, we learn that Nadya had grown up in a monastery, trained in the hope that she d prove to be a weapon against Kalyazin s enemies The face of the world was long kept veiled from her and I was really excited to see her take possession of her destiny and determine the path of her own life, but, in the end, it seemed she had not learned how to hold another shape other than what others dictated for her Malachiasz honestly raised my hackles by coming out of nowhere, like an impossible vision, and making Nadya immediately buckle under his extremely attractive stare The appropriate response is usually an eye roll It was repeatedly revealed that amidst so many secrets, he too seldom shared his truths, and whenever Nadya tries to settle into his memory, she quickly realizes that she knew him so little that he was not really hers yet, that was still not enough to finally break through her blindness and naivete It was so frustrating.I ve read a staggering number of excellent fantasy books recently with lady leads that had their own agency on full display from Arden s Winternight Trilogy to Novak s Spinning Silver to Kuang s The Poppy War and I think it s done things to my head because I now can t settle for anything less extraordinary I certainly don t deny the allure of stories where a powerful, shadowy man is wholly committed to the female protagonist and her own innocent mystique but here s the thing female characters can have strong, compelling narratives without preventing them from experiencing love, intimacy, and affection It s frustrating when books make it seem like women must choose between a romantic interest and depth of character and ignore a far productive message women are capable of possessing both I kept waiting and waiting for the author to twist the trope into something original and interesting, but the unexpected just never arrives.I hope the events of the sequel will smooth out this rough patch, but I m honestly not sure if I m curious enough to find out.TW self harm and parental abuse.BLOG TWITTER INSTAGRAM TUMBLR

  2. says:

    ARC given to me by my kind friend Lilly at Lair of Books If you fall to him the war will be lost You have to live, Nadya I m going to be really honest with you all I feel like Wicked Saints is the book of my heart From the lyrical writing, to the cold atmosphere, to the beautiful themes, to the characters that I d already be willing to give my life for this book just felt like it was written for me This debut fantasy, all about blood magic and a cleric who can speak to all the gods be still, my wishful DD heart , blew me and my expectations out of the water The author very much pulls from Russian and Polish inspiration and we get to see two countries, the Russian inspired Kalyazin, and the Polish inspired Tranavia There is also the desert lands of Akola, which we meet a few characters from, but I think the land will be explored much in later books But we quickly see how differently the first two places view religion, and how both nations are willing to do whatever it takes in the name of their beliefs These two countries are warring, and the author never shies away from that, but they are also beautifully woven together to create such an immersive and captivating world and setting Cannons only meant one thing blood magic And blood magic meant Tranavians But this tale starts out with a girl who has lived and hidden within the protection of a monastery s walls her entire life She has a power unlike any other, and it is her people s hope to not only restore the faith of the gods, but bring them back into power Yet, there are people who are willing to do anything to make sure the gods and their religion s stay silenced forever And one night, the girl s monastery is brutally attacked, and she and her friend barely escape with their lives, while everyone else stayed back to ensure they could run away Yet, the war commander prince notices that this girl is not among the dead The girl, desperate to live and to not have the gods be silenced, is willing to do anything it takes to live Even if that means getting help from a powerful rebel mage, who is harboring many secrets of his own The girl, the monster, and the prince Nadya The cleric who can speak to all of the gods Malachiasz A blood mage, who believes he is a monster Serefin Bisexual icon Also, a blood mage prince of one of the most powerful realms in this world, but the king is trying to ensure that no one can contest his power, while also wanting to use his son as a martial pawn He also has a visual impairment and is unable to see out of one of his eyes Breathtaking art by Therese at warickaart And all three of these characters As morally grey as they come And they all equally stole my heart Okay, maybe I have a little bit of a soft spot for Serefin, but I can t help it, okay But there is disability and sexual representation with some of the side characters, and many characters of color I am truly in love with all the side characters, and I can t wait to see them develop even , but Ostyia was easily my favorite and the author confirmed she is a tiny murder lesbian, and I ve never read anything so perfect in all my life Okay, I m going to spend a little time talking about Nadya because I truly was obsessed with how the author crafted religion and the saints in this book First off, I m Catholic, so you know that I fuck hard with saints, anyways But, on the opposite end of the spectrum, I have played probably over a hundred DD campaigns in my life, and I swear to all the gods that I have probably rolled a cleric at least 50 of those campaigns Seriously, teenage Melanie and her Pathfinder loving friends was obsessed with Sarenrae But reading a book about a cleric who could speak to ALL the gods, and harness their powers if they allowed it I am quaking Also, the banter between Nadya and all the different gods, all of whom have very different personalities, was probably my favorite element of the entire book Again, this is a very dark book and I implore you to read my trigger and content warnings listed down below if you are on the fence if you are in the right headspace or not But one of the major magic systems in this book is blood magic, where people will use their own blood most of the time, freshly cut and merge it with pages of a spell book to be able to wield their prepared spells and harness their magic I loved this I loved this so much It is something that I feel you see so much in DD and videogames, but never in literature and I really think it was expertly done and completely made the book for me I feel like I should talk about the romance, since I see many early reviewers not loving it as much as I seemed to I always thought Nadya was the star of this book, regardless of who she was developing feelings for I mean, you all know I always fall in love with the one the main character doesn t pick, so there is that, but I still loved the romance in this book Also, I kind of hinted a bit about this in the character breakdowns, but when Serefin was following the king s wishes to find a marriage I was invested, friends Too invested, probably But during all the situations, the angst almost killed me, in the best way possible, and I can t wait to see where the author takes everything in book two It was the perfect slow burn feeling, while giving us so many breadcrumbs that all tasted delicious Overall, this book just had too many things in my personal wheelhouse for me not to completely fall in love with it I mean, I originally heard this pitched as a gothic Joan of Arc and I knew from that moment my life was going to be changed I think Emily A Duncan has really crafted such a unique story, and such a beautiful debut and start of a series I can t wait to see what comes next, especially because the end of this book truly slayed me and every emotion I have ever had Blog Instagram Twitter Tumblr Youtube Twitch The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.Content and Trigger Warnings for self harm both as a magic system, and talk of self harm in the past , torture, parental abuse, abandonment, abduction, a lot of alcohol consumption maybe addiction , gore, violence, and war themes Buddy read with Jocelyn at Yogi with a Book

  3. says:

    meh

  4. says:

    Blood and blood and bone Magic and monsters and tragic power Everything that has needed to be said has probably already been said about this book I wanted to love this one so bad and what started off as a great exposition went downhill very fast I m still kinda just sitting here blinking confusedunsurecopyright of all fanart goes to their amazing artists _______________ Is it really possible to be that bored Short answer yes Long answer Wicked Saints is truly a lavish tale that echoes nostalgic memories of all your favourite YA high fantasy novels I think if it had been published sometime during 2013, this would have taken me by storm The magic system only winning factor and the world building although lacking was both interesting and enticing Unfortunately, I wish there was something else that helped me cling to the story and keep reading but I felt like I was forcing myself to finish instead The first thing I would like to say that I almost always say if it is an issue Do authors feel embarrassed if they don t address their trigger warnings I mean surely, it shouldn t be up to the reader to go look for them prior to reading the book This has been and will continue to be a problem with me I think trigger warnings should clearly be stated before the reader begins Any which way TW blood, gore, self harm, torture, parental abuse.Secondly, there seemed to be no plot It didn t quite reach a stream of consciousness writing style, but it also didn t seem like anything was moving It felt like we were following the characters through snapshots and the plot was just something that could have been done Serefin was the only saving grace for me, and we got little to no arc development or character development for HIM I was also struggling to differentiate the voices between the dual POV s Other than the fact the Gods can speak to Nadya mentally, the voices very rarely differed Nadya was supposed to remain a secret for another year, training in the holy mountains with priests who while they did not have magic themselves understood the fundamentals of divinity Like how a peasant girl could be the one thing that would save Kalyazin from the heretics torches But war didn t care for carefully laid plans I really wanted to dnf at the 50% mark I felt like I was trudging through this entire story and I wanted to be able to love it as much as my GR and book reviewing buddies did I can say that although there were a lot of filler chapters, I loved being thrown into the action The romance I love reading romance I love all the tingly feelings and the magic in the air I enjoy rooting for the character s and seeing them fall for each other in real time BUT THIS I felt no connection at all and the romance felt like a friendship because there was so much insta love I also ended up wanting the two characters NOT to be together Every two seconds we were reminded by Nadya that he was a monster, he was cruel and evil, he s not to be trusted however pretty he is I didn t feel the enemies to lovers trope at all I really feel like everything was just meh I wanted so much and nothing really delivered Which brings me to the point that everything was just so boring So much in the story was left undeveloped and open to surface interpretation I feel like the problems that the characters went through and the hurdles they had to overcome diminished to nothing when it was game time There was such big talk of having to fulfill a certain event, and the event would come and go without me even realizing it I love books that fly by, but with this I had to re read paragraphs a couple times, multiple times in order to understand what was happening It wasn t that the language was hard to interpret or the layout was difficult to read Simply, my mind kept wandering off to different things and I kept losing interest Additionally, when it comes to diversity and representation, this book seemed to have so many cannon LGBTQ reps There were also so many indicators to other representations such as Serefin s potential alcohol addiction I just wish it was developed further instead of being left to the sideline That said, I don t need any and all representation to be part of the primary plotline or story, but I felt like the presentation of it as a whole was overall lacking Blood wasn t a thing to be made light of, not in these times This story had so much potential for breaking the boundaries of YA fantasy and spotlighting much needed topics I loved the focus on faith, philosophy, religion, moral and ethics I even loved the fact that this time the villain, was very easy to root for even through their destruction I wanted to unpack this book and theorize all sorts of different outcomes and routes that the characters and the plot would take but it really turned a different path for me.

  5. says:

    Well look what came today on my Bday Owlcrate April Box I knew this book would be in there but now I m going to have to reorder the white one As always, click on the link below the picture to see all of the amazing freaking goodies THE GOODIES MY BLOGOMG OMG OMG PLEASE LET ME LOVE THISThank goodness I loved the book Let just give you a little skinny on the book first before I tell you WHY I love it The book starts out with a bang action right out of the gates We have Nadya, she s a cleric and has been hiding in a monastery forever She has powers and some peeps found out about her and all hell broke loose She has to go on the run with a friend in order to not be killed or captured for other horrible reasons We have Serefin who is a Prince and a mage and he is after Nadya The POV s are his and Nadya s but we get other characters through their story lines Then we have Malachiasz who is another mage character and from the same place as Serefin, but who helps Nadya and her friend get from point A to point B I loved the book in the very beginning but the only reason I kept loving it is because I fell in love with the villian Yes, you heard it first here people And there are actually a few villians in the book I also love the Vultures They are bad guys and girls in the book as well What is it with me and the bad guys I don t always love them so there I am interested to see where this will go in the next book because that ending had me shook and I m not over it yet I hope that it gets better and doesn t suffer from second book syndrome Anyhoo Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for a digital copy of this book to review Mel

  6. says:

    we are all monsters, nadya some of us just hide it better than others this book is so seductively dark and holy, so gothically bloody, so cruelly romantic and my black soul has never been happier the strength of this story is the magic, the ferocious yet satisfying magic hands down the characters are brutally intense and beautifully developed, but its how magic affects them and their world that is so captivating the entire plot is driven by the opposing beliefs about the nature of magic and i thought emily duncan did a great job at bringing that struggling debate to life its impressively well thought out and a real high point to the story.i will admit this isnt without faults the romance is a very insta lovey and the writing can get confusing muddled at times, but there is such a strong foundation here that i know great things can be expected from the future installments of this series also, the physical aesthetic of this book is so drop dead gorgeous, it makes me want to cry the incandesce foil artwork, the colour tones, the spine, and overall design is just so much, i cant stop looking at it this gets 5 stars for that alone 4.5 stars

  7. says:

    This is for everyone who shipped Alina and The Darkling WHICH MEANS THIS BOOK IS FOR ME, OKAY NO TOUCHIE MINE ahem.It s like if you go into a snow dusted forest to free a beautiful maiden dude from a glass casket only when you get there, that person has been devoured and this glorious, talon ed creature with killer hair, a only way to get rid of my smirk is to kiss me mouth, and eyes so dark they look like a freaking dimension is chilling on top of said casket, which is now smashed to pieces on a snow strewn floor, and you just stand there, nodding and say Aight I m into it That s this book.

  8. says:

    He was a liar and she wanted his truths Trigger Warnings Self harm and parental abuse The author has been very vocal about it which I appreciate so readers, just be aware before diving in Please take care of yourselves Anyway Most clerics hear the voice of one god who grants them a particular power Nadya, however, hears the voices of all the gods, and they all grant her power when she asks which puts a target on her head The opening pages immediately set the tone, where we re thrown into the middle of a war as Nadya s monastery is attacked by an enemy prince a dangerous blood mage Nadya is forced to flee and leave behind the only friends she s ever known because if she stays, he could kill her and take her power.While on the run, she ends up alongside a group of rebels for lack of better words who want to end the war Their leader , Malachiasz, convinces Nadya to help them infiltrate the enemy palace and that s all I m going to say Since we re nearly a year from the release, I don t want to give away too much of the plot What I loved were all the twists and turns, the characters that beg you to trust them when deep down, you know you probably shouldn t I love finding new morally gray or are they characters to root for Nadya reminded me a little of Alina from Shadow and Bone my favorite series in fact, I think I caught some nods references heyooo I will add though don t go in this expecting the Darkling There was a heavy focus on magic and religion and the theological debates that accompany them In fact, I often found myself switching sides on who was right, who was wrong, and who Nadya should trust and if she should trust herself The magic system was unlike anything I ve read before, and same for the world Though inspired by Russia and Poland if my assumptions are correct , it totally stands on its own.What I loved most was the anything can happen fast paced plot that had me turning pages like nobody s business From the first chapter, I was totally swept away and there was no turning back And trust me when I say the world is dark dark dark probably the darkest I ve read , which after following Emily on twitter, I think she d take that as a compliment On that note, I highly suggest taking a look at fanart to get a good feel for the vibe Click here to see it The hardest part about having read it is that I ll have to wait forever for the next book A huge thank you to Wednesday Books for this gorgeous early edition, and allowing me to read and review All quotes are subject to change in the final copy My Blog Instagram Twitter Etsy

  9. says:

    I felt one thing while reading this book Just one This was a buddy read with the lovely Rendz She is all around wonderful and I suggest you check out her page and her reviews I had a great discussion with her on this book and there I realized that I might be, in fact, heartless because I gave very little mercy to this book But hey, at least Rendz had better luck with it than I did.I wanted to love this I wanted so badly to fall head over heels for this book I went into it expecting it to be dark and epic and just plain good But alas, I did not love it, nor did I think just plain good.This book had the potential to be one of the best books I read in 2019 I think that knowing it had so much untapped potential is what makes it worse for me though.The novel s premise is extremely interesting The foundation is set for this novel to be amazing.The three main characters, Nadya, a girl who speaks to gods Serafin, a warrior prince trying to save himself from the dangers of court and Malachiasz, a boy with terrible magic that hides secrets and monsters inside of himself Mix them all together and have them plot to assassinate an evil king Throw in some blood magic, some gods that may or may not be gods, some betrayal, some secrets, and a sprinkle of romance and you have the recipe for awesome.But alas, that potential was never met Everything felt halfway to me.In theory, the characters are all really cool Still, I couldn t connect to any of them I felt like we were only shown the surface of who they were This was made worse when the romance started coming forth It felt like Nadya whom I never really liked and Malachiasz who had serious character potential completely undid their character arcs the moment they fell in love, especially Nadya As for Serafin, I feel like I know very little about him, other than the fact that he likes being drunk.The magic system was also that was in theory, very cool, but was in reality pretty confusing There was never a set of rules established for how the magic worked I think that giving it parameters and letting us know what could and couldn t be done with it would have been cooler.Another issue I had was with how easy everything was There would be a lot of build up for things and then nothing would happen They would just accidentally slide into convenient situations Or, they would just effortlessly get a hold of information that was supposed to be secret It felt anticlimactic view spoiler Like when they made the plan on how they were going to sneak into Tranavia and they made a big deal of it talking about how important it was to get the plan just right Mal kept pressuring Nadya to perfect her accent and saying all the terrible things that would happen if they got caught Then they just sort of walked into Tranavia wasn t even that hard They literally said like two lines to the guard and they let them through hide spoiler

  10. says:

    Update 10.17.18 Hi We have a cover It s black metal as hell and I adore it The book is also up for preorder if you feel so inclined The link will lead to a landing page that directs to all major retailers 3 Update 5.10.18 So the book is going into the world now and I wanted to note some content warnings There s a blanket content warning on self harm because this book has multiple blood mage characters and that rather comes with the territory However, on page 350 in the bound MS there s a conversation about a character s past self harm It s small and they re talking about scars but, still, the allusion is there.There is a torture scene early on in the book in chapter 5 It s not particularly graphic but I do like to warn about that And another kind of blanket content warning on parental abuse There s a specific incident on p 290 again, bound MS however where Serefin is struck by his father so just a warning Stay safe and only read what you feel comfortable with Update 4.4.18 New title The book is now WICKED SAINTS and Something Dark and Holy is the trilogy title I mean I COULD rate this five stars but I won t I ll just say I m very excited for everyone to meet my weird cast of kids I love them a lot and I hope you all do too.For clarity I m going to add some facts to this WICKED SAINTS is high fantasy, the Joan of Arc bit is a marketing comp, this is not a Joan of Arc retelling, this is a story completely its own that takes on thematic elements similar to Joan of Arc s story Nadya is her own person, she is not Joan.The book takes place in two countries, Kalyazin, which is a Russian analogue, and Tranavia, which is Polish.The book is also dual POV, while the trilogy as a whole has three main characters oh, yeah, goodreads has it listed as a stand alone, it s a trilogy.That s all for now Xoxo

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