Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1) – Emily A. Duncan

Some gods require blood

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.
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

The writing is really easy to read and surprisingly light for a book this heavy. I literally flew through this book. It’s partly because of the amazing plot, but I can’t discredit the writing style. It’s really hard to believe that this is a debut novel. It doesn’t feel like one.

I really appreciate the fact that the author uses original names when bringing up creatures from Slavic mythology. I see a lot of authors borrowing from our lore, but changing the names. It made me really happy to see that she even kept the original spelling. It has to be really difficult to read names like Dziwożona for non-polish speaking people, so I appreciate this decision even more. It’s a great feeling to see Slavic folklore being respected this much.

There is a lot of polish names in this book as well, but I feel a little different about that. I have the same feeling I had while reading Uprooted by Naomi Novik. Those regular names I encounter every single day, like Kacper or Rafał, feel a little bit weird in a fantasy setting. Like they don’t quite belong there, especially when they are right next to someone named Malachiasz.

This story follows three characters. Nadya – a girl blessed by the gods, raised to save her kingdom. Serefin, a prince whose father is jealous of his power. And Malachiasz who is… well… Malachiasz.

The story only follows the POV of Nadya and Serefin, and to be completely honest, I didn’t really care all that much about Serefin. His chapters were important, but they weren’t that much fun to me. Nadya’s on the other hand… hell yeah. I loved following her journey. And her dynamic with Malachiasz… they were everything I hoped Alina and The Darkling would be.

Side note – am I the only one who can’t help but imagine Vultures as medieval plague doctors? I can’t get that image out of my head and it doesn’t really fit the story very well.

A divine girl, blessed by the gods and tempted by the heretic, slowly realizing that the world is not as black and white as she was raised to believe and that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. What is there not to love?

Wicked Saints is a constant rollercoaster of not knowing exactly who is the enemy and who is the ally, of thinking that you know what is going to happen only to be proven wrong five seconds later, of not being able to tell what’s true and what’s not. It’s insanely thrilling.

This book has one of the coolest and most unique magic systems out there! I have read my fair share of fantasy books, but this one just blew me away. It’s such a simple concept, but it’s just SO. FREAKING. COOL. Nadya is able to communicate with gods who grant her powers at their whim. Serefin is using blood magic, but in the coolest and most interesting way I ever saw. He tears pages out of his spellbook and combining them with his blood allows him to cast spells. How cool is that? And when it comes to Malachiasz… You’ll see.

This book is one of a kind. It’s totally surprising and unique. I have never read anything like this before. NEVER!

TW: blood, like A LOT of blood, self-harm (not in that context, but there are a lot of descriptions of cutting your own skin, so if that’s triggering to you, you shouldn’t read this book)



You can find this book on Goodreads and Book Depository




Summary used in this review comes from Goodreads

7 thoughts on “Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1) – Emily A. Duncan

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  1. Great review! I’m glad you liked the book. I read this one a long time ago and wasn’t a fan, but maybe I should pick it up again and give it another try!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, it’s definitely not a book for everyone. I like darker books and this one stole my heart with the slavic setting. But if you didn’t enjoy it, better spend your time reading something different. Reading should be fun! 😊💙

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It was sitting on my shelf for a year before I finally decided to read it. But I am glad I did! I hope you will enjoy it once you get around to it. Even if it takes a while. I know the struggle of the neverending TBR list 😁

      Liked by 1 person

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