Title : Kingdom of the Wicked
Author : Kerri Maniscalco
Series : Kingdom of the Wicked #1
Genre : YA fantasy
Release Date : October 27th, 2020
Publisher : Hodder & Stoughton
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…
Kingdom of the Wicked might not be Kerri Maniscalco’s first book, but it’s the first book that I read by her, so I don’t really know what to expect. All I know is, the premise sounds really cool as hell, and add in the fact that the romance is between a witch and a devil? I’m practically sold and this book became one of my most anticipated reads in 2020. Although I end up not loving it as much I wanted to, I still think this book is worth the read.
Kingdom of the Wicked follows Emilia, who found her world upside down when her twin sister was murdered. To found out the killer, she reluctantly works together with one of the prince of Hell, Wrath, who for some reasons offer to help her. Along the way, she found other entities that she previously believed as a myth, and as they dig deeper, she also uncovers a lot of secrets–about her sister, her world, and herself.
I’ll be honest here, the thing that I’m most interested from this book is the romance. I mean, it’s between a witch and a prince of Hell, so of course I’m interested. I’m glad to say that while it’s not as dark and as intoxicating as I’d expected, I still like it! I like both Emilia and Wrath individually, and when they’re together I also enjoyed their interactions (which mostly consist of banters and insults, but with sexual tension). I’m looking forward to the romance in book 2, which hopefully have more yearning and angst.
While I like the romance and the characters, I sadly couldn’t say the same with the plot. Honestly, the whole book feels like a setup. In this book, we mostly went around town, looking for clues here and there, and generally playing detectives. I think Kerri wants the reader to get to know more about the world before she delves deeper, but still, I think it could be cut short (and to be frank, there were a lot of things that still confuse me). We barely met other characters beside Emilia and Wrath, and we didn’t even visit Hell (aka Kingdom of the Wicked) despite the map featured is about it.
All in all, eventhough Kingdom of the Wicked didn’t exactly reach my expectations, it’s still worth the read–for the romance, the characters, and the foods. There are A LOT of foods featured here, that everytime I close the book I felt hungry. I’m sort of hoping that Kerri will share all the dishes featured here. Beside that, strangely, this book made me much more excited for the sequel. I have a feeling that it’s going to be what I originally expected from book one.
*I receive an ARC via Netgalley in exchange of honest review. Thank you Hodder & Stoughton for the book!