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Wicked Saints: A Novel (Something Dark and Holy Book 1) by [Emily A. Duncan]
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Wicked Saints: A Novel (Something Dark and Holy Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 1,334 ratings
Book 1 of 3: Something Dark and Holy

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up—A holy war, religious fanaticism, and magical (perhaps divine) powers propel Duncan's protagonists through a Slavic-inspired warscape littered with church ruins and superstition. In the country of Kalyazin, Nadya has been raised in a fortified monastery, the last of the clerics, imbued with magic from the gods that only she can hear. Serefin, heir to the throne of Tranavia and heretical blood mage, can barely remember when he was not on the battlefield. The long-running hostility between their two countries brings them together through circuitous plot developments and uneasy alliances. The core characters include Malachiasz, a mysterious, dangerous mage with secrets that could destroy both nations. The steady action moves through a well-built world with Russian-inspired names that add to the strong sense of setting. Nadya, Malachiasz, and Serefin's trajectories meet and merge, with the attraction between Nadya and Malachiasz a bit awkwardly developed. Nadya's intimate conversations with the divine saints have the tone of teasing family squabbles, which makes the moment the saints turn malevolent disconcertingly scary. Densely descriptive prose flows smoothly despite a sometimes uneven pace, with lush, specific depictions of magic that are compelling. The conclusion is oddly anticlimactic, despite regicide and filicide, but certainly leaves room for a sequel to address those threads left untied. VERDICT Purchase where Leigh Bardugo's books have a following.—Janice M. Del Negro, GSLIS Dominican University, River Forest, IL --This text refers to the hardcover edition.

About the Author

EMILY A. DUNCAN is the New York Times bestselling author of Wicked Saints and Ruthless Gods. They work as a youth services librarian and received a Master’s degree in library science from Kent State University, which mostly taught them how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, they enjoy playing copious amounts of video games and dungeons and dragons. They live in Ohio. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07HF39CZH
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Wednesday Books (April 2, 2019)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ April 2, 2019
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 11570 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 398 pages
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 1,334 ratings

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
1,334 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on April 18, 2019
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88 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on May 21, 2019
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54 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on April 2, 2019
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31 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on April 30, 2019
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34 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable enough read but didn't quite live up to my fevered expectations
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 9, 2019
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4 people found this helpful
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Books of a Ginger
2.0 out of 5 stars Bloody, Dark, but deeply disappointing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 15, 2020
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3 people found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars Blood and bone. Magic and monsters and tragic power...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 6, 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars Blood and bone. Magic and monsters and tragic power...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 6, 2021
"Blood and blood and bone. Magic and monsters and tragic power..."
WOW! I mean, just wow! This book blew my mind! I joined a read a long after seeing it mentioned on Bookstagram and Booktok. I hadn't heard any spoilers, bar it being based on Russian/Eastern European folklore, and I was very intrigued. If you like Shadow and Bone then you'll love Wicked Saints...
"I'm heartless, but I'm not cruel..."
Wicked Saints is a dark and gothic fantasy set in a version of Eastern Europe that's seeped in a war between the divine power of the gods and the secular magic of blood mages. It follows the POV of Nadya, the last remaining cleric gifted with divine power and forced to flee the monastery she grew up in, and Serefin, the enemy crown Prince and a powerful blood mage who is looking for her. While on the run she encounters three refugees, one of which is a terriblely strong and mysterious blood mage, Malachiasz. They convince her to travel to the enemy kingdom in an attempt to assassinate the king and put an end to the holy war ravaging their two countries. And as you have it, chaos ensues...
"You could be exactly what these countries need to stop their fighting. Or you could rip them apart at the seams..."
I went in to this hearing mixed reviews on the story. Some people absolutely adored it and other people thought it was too chaotic and confusing. To be honest, it is a bit but that chaos spoke to me and I loved it. I'm still left with so many questions and there were times I was wondering what is going on but the book had me hooked and I couldn't stop reading it.
From the first chapter we are straight in to the action and throughout the book it doesn't really let up, it's go, go, go. I loved reading the dual POVs from characters on each side of the holy war. I do wish we got to see Malachiasz's POV and perhaps that might be something in the next books.
There is an enemies to lovers romance, although it does develop quite quickly. I'm a sucker for romance but in this book I found myself too engaged in the plot to mind that the romance was light.
I read Shadow and Bone before this and I preferred Wicked Saints as it felt more was happening with the characters.
"We're all monsters,some of us just hide it better than others..."
Also, shout out to Nadya who understands our struggles with masks... 😂
"Nadya had only been wearing a mask for a day and already she was fantasising about ripping it off..."
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4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing concepts and characters
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 18, 2020
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not what I’d hoped
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 28, 2020
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