“Kingdom of the Wicked is a dark enemies-to-reluctant-allies-to-lovers fantasy that provides everything one could want from a book about witches and demons.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco is a dark fantasy YA romance filled with blood and magic , family and food. Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria live with their family in Sicily where the food in their small family run restaurant is amongst the most popular in town. Besides being wonderful cooks with lots of traditional recipes, the women of the family are witches, and the sisters have grown up hearing about the dangers of dark magic and the monsters and demons that could harm them. When Vittoria goes missing one evening, Emilia is not too concerned, sure that her sister is spending time with one of the local boys who has caught her eye, but when she goes to find her, all she finds is her desecrated body , lying in a pool of blood while a mysterious hooded figure stands over her with a dagger in hand. Determined to find out the truth about what happened to her sister, Emilia sets off down a dangerous path and ends up summoning Wrath, one of the Princes of Hell and binding him to her. Trusting a Prince of Hell is a risky thing to do but it may be the only way that Emilia will find out the truth about her sister’s death and prevent the same thing happening to other witches.
Kingdom of the Wicked is a really engaging story will well thought out and realised characters, particularly that of Emilia, who is smart, strong and determined, but also willing to manipulate those around her to get what she wants. Her Nonna is also a wonderful character and the bond she shared with Emilia felt really special. I loved the real world setting and be warned the food descriptions will definitely have your mouth watering. When it came to the fantasy elements, I liked how the world building was very naturally incorporated into the story in a very seamless manner, and how the magic system was revealed . The dynamics and dialogue between Emilia and Wrath were a real delight . The ending of the book definitely left me keen to see where the author will take the story next, there are still plenty of questions I need answers for, ideally as soon as possible.
I read and reviewed an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher, all opinions are my own.
Added 10th December 2020