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

Nadya has spent her whole life being told she is the savior her people needs. She is the only one able to speak with all the gods. She is going to be the one to bring back the gods to the heathens and save her people from the war. What happens when she is cut off from her gods and begins to learn the truth about who they are and what they truly want? Can she change her destiny?
Malachiasz is considered a monster. He has a dark past, one he can’t escape. Can he find a way to live his life while also protecting the new people he has come to love and care about?
Serafin is a prince who is out to prove his family wrong. He has been shipped off to the front lines of the war his whole life. Now he has to take a stand and make a name for himself. Can he find himself and save his kingdom at the same time?

“We’re all monsters, Nadya,” […] “Some of us just hide it better than others.”

Mal achiasz, page, 233

This was a book I got in an Owlcrate subscription box. I don’t know if I would have picked it up on my own but I did find myself intrigued by it. I loved the idea of the gods and this new mythology. Mythology is something that has always interested me. The way that people used stories and gods to help make sense of the world is one of those things that I adore.

I also love reading books where whole new gods and mythologies are created. I thought this one did a great job at putting us in this world and helping us to understand the gods and who they were. You got a good sense of how they behaved, what they wanted and who they favored. They didn’t feel jumbled around around or too confusing. The few sentences we got in the beginning of some of the chapters were enough to give me a clear idea of who we were talking about.

I liked that this book felt like there was a lot of potential to this story. This one did a lot of the set up a first book needs to do and it did it well. It left me wondering about what could happen next and where the story is going. I liked the hints at the creation of the gods and what that could mean. I will probably read the next book for that aspect alone; I really want to know the origins of these gods and what that means for the characters.

I also thought it interesting how Nadya’s crisis of faith was handled. She is someone who grew up being told her gods were the only beings that mattered and the only ones who could help her. She defined herself by them. Then she is thrown into a new world where she is cut off from them and begins learning new things that plant doubts in her mind. It was interesting to see her start to think for herself and begin to consider the idea that what she has been fed and told her whole life may not be true.

“It’s what we tie to the word ‘god,’ I think that bothers me. This idea that these beings are so much more than we could ever be so they deserve our worship.”

Malachiasz, page 172

I was not thrilled with any of the characters. None of them stood out to me as ones that I could latch on to. They all had good elements but none felt fully developed and fledged out.

Nadya’s story centered around her trying to find herself and I liked that to a point. I felt though too often she fell back on her old thinking and was constantly going back and forth. I wanted her to be a bit stronger.

I think Malachiasz’s character was the one that felt like he had the most potential to me. He is one that we are supposed to see as the villain. We are supposed to fear him. But we quickly see his soft and good side. That whole storyline moves well until the end. The decision he makes at the end completely flips his whole character development on its head. I felt disappointed by his choice and I am hoping there is more to it in the next book.

“Where would she be when the agony of losing everything finally caught up with her; would she be in a place where she could handle it?”

Nadya, page 83

I have said this before and I will continue to say it until it becomes something YA books truly consider; not every friendship has to lead to a romance!

I love a good romance. I am all for characters finding that one person who understands them and helps them grow. I adore a sweet couple and one that I can relate to. What I don’t like is two people who are afraid of each other, hate each other, despise each other one minute then have one small moment and are suddenly falling all over one another.

That is not how love or attraction works! You don’t despise someone, and then they touch your arm and you get tingly and throw everything out the window. You might begin to see a different side of them and that can be a slow burn that takes time. There is nothing wrong with a romance that gradually develops as a character learns who the other one truly is. I love that storyline, but that takes time and effort. That needs to be done slowly.

This book went one minute of Nadya being terrified of a certain character and considering him a monster to feeling like she has to kiss him. How is that possible? I could not figure out how one moment changed it all and enough to create this desire that trumped everything else in her life. That just did not sit well with me.

“I’m the first person who refuse to fail.”

Page 314

I ended up giving this book three stars, mostly because of the potential I saw in it. I have a feeling the plot can go in a very interesting direction. I probably will read the sequel but I really hope the characters get better in the next one.

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