ARC Review: Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

Happy Halloween! My plan to spend an entire night reading has fallen through and, honestly, I think I’m going to nap my way through the rest of the evening, so I figured I’d get in the spooky spirit with a very Halloween-y review instead!

If you follow me on Twitter, you’re probably already aware of how I feel about this book, but here’s my review of Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco (thank you so much to James Patterson Presents for the e-ARC!)…

Emilia has been brushing off stories about the princes of Hell for her entire life, chalking her grandmother’s fear up to superstition and folk tales. She was born and raised a witch so it isn’t that she doesn’t believe; it’s just that she and her sister know that these creatures of nightmares are too stuck in hell to be any kind of a threat.

At least, that’s what she believes, until one dark night in the monastery, her twin sister is found dead, missing a heart and being observed by a beautiful stranger with a devilish aura and a golden knife.

Not long after, as her motivation to find and punish her sister’s killer devours her, Emilia finds herself face to face with enough princes of Hell to see exactly why her grandmother has been warning her all along. And what’s worse is that working alongside one of them might be the only way to find out what truly happened to her sister, and why.

Words cannot express how much I loved Emilia as a protagonist. She was the most strong-willed, fearless character I have read all year and, despite wanting to scream at her in the beginning to stop and think before running into danger, I admired her commitment and believed within a few pages that she could handle anything that was thrown at her (and there was a lot!). Her dedication to her sister never faltered and Emilia didn’t come across as weak even once on her journey to hunting down what she needed to know.

Wrapped up in this story of vengeance was a wonderfully built world of wickedness that I could read about forever. The summonings, the demons and the spellbinding magic were effortlessly written and completely believable. If anyone ever tries to tell me that it’s possible to outgrow YA fantasy, this is the book I will recommend to convince them otherwise.

This story was beautifully crafted, grippingly fast-paced and devilishly creepy, with just the right amount of ethereally beautiful princes of Hell. I ordered a hardback copy before I was even halfway through the ebook because I knew that this would be a book I needed on my shelf and I can guarantee I will be recommending this to anyone who will listen, especially if they’re looking for an wicked tale to add to their Halloween TBR.

Rating: 5/5

BOOK REVIEW: THE QUEEN OF NOTHING by Holly Black

I finished this book seconds ago so please bear with me if my thoughts are a little incomprehensible. Also, bear with me if they seem a little vague. I’ll attempt to give a full review but am aware of just how much expectation there is for this book and how much I don’t want to accidentally spoil it for anyone. It’s so hard to say anything about this without giving too much away but I’m really going to give it my best shot.

If you’re reading this book, I assume you’ve already read The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King. If not, the plot would make very little sense to you and I fully recommend you go and read them now (I’ve linked them at the bottom of this page!)

The Queen of Nothing is the gripping finale to Holly Black’s most-anticipated trilogy and, although my thoughts are still jumbled, I’m certain that it doesn’t disappoint. Parts of it get a little weird and overly-fantasy compared to the first two but, as a book series about Faerieland, that’s completely to be expected. Holly Black really uses her creative license and ability to use magic a lot more in this book than I noticed in the other two books and, honestly, I’m mostly just impressed with the scope of her imagination and how realistic she can make everything seem.

The general premise of this book is that Jude has been exiled from Faerie by her husband, and the High King, Cardan. Jude’s twin sister, Taryn, arrives early on in the story with a desperate request for Jude to help her by returning shortly to Faerie. When that ‘short trip’ doesn’t go exactly to plan, Jude finds herself rapidly invested in the conflicts of the throne once again.

The characters remain much the same throughout this book as the other two, with Jude really, finally getting the chance to show what she is capable of in terms of telling people what to do. My favourite development in the whole story, though, is definitely Vivi. Although many of her storylines are side-lined, she really develops as a character in this much more than in the last two books. We also get a lot more insight into each character’s personal lives, which I really loved.

The one part of this book that I take some issue with is the ending, so I’m going to be purposely vague. I appreciate the ending and believe that Holly Black tied the series together well, but parts of it just seemed a little less complex than the rest of the trilogy. Overall, though, I was generally very impressed and think that she brought everything impressively to a close, with very few unanswered questions left and a lot of emotions running high.

As always with Holly Black’s books, the writing itself is stunning. The imagery of Faerie and, even to some extent, the human world is incredibly descriptive and she paints a fantasy image in a way that very few authors can. Alongside her interesting characters, this makes for a book that you can’t help saying ‘just one more chapter’ to. It’s so easy to ignore the outside world with this series and I’m delighted to have had one more chance to do that.

I would recommend this series so much. If you’ve read the first two, obviously this is a must-read, but if you haven’t, you really, really should (the other two are 5-star in my opinion). I’m not disappointed at all and, honestly, I’m so sad to say goodbye to these characters after only discovering them six months ago.

MY RATING: 4/5

If you haven’t bought this book already, you can get it here.

You can also buy The Cruel Prince here and The Wicked King here.

(Disclaimer: I get a small commission if you use these links!)