Let’s Talk // Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

I did one other book discussion like this earlier in the year for Throne of Glass (click the link to check it out) and I wanted to start implementing these regularly for books that I’m reading that aren’t ARCs. These will just be a laid back discussion and some of my thoughts after reading whatever book is chosen for the “Let’s Talk” Discussion.

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“The War is eating at us all. Can it continue? Will it continue forever? Will someone finally break the cycle or will we be plunged into a new century of death?”

Before reading Wicked Saints there was of course controversy surrounding the themes in the book, from alcoholism to the lack of trigger warnings from the author so of course I decided to bump it up and read it as soon as I could. Let me first start off by saying that there’s a huge trigger warning for self harm. There’s a lot of self inflicted wounds in this book and mention of scars so please be aware of that if you do struggle with it. One character also struggles with alcohol addiction so be aware of that as well!

“She was chosen by the goddess of death. She never had a chance at innocence.”

Nadya proved to be a refreshing female lead in the book and was “the chosen one” of our story. I liked that she seemed present within the story, she never seemed to get distracted from the mission at hand and was well aware of all of the consequences of her actions. Morally grey characters are the name of the game in this book. She’s the only cleric in the history of Kalyazin that’s able to speak with The Gods and channel each of their powers in turn through the use of her prayer beads. As far as magic goes I totally found this to be a unique way to harness it and each God that she interacted with had their own personality and connection to Nadya. We open up anticipating an attack on the monastery that she grew up in and her internal conflict of fighting the Tranavians (known heretics) or saving herself to prevent The King getting ahold of her and using her direct line to the Gods as a weapon. There’s some discourse on whether or not she loses her mind over her love interest Malachiasz but I’m here to tell you that the chemistry between the two only adds to her character conflict and furthers her personal story line. Her closest friend Anna didn’t really serve a purpose for me other than her helping in the beginning of the story but I don’t mind her at all.

“You could be exactly what these countries need to stop fighting. Or you could rip them apart at the seams.”

Malachiasz is our resident bad boy and mystery man. Accompanying him are Rashid & Parijahan two Akolans who have the same views when it comes to this Holy War and have banded together with Malachiasz to help take down a dangerous plot that’s brewing in Tranavia. When Nadya and Malachiasz meet there’s definite insta-chemistry (as Duncan described it) and I didn’t think it distracted too much from the story even though it did come off a little random, it makes sense in the end though. I won’t ruin anything but Malachiasz is definitely contender for one of my favorite baddies of the year so far and his troubled past is a whole can of worms no one was ready for.

“And who are you that you can do what countless others have failed at over a century?”

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

Serefin is our dark prince with an alcohol addiction. Throughout the book we see that Serefin has always felt like he’s been expendable and that life is obviously as pointless as this Holy War he’s been fighting since he was young. When he’s discharged to capture Nadya he gets called back to Tranavia by the King to prepare for the Rawalyk a tournament of sorts to determine who will take the throne. From this point on we follow Serefin and his paranoia throughout the story because it’s clear that everyone around him knows something that he doesn’t and he assumes this can only end in death for him. I enjoyed Serefin because he added a bit of macabre relief within the book and in my opinion he goes through the most groundbreaking change. Serefin has a few friends Zaneta, Kacper, & Ostyia who are all equally as badass. I really loved the intimacy between Kacper and Serefin, their friendship and loyalty really stood out to me throughout the novel.

“He is a was and an is and never again, never again.”

-Codex of the Divine 50:118

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As far as writing goes the book wasn’t hard to follow at all, the pronunciation of names and terms took some getting used to but the story was beautiful. This is truly the gothic fantasy I didn’t know that I needed. The Blood Mages vs. Clerics and the use of Magic vs. Religion was done very well within the chapters. The story did seem to be a bit confusing with where it was leading sometimes and certain bits seemed to fall off but the story ended where it needed to and all of the loose ends somehow made sense? Duncan definitely set up the second book for another dark adventure. I’m curious to see where Malachiasz new journey takes him, what Serefin plans to do next, and what Nadya needs to discover to truly harness her power. As far as determining whether it was worth the hype? I personally tried not to get caught up in it so I could go in with a level head. I guess whether or not it was worth the hype is subjective, it didn’t rock my world after reading it but I’m definitely glad that I did. I rated this novel 4.3/5 🌟

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What did you think of Wicked Saints?

2 thoughts on “Let’s Talk // Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan”

  1. This is a great discussion! Your tweets are the reason I picked up this book from the library. It seems to be such a polarizing book in the online community. I’m glad you enjoyed it and I”m looking forward to reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

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