Title: Kingdom of the Wicked
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: James Patterson Kids
Release date: October 27th, 2020
Series: Kingdom of the Wicked #1
Book links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Indigo
Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.
Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…
First of all, thank you so much to James Patterson Books and Terminal Tours for providing me a eARC of this book in exchange of an honest review and the chance to be a part of the #GetWickedTour. You can find the full tour schedule here. As always, all thoughts stated are my own.
If one thing can be said about this book is that it’s the perfect choice for fall. If you’re into the spooky, halloween-esque vibe of this season, Kingdom of the Wicked is definitely the book you should be reading. It does not only have mysterious and perfectly constructed descriptions of witchcraft and dark magic, but also the setting (Palermo, a few centuries back) gives the story the perfect touch to make it the best choice in anticipation of Halloween.
“Never forget: forging a bond made from love is as dangerous as those made through hate.”
From the get-go, I was invested in the story of the twins. We have Emilia, our main character that it’s a little more reserved and held-back than her sister, the wild and reckless Vittoria. I connected with them instantly and they were great characters we get to know deeply, as well as the bond they have, which is complex and relatable. Along the way, Emilia discovers the many secrets that were actually in between them and that’s something we as readers can relate to in real life: most times we never truly get to fully know someone, even if we’re very close to them. Another remarkable member of this family was Nonna, who always tries to protect the sisters, but that protection might hurt them in the end because they’re unprepared for what the real world holds.
“This was not the kind of prince written about in fairy tales. There was no golden crown sitting atop his dark head, or promises of safety waiting in his sculpted, tattooed arms. He was death and rage and fire and anyone stupid enough to forget that would be consumed by his inferno.”
This book talks about the seven Princes of Hell, the most powerful demons in their realm, and we get to know each one of them as the story unravels. The author made each Prince very unique and it was really interesting to see how the connected with the witches (or Strega) and their interactions with Emilia, but especially Wrath. I know for a fact that Kerri Maniscalco creates amazing male protagonists and this time she didn’t disappoint. As you can expect from a demon, Wrath is clever and incredibly smart but also has other layers to him that you slowly get to know.
The backstory of the di Carlo witches and of the magical world in general was so well written. Usually, books about witches don’t include much background information and many things are left to the reader’s imagination, but this isn’t the case. Including spells, dangerous bargains, curses and evil objects, Kingdom of the Wicked has a rich worldbuilding where the readers can lose themselves in, and it has the potential to expand and become even greater in the next books.
The food descriptions in the story had me so hungry the entire time. The book brings you closer to the culinary arts from Italy, and her passion for cooking gives Emilia’s character more realism and depth. Witch books are usually so invested in the magical side of the plot that they don’t tend to give many importance to other things a reader can also enjoy, and this was a detail that I really appreciate was included.
“A good book was its own brand of magic, one I could safely indulge in without fear of getting caught by those who hunted us. I loved escaping from reality, especially during times of trouble. Stories made everything possible.”
Kingdom of the Wicked is much more than a spooky story. In its pages we see Maniscalco’s great ability to create a dark and mysterious world with great detail and complex characters to match. It makes the reader reflect on what someone might be willing to do to avenge the death of a loved one, and the dangerous challenge of not letting yourself get dragged by the darkness while you’re at it. I’m really excited to find out what this story will bring next in the sequel!
Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.
She is the #1 NYT and USA Today bestselling author of the Stalking Jack the Ripper series and the forthcoming Kingdom of the Wicked.
Follow Kerri on Twitter and Instagram where she’s always ready to talk fictional crushes.
JIMMY Patterson books is running a pre-order incentive campaign. All who pre-order a hardcover, ebook, or audiobook edition of Kingdom of the Wicked before 11:59pm ET on October 26, 2020 will receive an enamel pin, signed bookplate, and pair of oracle cards. This offer is only available in the US and pre-orders from subscription boxes are not eligible. Upload your receipt, and see the Terms & Conditions and details here.