Posted in Book Review

Wicked Saints by Emily A Duncan

Read Dates: June 11, 2019 – June 18, 2019
Publication date: April 2, 2019
Source: Owned hardback

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Wicked Saints1

4.5 cats

Nadya is a cleric, the only one known to be left in the world. All she’s ever known is her home in a Kalyazin monastery where she learns and lives every day. With the gods on her side, she is able to utilize their magic, she need only ask.
Nadya’s world is turned upside down when soldiers and the High Price of Tranavia leave her home in ruins, taking her friends and mentors with it. The Tranavians and the Kalyazins have been at war for centuries, ever since the Tanavians cast out the gods from their land and relied solely on blood magic and the ruthless band of Vultures (blood mages turned monster), who follow their own code and their own king.
Nadya is on the run so as to not fall into the hands of the High Prince who wishes to use and abuse her divine magic for his own gain.
Nadya gains some unlikely allies and sets out on an adventure that could change her values and beliefs forever. There’s a lot Nadya doesn’t know and those truths will change the course of her life completely.

Before I even start to tell you how I feel about this book, let me tell you… I’m a huge D&D fan. This book is basically a D&D campaign written as a novel for people to read and enjoy and I LOVE IT. The minute I read the word “cleric” in this book, I was up and at attention waiting to see what this cleric could do.

I loved the idea of her having the favor of these gods that would grant her certain powers she was in need of at the moment… things as simple as light in dark places or the ability to know if someone is being truthful with her.

There are 20 known gods… as I read, I kept track of the ones that were mentioned. 13 total were mentioned. Nadya didn’t make use of all of them but I thought I’d make a cute little list of the ones we were met with.

Veceslav – god of war and protection
Marzenya – goddess of magic and sacrifice, goddess of winter and death (the goddess who claimed Nadya from infancy)
Zvonimira – goddess of light
Bozidarka – goddess of vision, goddess of prophecy
Horz – god of the heavens and stars
Devonya – goddess of the hunt
Myesta – goddess of the moons
Bozetjeh – god of wind, essence of speed and time
Alena – goddess of the sun
Krsnik – god of fire
Vaclav – god of truth
Zlatek – god of silence
Zbyhneuska – goddess of healing and health

I loved the little excerpts we get at the beginning of each chapter from the “Codex of the Divine”. Those were fun. They gave us little stories about past clerics, martyrs, saints, and past and present gods. There were a lot of really good ones and even ones that made me gasp out loud! But my favorite was this one:

Horz stole the stars and the heavens out from underneath Myesta’s control, and for that she has never forgiven him. For where can the moons rest if not in the heavens?
-Codex of the Divine, 5:26

That brings me to my biggest issue with the book. (Which isn’t SUCH a big issue…) It seemed like the gods didn’t really matter and there are some unanswered questions I had with them and with Nadya and her gifts. But this is a trilogy so I’m sure I’ll get some answers WHEN THE NEXT TWO BOOKS FINALLY COME OUT. Can’t believe I have to wait until next year for the second chapter in Nadya’s story.

Nadya. There’s something to talk about. She was fantastic. From the beginning she has this amazing independence and such a fierce protective nature when it comes to those she cares about. When she realizes the monastery is under attack, she grabs some voryens (daggers) and rushes headlong towards the fight. She just has her head on straight and she keeps an open mind. I love that. When she finds new information, she questions herself and adjusts her actions from what she was raised to do to what she needs to do. She doesn’t let anyone walk all over her. She tells multiple characters about themselves without thinking twice. She was such a joy to read.

Look, when you read the synopsis on Goodreads, you’re going to be like, “Uhh, is this a love triangle?” I’ll be honest, I was halfway through the book and I literally stopped mid-paragraph and wrote in my notes, “Is this going to be a love triangle?”
I’ll admit, love triangles are one of my guilty pleasures when they’re done right BUT this book was not a love triangle. In fact, it was better.
Yes. There is a bit of romance in this book but it comes with a price and a purpose and I think what the author did with this romance was fantastic. Did I see this duo coming from the beginning? Yes. But did I think that’s where they would end up as we reached the last page of the book? NOPE.

You guys know I like the bad guys in books and this book is no exception. Although, I’m not adding anyone from this book to my fictional boyfriend list this time.

Look guys, if you enjoy archetypal hero stories, then DIVE IN. This is definitely one of those and it was definitely worth the wait. The author had a plan, she knew our hero’s story and she filled in the rest with some beautiful, poetic, dark, and haunting elements. I’ll be anxiously awaiting Something Dark and Holy #2!

*Let me hit you with this throwback that played right as I was at the end of this book:


Go read this book and then listen to that song when you’re done and TELL ME it isn’t perfect. You won’t. Because it’s perfect.

+You may have noticed, my cats have changed! I was trying to create one that looked like one of my kitties and I finally found the time to work with it. I feel like my blog is a little more complete now. 🖤

Keri

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