Thursday, November 12, 2020

Book Review: Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

Title: Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1)
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publication Date: October 27, 2020
Publisher: JIMMY Patterson
Pages: 448
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Two sisters.

One brutal murder.

A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…

And an intoxicating romance.

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…

I will absolutely admit that I was skeptical of Kingdom of the Wicked. I read every book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series, although I was unimpressed by all of them. Still, I was drawn to the promise of enemies-to-lovers romance with a Prince of Hell and could not resist. 

Kingdom of the Wicked is so completely different than Stalking Jack the Ripper and I couldn't be more pleased! While there is a murder mystery here, the fantasy elements of the Princes of Hell and their kingdom were at the forefront. Emilia is a strong (if reckless) heroine with a compelling story. I felt her devastation at the loss of her sister and sympathized with her desire to hold on to every piece of her. 

As usual, I was most concerned with the enemies-to-lovers romance, but I need not have been because this one was incredibly well written! The hatred between Emilia and Wrath was believable, as was Emilia's doubt as they grew to tolerate each other a bit more. Wrath was such a fascinating love interest! He managed to be both intimidating and gentle at the same time and I obviously ship it. The chemistry was SO good. We knew that it would be after Cresswell and Audrey Rose, but this was on another level. 

While the story was set in Italy, the witchy and Hell mythologies were incredibly well written. I am so hyped to see more of the Kingdom of the Wicked in the second book! Based on what was already introduced, I have a feeling the Princes' world is going to be amazing. 

I didn't realize until almost the very end that this book was the first in a series and promptly almost cried. The next book can't come soon enough! I am dying to find out what will happen after the cliffhanger this story ended on. I'll definitely be recommending this to all my dark-fantasy loving friends!