Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco | book review

This review is spoiler-free!

“Love is the most powerful magic. Above all else, remember that. It will always guide you where you need to go.”

Kerri Maniscalco, Kingdom of the Wicked

Title: Kingdom of the Wicked
Series: Kingdom of the Wicked, #1
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Published: Oct. 27, 2020
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Category: YA
Genre: fantasy, magic, witches
Pages: 372
My Rating: ★★★☆☆
Goodreads page

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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…

[ This synopsis was taken directly from Goodreads. ]

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Given the response this book has had on the internet, I thought I was going to be wowed by the story. I picked it up because of all the book buzz surrounding it on the internet. My expectations were very high, and while it was good, it wasn’t as amazing as I thought it would be.

I love that the story is set in Sicily. I haven’t read too many books set in Italy, so that was a lot of fun. I also love that the story revolves around contemporary witches. Most witch books are set in a fantasy world, but it was cool to see one set in contemporary Italy and with hidden magic fused into the real world.

Can we talk about the food real quick? I haven’t tried Sicilian food before, but now I really want to. I’m a huge foodie, and the descriptions of the dishes and desserts made me super hungry while reading. I liked how the Sicilian restaurant had such a family/homey vibe to it and how there were multiple generations interacting with each other (namely the grandma, Emilia’s parents, and Emilia). Because the world,food, and witchcraft was so interesting, I had no trouble immersing myself into the story. It helped that it was fast-pace but not rushed.

All that being said, I didn’t like Emilia that much. Most of the time I was indifferent, but there were moments I didn’t like her at all. She was painted as the level-headed, practical twin while Vittoria was more of the wild child. Seeing Emilia make some obvious mistakes felt like watching the main character of a horror movie go towards the flickering light instead of away from it. There were times where I would be like lady, do you have a single preservation bone in your body? Needless to say, it got a bit frustrating at times.

Also, there are a lot of characters to keep up with. You have Emilia and Wrath, Emilia’s family, the other witch families, Wrath’s prince brothers, Emilia’s friend’s cousin, Vittoria’s secret boyfriend, that one dude in the brotherhood that has a crush on Emilia, that other dude in the brotherhood that really hates witches, etc. etc. etc. The amount of times I asked who’s that again? while reading was embarrassing. It got to the point where I gave up going back in the story to find who a certain character was.

If you’re a fan of Rhysand from ACOTAR or Roth from The Dark Elements, you might like Wrath. He’s a powerful prince of Hell who is awful but has a heart of gold… sort of. He’s the kind of guy to warn you that he’s bad, but some of his actions show that he can be good. While I like these kinds of characters, Wrath fell a bit flat for me. Maybe it’s because there are a lot of good “bad boys” in YA now, and Wrath didn’t bring anything unique to the table to make him stand out. While that’s fine and dandy, it feels slightly overdone now.

Overall, this witchy story was fun to read. I liked the world and the culture but had a hard time connecting with the characters. If you want to go on a murder mystery adventure, this book is for you. If you want a book to live out your witch-vibe fantasy, this book might also interest you. If you want to drool over delicious descriptions of food, I highly recommend this. I’m interested to see where the author takes this story, because that ending left me with more questions than answers and I need to know what happens next.

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I give Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco 3 out of 5 stars!

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What are some of your favorite Sicilian food (if you’ve tried any)?
If you could have any magical power, what would it be and why?
What has been your favorite read of 2021 so far?

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Stay awkward and amazing!

2 thoughts on “Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco | book review

  1. Marta @ of waves and pages 02/16/2021 / 4:01 pm

    The only book of this author that I’ve read is Stalking Jack the Ripper and I never actually got around to finish that series .. though I’ve been told that I should XD I really don’t know if I’d get to this one, because I haven’t been reading lots of positive reviews :/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jessica 02/21/2021 / 6:56 pm

      For some reason, I didn’t make the connection that Kerri Maniscalco also wrote the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. Kingdom of the Wicked was mediocre, so unless you’re interested in the story I wouldn’t recommend it.

      Liked by 1 person

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