Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco
Published by: Hodderscape
Released: 27th October 2020
I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Emilia and her twin sister Victoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Victoria 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 discover who did this, and to seek vengeance at any cost—even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.
Then Emilia meets Wrath, the outlier among the seven demon brethren, always choosing duty over pleasure. He’s been tasked by his master with investigating a series of women’s murders on the island. When Emilia and Wrath’s fates collide, it’s clear this disturbing mystery will take a bewitching turn…
Kerri Maniscalco is an author who I discovered last year, after reading her Stalking Jack the Ripper series, which I loved! So, when I found out she was writing a new series Kingdom of the Wicked I knew I had to read it and was ecstatic when I received an e-arc. As soon as I jumped into it, I was captivated and it certainly exceeded all of my expectations.
Emilia and her sister Victoria are streghe, witches that secretly live among humans. One night, after Victoria misses a dinner service at the family restaurant, Emilia investigates and soon finds the body of her sister. Devastated and fuelled with revenge, Emilia sets out to find out who did this to her sister, even if that means using dark magic. Emilia soon meets Wrath, one of the seven demon brothers who has been tasked with investigating the murder of women on the island. Emilia is soon drawn to working with Wrath, but it is clear that this mystery is due to take a sinister turn.
WOW! Is the first thing I can say about Kingdom of the Wicked. As soon as I started reading I knew I was in for one hell of a ride, and this didn’t stop until I finished the very last page. I love a murder mystery and this one certainly kept me on my toes, and I honestly couldn’t tell what was going to happen next. With most mystery novels I like to take a stab at guessing who’s behind the crime, but with Kingdom of the Wicked, I couldn’t tell. You get taken on this whirlwind, with twists at every corner and you are left breathless come to the end. I don’t think I’ve read a murder mystery quite like this one in a while, and I’m not sure if anything will be able to beat it if I’m being totally honest.
The setting within Kingdom of the Wicked was STUNNING! Set against a nineteenth-century Italian backdrop, the descriptions of the surroundings were poetic, almost lyrical at times and this helped transport my mind into this Sicilian village. Also, the food! Oh, the food! You could certainly tell that Maniscalco had a passion for Italian cuisine through the way she wrote about each dish, including every little minute detail. I must admit, I was left feeling rather hungry after finishing the book.
Emilia was a character who grew, as the story progressed. At the start, she’s quiet and in her sister’s shadow. However, after discovering her sister’s body we see a different side of her. Fuelled with rage, grief and revenge we see her grow in confidence and willingness to do whatever it takes to find out what happened to her sister. Wrath, well he was certainly something else! I found his backstory to be rather intriguing and I am looking forward to finding out more in book two. The way the demon brothers are based on the seven deadly sins is such a unique twist, and yet again I am looking forward to seeing how that develops. There was also a slight romantic plot within the story, which was steeped in sexual tension, and I found myself becoming invested in this subplot. I am eager to see what happens between these two characters as the story progresses.
Kingdom of the Wicked was a thrilling, compelling read that had me gripped from the very start. This world that Maniscalco has created is rich in magic, history, mystery and incredible sounding food, and I, for one cannot wait to get my hands on book two.