Wicked Saints by Emily A Duncan – Spoiler Free Review

Title: Wicked Saints
Series Name: Something Dark and Holy
Author: Emily A Duncan
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2019
Pages: 385 (Hardcover)
Publishers: Wednesday Books (St. Martin’s Press)

Goodreads Synopsis

An instant New York Times bestseller!

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy..


Okay, this book was quite disappointing to me in many ways. One of which was the lack or world building & explanation around the magic systems. While I wasn’t necessarily confused about the magic, there just wasn’t enough of it! We were only told the bear minimum of what it can do, not how or why or any background. Again for the world building, there was barely any! I feel like I don’t know any background about the world, the magic, the war or anything really. The book was quite fast paced but I think that was part of it’s downfall as there was never slow points to be able to explain anything.

This book felt very centred around the characters which meant the plot felt very lacking. However, even though it felt more character driven the characters were very lacking and under developed as well.

I also want to talk on the fact that this book was advertised a ‘villain romance’ but this slightly spoilery, so skip to the Plot section if you don’t want spoilers.
I honestly don’t see this as a villain romance. Nadya falls into Mal’s group SO quickly. There was inner turmoil because of what he was, throughout but she never really acted on that! She just accepted him, trusted him and fell for him so quickly! Even as a reader, he didn’t feel like a villain for 80% of the book. He was a little questionable but it all seemed genuine until the very end when he betrayed her. So yeah, I really don’t think this is even a villain romance. It’s just a romance but one character turned out to be an ass…


The plot of this book was kinda all over the place & there wasn’t really a big ending like was expected. The whole book felt like it was building to something. I was waiting for Nadya to have her big powerful moment but it never happened. It all just kinda feel flat in the end.


This book follows Multi POV between Nadya (Nadezhda) & Serefin. There is also one major side character, Mal (Malachiasz).

The only character I enjoyed was Serefin. He was a kinda mysterious character and we were left guessing whether he was the bad or good guy throughout. Even though he was one of the POVs the main focus seemed to be on Nadya, which is mostly where the plot takes place. So his POV points were lacking a little when it came to plot but I still enjoyed reading from him. He felt the most developed out of the characters.

As for both Nadya & Mal, they were both very flat one dimensional characters. Nadya was built up to be a kinda ‘chosen one’ character but that never amounted to anything. While her POV was where the action was, I didn’t like reading from her POV. She was a bland character & very contradictory of herself all the time! Thoughts would be one thing but actions would be the opposite. Neither Nadya or Mal developed at all throughout the book, they felt like the same boring characters all the way through & I didn’t care for either of them. Which made me care less about what happened to them in the plot..


This book was just disappointing in so many aspects! I started out by reading this physically but then swapped to the audiobook. Which I will say was quite well done. I definitely prefer the audiobook for this one. The 2 voice actors that play Nadya & Serefin brought the characters to life a bit more than they actually felt in the book. I am still curious about book 2 of this book, mainly for Serefin and his story but I probably won’t pick it up unless I can grab the audiobook.

Thank you to NetGalley & Wednesday Books/St. Martin’s Press for providing me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

You can purchase a copy for yourself at any of the links below.

You could also use my affiliate links for Book DepositoryBooktopia or Angus & Robertson.

*Please be aware that the Hardcover of Wicked Saints has deckled edges
ISBN: 9781250195661


Book Depository
Hardcover // Paperback

Amazon Australia
eBook // Hardcover

Angus and Robertson

Have you read Wicked Saints?
What did you think of it?
Did you find it as disappointing?
What were your thoughts on the Villain Romance?

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7 thoughts on “Wicked Saints by Emily A Duncan – Spoiler Free Review

  1. Oh no.. I don’t like it when books barely have world build or magic explanation..
    I will still read it, but maybe going into it knowing this will help 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad to see I wasn’t the only one who didn’t love it. The concept seemed so cool, and I was super excited for it, but I actually DNF after about 50 pages into it, largely because the writing didn’t appeal to me. I might give it another try at a later time, but for now, it just wasn’t for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I only kept going because I was able to listen to the audiobook. It was also the BOTM for the Facebook group I run, so I needed to finish it to create discussion questions. Otherwise I would of DNFd.


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