I was given an e-Advanced Reader Copy of this novel through Netgalley. Many thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to do so!
Emily A. Duncan’s debut novel Wicked Saints has two types of magic, one given by the Gods and the other given by blood. Nadya’s magic is given to her by the Gods. Gods who through her are going to bring their presence back to where they have been cast aside for blood magic. Malachiasz, a rogue blood mage who, albeit for different reasons, wants to take down the blasphemous king. The two travel to the kingdom full of heretics. Nadya’s is heavily aided by Malachiasz to get her close to the king. Serefin is the King’s son and the second point of view in the novel. The three of them eventually come together in a fight against the king, each using the other as a means to an end.
Oh geez where do I start… I didn’t not like this book. It was like riding a roller coaster… a bad one. Some parts were interesting and exciting and others were just…there. Parts of this novel added nothing to the novel. The magic system is barely explained. Sure the Gods give you magic, but how are Clerics picked? Is there some kind of system do how the Gods choose? And why do they all talk to Nadya..which is apparently rare? Yes the other kingdom killed off all of the Clerics that knew about but why didn’t the Gods keep picking new people when their chosen died? I mean, if they’re almighty why don’t they?
Then there’s blood magic. Which I’ve always thought was a really cool magic system, though I’ve never seen it done in a way that was exceptionally well thought out and Wicked Saints is no exception. Malachiasz and Serefin both use blood magic. There is no explanation as to who or why people can use blood magic. They also mention that the King has blood magic but it is weaker than his son’s. What makes some people’s blood magic more powerful than others? Blood is composed of the same thing as everyone else? Eeek. This magic system is a hot mess.
I’d also like to mention that the ‘Villain’ of the novel is only around for like 100 pages tops and he’s barely mentioned. He’s suppose to be this big evil dude, but he’s not build in a way that makes him so. He’s just kind there so the author as something to bring everyone together for a common cause and then use him to divide them. And while were on the topic of characters, Nadya is so dumb. It’s like watching a horror movie where you’re screaming at the main character to not go look to she were the noise is coming from but they do it anyway and then they die. She continuously trusts someone that lies to her constantly and believes that it will be the last time that he will lie to her, which of course comes back to bite her.
The romance in this novel is so unnecessary. We are reminded ever 5 pages by Nadya that she shouldn’t love this man because he’s a blood mage but she does anyway. The gods, despite that she constantly says that they will punish her for kissing him or holding hands don’t. Malachiasz is a manipulative jerk, and their romance as zero growth. Please, YA authors stop putting romance in a book because you feel like it needs to be there.
Duncan’s debut novel is just a mess. I wouldn’t recommend reading it and I won’t be picking up the next one. I feel like there’s something that missed when others seem to enjoy it so much but this novel was just not for me.