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Wicked Saints: A Novel: 1 (Something Dark and Holy, 1) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, 2 April 2019

4.4 out of 5 stars 1,004 ratings

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Product description


**Indie Next Pick for the Spring 2019 Kids’ List**

THE NERD DAILY, “The Best Fantasy + Sci-Fi Books of 2019"

PASTE MAGAZINE, "The 19 Best Young Adult Novels of 2019"

SEVENTEEN, "The 70+ Best Young Adult Books of 2019 So Far"

BOOKRIOT, “20 YA Dark Fantasy Books For Your Winter TBR”

BUZZFEED, "29 YA Books You Absolutely Must Read This Spring"

GOODREADS, “32 Big Books that YA Fans Can’t Wait for in 2019”

CULTRESS, “19 books we can’t wait to get our hands on in 2019”

EPIC READS, "The 16 Most Anticipated YA Books to Read in April"

SYFY, "6 April YA Novels That are Out of This World"

"If you like your young adult fantasy full of ice, blood, and angst, Wicked Saints will sweep you up in its wintery embrace." - NPR, "3 Young Adult Novels To Help You Out Of Hibernation"

"This dark fantasy starts off with a bang... The upfront presence of the gods adds an intriguing twist to a brutal story. The ending is as powerful as the opening, and there are explosive elements waiting to detonate in the expected sequels." - BOOKLIST

“If you love dark fantasy this book promises to be a brutal, enchanting gem, full of terrifying blood-magic.” – BOOKRIOT, “20 Dark Fantasy Books For Your Winter TBR”

“Rarely does a dark, magical epic have so effective a character-grounded sense of humor.” - BULLETIN OF THE CENTER OF CHILDREN'S BOOKS

"Filled with stunning landscapes, engaging lore, and an enemies-to-lovers plot for the ages, Wicked Saints is a dense epic about magic, sacrifice, love, and betrayal." - NERDIST, "8 Books to Enjoy Until Netflix's SHADOW AND BONE"

"Emily A. Duncan’s debut YA novel does not disappoint. It’s thrilling and brutal, reading like a heavy metal song. And it’s the first book in a trilogy! I cannot wait for books two and three―and for whatever else this blistering new talent writes. For Fans of: Authors of dark fantasy novels, like Leigh Bardugo." - PASTE MAGAZINE

"Will leave readers hungry for a sequel." - PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"I highly recommend WICKED SAINTS to fantasy readers. Emily Duncan’s writing style reminds me of Leigh Bardugo’s. If you enjoyed the setting of Grisha Trilogy and the characters of SIX OF CROWS, I believe you will enjoy WICKED SAINTS. Duncan’s debut novel is perfect for readers looking for intrigue, dark magic and betrayal on every page." - TEENREADS

About the Author

EMILY A. DUNCAN is the New York Times bestselling author of Wicked Saints and Ruthless Gods. They work as a youth services librarian and received a Master’s degree in library science from Kent State University, which mostly taught them how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, they enjoy playing copious amounts of video games and dungeons and dragons. They live in Ohio.

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Product details

  • Publisher : Wednesday Books (2 April 2019)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 400 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1250195667
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1250195661
  • Reading age : 13 - 18 years
  • Item Weight : 602 g
  • Dimensions : 23.5 x 15.88 x 23.62 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 1,004 ratings

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
1,004 global ratings
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Top reviews from India

Reviewed in India on 28 October 2019
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Reviewed in India on 3 April 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Gods, Romance and Magic
By Aditi@AThousandWordsAMillionBooks on 3 April 2019

It was a dark fantasy novel, with a complicated forbidden romance, intense world-building, complicated, multi-faced characters, power and OH SO MANY TWISTS AND LIES and I loved every minute that I was immersed in Emily Duncan’s debut novel.


1. THE PLOT: I’m always afraid that fantasy with romance means that the romance will overshadow the plot but despite the fact that romance was a big part of Wicked Saints, the plot, the reason behind the war, the progression, the power-seeking was ALL SO WELL DONE. I was not only invested in the characters but also the story and NOW THAT I’M DONE, I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF.

2. THE GIRL, THE PRINCE, AND THE MONSTER: I LOVED Serefin, Nadya and Malachiasz as individual characters and together. I can’t start explaining them, and their growth through the book without spoilers but THEY FELT LIKE THEY WERE REAL CHARACTERS, trying to understand their purpose, with unwavering love to save their country and immense power and I loved it.

3. THE MAGIC: By the time the end (and the moths) came, I was a little lost, but I loved every minute of discovering the different magic that existed in this world. It’s always intriguing when magic that doesn’t follow standard rules and Emily Duncan’s world was definitely different.

4. THE ROMANCE: I think I more love how the romance developed as the two characters traveled and schemed together. They were such polar opposites, in terms of loyalty and power, and I loved seeing how Emily Duncan played with that in the book.

I feel like my review hasn’t done justice to the magnificence that is Wicked Saints. I was HOOKED at every turn, invested in the plot, the war, and the romance and totally in love with the characters. It is one of the best debut novels I’ve read in a while and I CANNOT RECOMMEND IT ENOUGH.
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Reviewed in India on 2 April 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely loved it! Do yourself a favour and pick this up!
By fanna || book blogger on 2 April 2019
Wicked Saints will give you a saint who can ask (and be granted) God for powers, a boy from the 'other side' who doesn't believe in God, a prince who's apparently cruel, loads of blood magic and power harnessing, heartbreaks, and heart flutters.

The plot of this book impresses me like no other. It combines beliefs and thoughts into understandable chaos that certainly mashes up to, unfortunately, force you to take sides. But you can't! Because the characters are complex and they believe in what they believe in, and there won't be a point where you can clearly call one right and the other wrong. It's a great fantasy that is built on the power of magic.

The characters are amazing. Nadya is on the run from the cruel prince or anyone from the enemy side, her beads working as a connection between her and the Gods. She's gifted but is also intelligent, smart, and uses her heart on the right occasions. Serefin is the prince whose father is eager to sacrifice him for power, his hands adorn a cut every now and then when he uses his blood magic. He's not too keen on emotions but he's definitely cunning to find a way out of anything. There are other characters who I'm not mentioning for spoiler purposes. Just pick up the book already!

The writing is another aspect that I would love to appreciate. It stunningly encompasses every emotion and setting while developing the story in a very subtle manner. You'll never know when you start loving (OR HATING) a character and suddenly there's a twist. The alternate POVs are always hard to execute so well but I guess Emily Duncan can help you learn through this book.

Finally, I don't know what else to say about this book without either spoiling it for you or sounding repetitive. So trust me, just pick it up and trust me, you won't be disappointed!
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Reviewed in India on 9 June 2020

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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable enough read but didn't quite live up to my fevered expectations
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 10 April 2019
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4 people found this helpful
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Books of a Ginger
2.0 out of 5 stars Bloody, Dark, but deeply disappointing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 January 2020
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3 people found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars Blood and bone. Magic and monsters and tragic power...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 March 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars Blood and bone. Magic and monsters and tragic power...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 March 2021
"Blood and blood and bone. Magic and monsters and tragic power..."
WOW! I mean, just wow! This book blew my mind! I joined a read a long after seeing it mentioned on Bookstagram and Booktok. I hadn't heard any spoilers, bar it being based on Russian/Eastern European folklore, and I was very intrigued. If you like Shadow and Bone then you'll love Wicked Saints...
"I'm heartless, but I'm not cruel..."
Wicked Saints is a dark and gothic fantasy set in a version of Eastern Europe that's seeped in a war between the divine power of the gods and the secular magic of blood mages. It follows the POV of Nadya, the last remaining cleric gifted with divine power and forced to flee the monastery she grew up in, and Serefin, the enemy crown Prince and a powerful blood mage who is looking for her. While on the run she encounters three refugees, one of which is a terriblely strong and mysterious blood mage, Malachiasz. They convince her to travel to the enemy kingdom in an attempt to assassinate the king and put an end to the holy war ravaging their two countries. And as you have it, chaos ensues...
"You could be exactly what these countries need to stop their fighting. Or you could rip them apart at the seams..."
I went in to this hearing mixed reviews on the story. Some people absolutely adored it and other people thought it was too chaotic and confusing. To be honest, it is a bit but that chaos spoke to me and I loved it. I'm still left with so many questions and there were times I was wondering what is going on but the book had me hooked and I couldn't stop reading it.
From the first chapter we are straight in to the action and throughout the book it doesn't really let up, it's go, go, go. I loved reading the dual POVs from characters on each side of the holy war. I do wish we got to see Malachiasz's POV and perhaps that might be something in the next books.
There is an enemies to lovers romance, although it does develop quite quickly. I'm a sucker for romance but in this book I found myself too engaged in the plot to mind that the romance was light.
I read Shadow and Bone before this and I preferred Wicked Saints as it felt more was happening with the characters.
"We're all monsters,some of us just hide it better than others..."
Also, shout out to Nadya who understands our struggles with masks... 😂
"Nadya had only been wearing a mask for a day and already she was fantasising about ripping it off..."
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4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing concepts and characters
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 November 2020
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not what I’d hoped
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 October 2020
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