Review by: Jillian K.
Warning this review will contain spoilers for Kingdom of the Wicked!
There is simply too much to say about this novel, however we must begin with a flashback to the first installment:
Enter 19th Century Sicily, where witches discreetly live amongst humans, hiding their magic in fear of persecution. As witches in their society begin to be discovered dead around Italy, the Di Carlo family begins to grow paranoid due to their magical bloodline. Twins Vittoria and Emilia Di Carlo, both possess the natural magic qualities of witchcraft. Whereas Emelia has always been sensible in her usage of magic, Vittoria preferred to dabble in the darker arts their Nonna always warned them of. Soon enough the murders become far closer to home, when the vibrant Vittoria reaches an untimely death at the hand of an unknown murderer. Emelia’s loss quickly turns into a desperate fury driven by a newfound goal to destroy who, or what, ended her sister’s life. In her desperation she summons a lesser demon, hoping they could aid her in uncovering the mysterious killer. However her summoning was more powerful than intended, and one of the Seven Princes of Hell appears before her. Her newfound bond with Prince Wrath grows as they begin to build a relationship with one another throughout their daunting mission. As they search, Emelia encounters Wrath’s devious brothers, ultimately leading to her being forced to agree to wed the King of Hell, Pride, and escorting herself into the realm of The Wicked.
Kingdom of the Cursed picks up directly where we were left off in the first installment with Emelia facing the newfound obstacles of Hell. Emalia continues to listlessly search for the cause of the sister’s murder as they still remained unknown, but now she has an entire new difficulty staring her in the face, her betrothal. However, as much as I’d love to dive deeper, this is where I must become vague to protect you from further spoilers until the novel is released in October. So let’s resort to one of my favorite method of reviewing; a list of reasons why you should add this book to your October TBR (and pre-order your copy from BP!):
- Confident Female Protagonist- One of the things I really loved about Kingdom of The Cursed was Emilia’s growth in confidence. She stopped letting societal standards hold her back, and simply followed her desires regardless of the judgments of others. In the time period this novel takes place, the societal standard that women should remain virgins until marriage was heavily stressed. However for men, having multiple relationships before marriage is considered admirable. Emelia is angered by the unfair societal standards and now that she has quite literally entered hell she’s refusing to follow the unreasonable rules regarding romantic relations. She takes pride in her desires, and disregards what she has been told before. Even though she’s in a world full of powerful demons, she embraces her own power and refuses to let others hold her back anymore. (And I absolutely love that)
- Magic- In Kingdom of the Wicked we saw plenty of the magic the princes of hell held in their veins, however we only got glimpses of what Emelia herself could achieve. In Kingdom of The Cursed, this changes. Emelia embraces her power, realizing that even her own family had been holding her back from her full potential. She discovers a magic within her she never knew she had thanks to her Grandmother’s extensive protectiveness. I loved watching Emelia advance her abilities in magic, and her growing connection with the powerful source inside her.
- Romantic Pining- We got a little taste of a slight enemies to lovers type romance in the first installment. Now prepare yourselves for a bite. Emelia and Wrath’s relationship has been rocked by the journey to hell (and thanks to the spiral of the events at the end of the first novel). It’s quite interesting to watch their dynamic shift. I would love to give more details why their pining was so enjoyable to read, but I can’t do so without major spoilers. 😦
- Leans Towards New Adult- Now this one correlates with our previous point. I don’t really have much to say on this one; the point is quite self explanatory on its own. I personally was a fan of the progression to new adult and I’m looking forward to seeing this dynamic continue in the third novel!
- A New Realm- The transition between the setting of Italy and Hell was quite the massive contrast. It was deeply entertaining to watch Emelia uncover the secrets of this new realm. The imagery detailing various castles, gardens, and other aspects of hell were so distinct I could visualize it in my mind. I for one loved the more fantastical element of being in a magical world. I found the detail revolving around this realm further immersed me into this realm Emelia was experiencing.
Now that we’ve covered all of the amazing aspects of this novel, I’m going to try to explain what I would have liked done differently. I apologize for the vague nature of these points (I really can’t spoil anything for y’all!). I personally found there were a few moments where secrets were kept from Emelia that gave me an uncomfy vibe. They were things she deserved to know and it made me quite angry they were kept from her. However, besides that this novel was quite a fun read and you should definitely look forward to getting your hands on it in October!