Title: Kingdom of the Wicked
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Synopsis: Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe - witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria 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 find her sister's killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that's been long forbidden.
Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia's side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women's murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems...
Review: This is a review for the Kingdom of the Wicked audio book I listened to on Audible. I’ll be honest, the narrator’s performance outshined the characters and plot. At first, the captivating premises intrigued me. A witch finds her twin brutally murdered. Desperate for answers, she makes a deal with a Wicked-prince of Hell who wants nothing to do with her. Kingdom of the Wicked had the makings for a steamy novel with my favorite enemies to lovers troupe, but it fell flat. Really flat. :-(
The writing held my attention until Lust came along. After a bizarre, drawn out scene, the steady pacing dragged, and the plot twists were no longer twists, for I predicted each one with little effort. The side characters lacked substance. Nana had so much potential. I wanted to learn more about her story. She had so much knowledge about Emillia and the prophecy but kept it hidden until the end. Huh? Why? At the beginning of the novel, Nana had a powerful voice, then suddenly she went on the back burner without any explanation. Emillia’s parent’s felt like lack luster stand-ins in a B rated movie, and the predictable villain’s actions were so out of character I had to read the reveal twice to make sure I missed nothing.
I did enjoy the sexual tension, but I wanted MORE. I cared only for Wrath and Emillia. The other characters kept hitting my snooze button. Perhaps book one is setting up the reader for some juicy tension in book two. One can only hope.
Author Maniscalco’s writing has definitely improved since her debut novel, Stalking Jack the Ripper. She left out the fluff and focused on impactful scenes which I really appreciated. Her visual and sensory descriptions were fantastic. I craved Italian food each time I opened the book. Did I want to reach out and touch Wrath's tattoos? Yes, yes I did. ;-)
I will continue reading this series because of Wrath and Wrath alone. I’m excited to see how he behaves in his own world.
Triggers/Warnings: violence, disturbing imagery
Escapism Factor: 3/5
Emotional Connection: 3/5
Character Development: 3/5
Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Completed Read: May 2021