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Wicked Saints


Wicked Saints

Nadezhda Lapteva (Nadya), an orphan from Kalyazin, and Serefin Meleski, the High Prince and war general of Tranavia, are enemies on opposite sides of a long war fueled by magic and religion. Serefin and Nadya cross paths when the Tranavians attack the monastery Nadya grew up at. Fleeing for her life, Nadya finds herself a part of an unconventional group planning to remove the King of Tranavia from power. Told from both points of view, WICKED SAINTS is a highly anticipated 2019 fantasy novel.


I am so glad I decided to read WICKED SAINTS because it met my expectations and surprised me greatly along the way. By far, my favorite part of the book is the breathtaking world building. Emily Duncan has crafted a beautiful and brutal world and magic system. The focus on religious conflict is also fascinating and at the core of Nadya’s motivation. Fantasy books are typically hit or miss for me, but I was absolutely enthralled by the cutthroat war and relationships in this book. While the book feels a little bit slow in the beginning, most of the story is building up to the action-packed finale. I have not read anything quite like it recently, and I enjoyed the unpredictable ride it takes readers on.


Nadya is stuck in a world at war, and she is gifted with abilities from the gods that will save her country. Her power brings a level of responsibility that weighs her down. From the beginning, her view of the world is thrown off balance, and it feels like every chapter brings a striking revelation or plot twist. I was continually impressed with Nadya’s ability to persist and trust new characters when necessary to reach her goals. Malachiasz is also an important character and Tranavian who is caught between many identities that he struggles with. As a sort of antihero, he always intrigued me and revealed more about the darkness of this world. Nadya is a cleric, blessed by the gods, while Malazhiasz is a blood mage, a heretic according to Nadya and her people.


There is so much more I want to know about this world and these characters, and I cannot wait for all of my questions to be answered in the next books. Duncan created a complicated world and expansive cast of characters that I hope are fully explored in the rest of the trilogy. I wish readers knew more about the side characters in the book, who I think could have been the stars of the book if we knew a little bit more about them. Parijahan and Rashid are one example and were very supportive of Nadya, but not much is really known about their motivation. Ostyia and Kacper are heavily involved in Serefin’s life, but not much is known about their histories either. I would also like to hear more about Nadya’s companions at the monastery who were only at the beginning of this story like Anna and Kostya. Hopefully, in book two and three all of these characters will be expanded upon. At the beginning of the story, Nadya is ripped from the monastery she has grown up in all of her life, so readers know little about her experiences growing up there.

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.

Reviewed by Grace P. on April 11, 2019

Wicked Saints
by Emily A. Duncan

  • Publication Date: April 2, 2019
  • Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult 13+
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Wednesday Books
  • ISBN-10: 1250195667
  • ISBN-13: 9781250195661