Content Warning: Gore, Violence, Self-harm, Grief, Death, Smut
Kingdom of the Wicked is a fantastical urban fantasy that follows Emilia di Carlo, a witch living in Sicily with her twin sister and family. Life is normal, as far as being a witch goes, until one day Emilia finds Vittoria dead, with her heart torn out.
A similar pattern emerges with other witches across the town. Emilia sets out to solve her sister’s murder, but instead falls into an entanglement of webs and lies.
Emilia is not who she thought she was, nor is anyone else around her.
I adored this series when I first started it. The plot was enticing, the characters were fun, and the consequences felt real, but that all too soon fell away as we progressed.
So, without further aideu, let’s get into it.
- A map!
- Strong mystery elements
- Entertaining plot
- Strong start, shitty ending
- Main characters turned flat by the end
- Ending felt more focused on introducing a spin-off series than a solid conclusion
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
The plot, much like this series, started out strong. There was mystery, action, and romance all entwined together. And I was obsessed. I couldn’t get enough of the work Maniscalco created.
At the very beginning Nonna gives the twins this warning:
“There are seven demon princes, but only four di Carlos should fear: Wrath, Greed, Envy, and Pride. One will crave your blood. One will capture your heart. One will steal your soul. And one will take your life.”
Enticing, right? This sets the premise for the entire series.
And it is with this saying that things begin not adding up.
- Wrath technically stole Emilia’s heart and soul.
- Greed craves Vittoria’s blood in retribution for the “murder” of his commander.
- Pride “steals” Emilia’s soul for the contract, or was that Wrath’s contract?
- But Envy didn’t take anyone’s life, none of the Princes of Hell took Vittoria’s nor Emilia’s life. If anything, Vittoria took Emilia’s heart and life.
And what is the point of this warning from Nonna? Envy and Greed aren’t roped into the curses directly, unlike Pride and Wrath. So how would Nonna know that Greed and Envy would be more involved in the plot than Sloth and Gluttony?
Speaking of curses, let’s discuss those. There are 2:
- Vittoria and Emilia are stripped of their powers and memories and cast into human form.
- Wrath has his wings taken and the person he loves is ripped away again.
But then there is a third part where the princes of hell cannot leave. This one is mainly aimed towards Pride so he can’t search for his wife, but this whole part is tied to Wrath’s curse. Even though Wrath can leave Hell.
So now let’s discuss why these curses were placed. The First Witch’s daughter was in love with Pride. Well, she didn’t want her daughter involved with Pride and tried to get Wrath to take her daughter as his bride instead.
But this didn’t work. So, the First Witch enlisted the help of Vittoria and Emilia. They each pretended to be the same woman and catch the attention of both Pride and Wrath, further proving the First Witch’s point that Pride cannot be trusted. Thus making her daughter leave him.
Weird way to go about forcing your daughter to leave her husband, but okay.
Ultimately, this all fails, but works?
Emilia reveals to Wrath that she has fallen for him, while Vittoria entices Pride to bed (whether anything happens, we don’t know). Claudia sees this and leaves Pride without notice and chooses to forget everything that has happened, which her mother obliges.
At some point, the First Witch curses Pride and Wrath. Then, after everything is done Emilia and Vittoria are cursed by witches.
Quite frankly, I’m not really following the curses. Everything seems to resolve on its own, so why punish others?
The ending was very cheesy and too happy for everything that had happened. Yes, Emilia and Wrath should be together and Emilia should be queen, princess, or whatever it is.
But it was all just too chummy with the brothers there and Vittoria. It just wasn’t the ending I had wanted. I’m not satisfied with it.
Instead, the ending (and the whole last book) was focused on Vittoria, Claudia, and Pride and their drama instead.
And even with everything that happened, there weren’t any real consequences. Yeah Wrath wouldn’t be able to fully love Emilia and Emilia couldn’t handle that, but that was it. There was no real threat or harm, everyone healed. It was all just too easy and it felt like it all happened for nothing.
- Why did Envy admit to killing the women if it was Vittoria all along?
- Why is everyone after the necklaces if they are Wrath’s? Are they looking to give them back to him to unlock the gates?
- What was the point of Pride in prisoning Emilia after she ventured into Pride’s territory only to let her go and not question her later?
Emilia di Carlo
Emilia started off as an intelligent, independent woman who had her own likes and passions. She was relatable and lovable.
However, as the story progressed, she became more violent, less human, and flat. By the end of the series, her entire personality revolved around sex with Wrath.
Her character started to show this downhill turn halfway through the second book. Emilia devolved into a character I no longer recognized or connected with.
Now that the series is over and we have answers, some of her new characteristics make sense: violent and less human.
She’s the goddess of Vengeance.
But as she became this new character, we didn’t get any character development and a merge between her current and former self. Emilia seemed to have mainly reverted back to her former self, and it’s this that drove a wedge between my connection with Emilia’s character.
I think it would have helped if we saw who she was beforehand, but we were just told and even that didn’t provide enough context to see her transformation. We see a little in the way she controlled her power and how she thought things through instead of acting on impulse, but that still didn’t provide the bridge linking the two selves that I need to stay invested in her.
By the end of the series, I was fed up with Emilia, her flat character, and her one-track mind with Wrath. I was happy that she got her desired ending because I could dust my hands off and move on.
This reaction of mine hurts because I really liked Emilia in the beginning. I adored her confidence, her stubbornness, and her ability to question and investigate without jumping to conclusions first. She was a strong female protagonist that I had been searching for.
But it was all ripped away.
Overall, I liked Wrath, besides his devolution into a side piece for Emilia in the last book.
Wrath created tension stirred curiosity and shone the truth on what Emilia was going through. He was a hard-ass but had a soft spot for Emilia that I adored.
But just like Emilia, he devolved into less of a character than at the beginning of the series. He wasn’t the same Wrath that we witnessed all through the first and second books. He simply didn’t live up to his namesake, and that was disappointing.
Vittoria di Carlo
Vittoria did not disappoint once she made her appearance in the Kingdom of the Feared. She was confident, powerful, cunning, and held the entire fucking plot on her back.
She played into the villain role well, but a lot of the issues we saw in the final book could have been solved if she just talked to Emilia. That was probably the most annoying thing about Vittoria.
But besides that, she was enticing and a wild card. I do wish we saw Vittoria more before she was “killed” so we could conduct the same analysis we did with Emilia, though.
Princes of Hell
The Princes of Hell were these dangerous and intimidating forces to be reconned with at the beginning. They were cunning, slick, and didn’t care about what happened to others.
It truly felt like there were actual consequences with them.
Until it didn’t.
After a while, they felt like frat brothers. Lots of big talks, petty arguments and feuds, and threats, but no retaliation.
They were dull after a while and I didn’t care for them.
I liked Fauna. She was spunky and confident, but she always felt out of place in the books.
I didn’t really understand Fauna and Emilia’s friendship. It didn’t feel like one, at least not from Emilia’s standpoint.
Fauna was more of a filler character that lead into a sub-romance plot, that we didn’t get anything out of.
Despite the turn the book took, I think Nonna as a villain was quite good. She was infuriating at the beginning with not telling the twins about their necklaces or powers, but it made sense the further we dove into the series.
She played her part well and I do think she cared for the twins while she was watching over them, but her duty to her coven outweighed what she felt.
Nonna is a great gray character and she ended up being one of my favorites in the series.
The writing in the series was fine, nothing too spectacular to write home about. There were a few rough spots, like vague surrounding details of the first book and the uneven pacing of the second and third books. But for the most part, these were corrected.
No, the biggest issue I have with the series and the writing is how, after the first book, it is written for adults 18+, pushing it into the New Adult category. However, the series is continuously marketed as a Young Adult book.
Let me be very clear: this is not a series for anyone under 18. The first book is fine, but the second and third delve into way more explicit content.
I do not recommend this book for readers wanting to stick with YA, nor do I recommend it for minors.
I recommend this book if you are looking for something in the NA genre and are over 18.
I also want to address the confusion I had with Wrath’s damned titles. He’s the Prince of Wrath but King of Hell. How does that make sense? Why are all the princes and not kings of their own houses? I just don’t understand the weird title assignment this book has.
As much as loved the series originally, I cannot get over the devastating conclusion we received. I expected so much more: character development, plot climax, and a satisfying conclusion. But I was sorely misled and let down. And it’s hard to remove that black tint while I review the series as a whole.
I had extremely high hopes because the first book was fantastic. However, as we continued, the books kept getting worse.
I understand that writing a series is a daunting task, but it felt as if the focus wasn’t on Emilia, Wrath, and Vittoria anymore to come to the end. Instead, the conclusion seemed to be more of a setup for a spin-off series.
Am I glad I read these books? Yes.
Will I recommend this series? Yes, but with some hesitancy.
Will I read a potential spin-off series? No, absolutely not.
Recommended Book Series
What did you think of the book? Did you like it or could you have done without it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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