Kingdom of the Wicked (2019), by Kerri Maniscalco, is a fantasy novel that touches on loss and revenge in a way you couldn’t imagine. In desperation to avenge the death of her twin sister Vittoria, Emilia calls to darker forces for additional help. Living in a world where her existence is a crime, Emilia must be careful to hide her witchcraft activities. Going against everything she’s been warned from doing, Emilia casts a spell intended to summon a demon—and she accidentally summons Wrath, one of the 7 princes of hell. Wrath is bound to Emilia, and in order to go back to hell, he must fulfill what he was summoned to do. Working together, Emilia and Wrath try to find her sister’s murderer. Instead, Emilia finds out her twin is hiding a lot more than she could imagine.
The story is a bit slow, which can be expected as it is the first book in a trilogy. There was a lot of focus on the main character's traits and past, minus Wrath, which was nice as it added more value and depth to the characters. However, I don’t think there was any real connection to the world that the characters lived in. Typically, authors will dedicate the first book of a series to world-building. World-building sets the foundation of a good book. It could be possible that the author purposely held off on world-building to replicate the way the main character saw the world, I’m not sure. If you decide to read this book, don’t expect a deeply established world. As far as the mystery aspect of this book goes, I really liked the way that the author created layers to the mystery. As Emilia finds out more and more about her sister's death, she reacts in a way where you understand her pain and grief.
Review by: Khrizlina R.
Khrizlina is a virtual volunteer at Sylmar Branch Library. She is an 11th grader at Lancaster High School.
—Dana Eklund, Sylmar Branch Library