By: Sophie Bono
Kingdom of the Wicked is the first novel in the Kingdom of the Wicked trilogy written by Kerri Maniscalco. Although it was published in 2020, it became popular over booktok, which is books explained on TikTok and booktube, which is the book recommendation world on Youtube, in 2021. The novel revolves around Emilia Di Carlo, a witch, striving to solve the mystery of her sister’s murder. However, throughout her life she is told myths about the devil, and the Princes of Hell, and she believes a Prince of Hell could have killed her sister.
I loved this book. It is set in Palermo, Italy around the 1800s. In addition, I always believed I was not interested in historical fiction, but after reading Kingdom of the Wicked, I discovered that it is in fact a mix of historical fiction, fantasy, and romance. This book holds a strong slow burn, and even a little bit of forced proximity romance, while keeping the fantasy world apparent. What I loved and what I don’t think is focused on in most YA and NA books is the family aspect. In Kingdom of the Wicked, Emilia’s family has a significant and distinct role in the book and often either supports her or tries to protect her. The family’s role in this novel is apparent and supports the plot of the story, instead of just moving it along, which I appreciated.
I would absolutely recommend this book and give it a 4.5/5 star rating. I would not give it a 5/5 stars because at parts it is a bit slow, especially in the beginning, while you’re waiting for the death of her sister, even though you already know it’s going to happen. However I do think it is a captivating book, with a strong foundation in the romance, fantasy, and historical fiction categories.