Kingdom of the Cursed (Kingdom of the Wicked #2) | Review

Posted January 3, 2022 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Books, Reviews / 0 Comments

Kingdom of the Cursed (Kingdom of the Wicked #2) | ReviewKingdom of the Cursed (Kingdom of the Wicked, #2) by Kerri Maniscalco
Also by this author: Kingdom of the Wicked
Series: Kingdom of the Wicked #2
Published by Jimmy Patterson on October 5, 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Angels/Demons, Witches, Paranormal
Pages: 449 •Format: E-BookSource: Overdrive
Goodreads
five-stars

One sister. Two sinful princes.Infinite deception with a side of revenge…Welcome to Hell.
After selling her soul to become Queen of the Wicked, Emilia travels to the Seven Circles with the enigmatic Prince of Wrath, where she’s introduced to a seductive world of vice.
She vows to do whatever it takes to avenge her beloved sister, Vittoria...even if that means accepting the hand of the Prince of Pride, the king of demons.
The first rule in the court of the Wicked? Trust no one. With back-stabbing princes, luxurious palaces, mysterious party invitations, and conflicting clues about who really killed her twin, Emilia finds herself more alone than ever before. Can she even trust Wrath, her one-time ally in the mortal world...or is he keeping dangerous secrets about his true nature?
Emilia will be tested in every way as she seeks a series of magical objects that will unlock the clues of her past and the answers she craves...

Whew, I was NOT expecting to become as addicted to this book as I did, but here we are. What began as a mildly intriguing series that seemed steeped in tropes from early 2000s paranormal romance really blossomed into its own with the sophomore installment, and in my humble opinion is loads better than its predecessor!

Picking up after Emilia signs a contract to marry the Devil at the end of the first book, Wrath (one of the seven princes of hell that she had formed a tentative alliance with in the first book) escorts her to hell to start her new life. When it became clear that the book was going to completely take place in the underworld, I immediately perked up, as I love a good series that explores the nuances of the underworld, magic, sin, justice, etc (hence my current obsession with the show Lucifer, lol). I was seriously intrigued by the idea that each Prince of Hell (or “The Wicked” as they’re referred to in the series) had their own territory (a la Dante’s circles in The Inferno) where their namesake sin manifests in different ways amongst their castles, courts, and lands. Honestly, this was one of the more creative fantasy books I’ve read in a while, and was impressed with how thoughtful Maniscalco was when thinking about how these sins/vices/stereotypes would manifest themselves- for example, “wrath” is not just about anger/being hot-headed, but about being a swift executioner of justice and law. You can tell the world building was really thought through and honestly I hope the series continues outside of the planned trilogy because I think there’s a lot more to explore here!

In my last review I complained a bit that it felt like the series was taking too much inspiration from the paranormal romances of the early 2000s, especially in regard to the romance, while not being unique enough, and I’m glad to have been proven wrong in this installment! Emilia and Wrath’s relationship definitely accelerates in this installment, and there’s a good amount of chemistry and tension mixed in while still keeping Wrath respectful but yet fearsome (aka not turning him into some overly sweet yes-man like Rhys in the ACOTAR series turned into, much to my dismay…).

Even though this book gets a full, shiny five starts from me, I’ll admit it wasn’t perfect. Sometimes Emilia frustrated me, and there were some things that happened toward the end of the novel that I still don’t get (like why did she have to participate in the hunt? I get that it helped move the plot along but I didn’t really get Gluttony’s reasoning…) There were also a few MAJOR twists at the end, one which I definitely saw coming and one that I did NOT and really changes the course of the series from here on out. I also wish that we had a chance to see more of Wrath’s brothers (I don’t think Emilia even spoke to Sloth???) and I personally think Emilia’s become a little too powerful, too fast…but I still thoroughly enjoyed this book so 5 stars it is!

Overall: I adored Kingdom of the Cursed, but do be aware that this book clearly makes a jump from YA to NA compared to the first one. Fingers crossed that it’s one step in the right direction to making NA an actual, legit thing!

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