Thank you NetGalley and Jimmy Patterson for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
SYNOPSIS: Two sisters. One brutal murder. A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself... And an intoxicating romance.
Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe - witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family's renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin...desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister's killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that's been long forbidden.
Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia's side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women's murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems... (AMAZON)
The last book that I read by Kerri Maniscalco left me with a sour taste in my mouth. So, as much as I was intrigued by the synopsis in this novel, I was also incredibly wary. .
As a reader, I love it when a writer manages to create a world in which it is easy for me to become immersed. And if there's one thing that this story excels at, it's that. The setting comes alive from the very beginning, and I became deeply entrenched in this magical world that Emilia, our lead, and her family has. From their history, to the powers that are part of their familial bond—which, in and of itself, is a lovely thing to see depicted in any tale to such depth—to the the way that they worship, and the enchantments that they create, to the food that they eat... The Kingdom of the Wicked is a thing full of life waiting to be unleashed.
Which brings me to our male lead, Prince of Hell, Wrath.
I was not a fan of the initial encounter between Emilia and Wrath. It was a bad first impression. I found her behavior to be rightfully irrational, considering that her sister had just been murdered and she, of course, has Wrath in her sights as a culprit. But she goes from acting justifiably irrational, to summoning him, to forgetting the fact that this is a Prince of Hell and some sort of fear would be instilled in anyone knowingly coming face to face with him, to attempting to pummel him with her tiny fists in puerile rage, to folding her arms and sniffly taunting him. Because as likable as Emilia can be, she sometimes shows hints of being the kind of person who is a little delusional about her abilities. I can easily picture her facing a horde of demons, most likely about to be ripped apart—I mean, given what he Umbra were able to do to Wrath, how in the world would she survive that—and still be completely confident that she can defeat them all. It comes off as ridiculous posturing, and instantly put me on edge to think that this would be another vapid disappointment.
Thank my lucky stars that things evolved and Emilia got her head on straight.
Wrath is, in one word, delectable. Given his role, this is a male who is supposed to his show his force wherever he goes and not easily bend his will. What I liked most about him is that while it is obvious that he feels some sort of softness toward Emilia—whatever his reasons may be, I myself am still guessing them even after some truths were exchanged—he does not change his personality and stop being the ruthless being that he has been for so long. You clearly still see the edge to him, he still has a bite to him, and I like that whatever personal thoughts he has towards this witch who's now in his life, they do not shift his purpose.
The story itself is entertaining, interesting, and has enough mystery to keep you hooked. I do feel that certain scenes were slightly rushed and sometimes even skewed (such as the ending of the second to last chapter and the beginning of the last, one segued into the other a bit abruptly), but the book is overall great, and I do not want to miss what's to come.