Kingdom of the Wicked, Book 1

Book review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Kingdom of the Wicked, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Compelling supernatural series starter can be violent.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Stands out for positive messages.

Educational Value

Readers will learn some tenets of Catholicism, as well as the seven deadly sins. Sicilian cooking and cuisine is also heavily featured.

Positive Messages

The book encourages honesty in family relationships, courage to do difficult things and uncover ugly truths, curiosity about the supernatural, and perseverance against serious odds.

Positive Role Models

Emilia is intelligent, loving, and brave. She sometimes makes impulsive decisions and allows herself to be put in harm's way, but she ultimately acts to help those she loves, as well as the overall community. Wrath is a demon, but he's also willing to act against his own interests to help Emilia.


Character deaths are described in detail. Some of the women's bodies are found with graphic and bloody injuries. Lots of peril as Emilia goes on her mission to track killers. Vampires suck blood, demon princes cause all sorts of violent mayhem, and battles are fought with and without magic, with and without weapons.


Attraction, desire, and lust are discussed. Two characters have a lot of romantic chemistry and share many longing looks and even kiss. Characters speculate about a woman's sexual history. Partygoers dance nearly naked.


Occasional but not frequent: "damn," "hell," "bitch," "evil witch," etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Partygoers act drunk or drugged -- on whatever their "greed of choice is." 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that that Kingdom of the Wicked is best-selling author Kerri Maniscalco's first historical thriller after the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. The author focuses on Sicilian twin sisters Emilia and Vittoria, who are secretly streghe, witches with magical powers. The most mature content concerns the violence (mostly against women) depicted in the story, as well as the relatively high body count. But there's also occasional language, some passionate kissing, and discussion of sexual experience. Partygoers are compelled by the Wicked and feel drugged or in ecstasy. This book will appeal to readers who want more paranormal thrillers and romance. 

User Reviews

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Teen, 15 years old Written bynina_zenik April 9, 2021

Really good but has its vulgar moments

The content in the book would be tolerable for many readers 13-14+. The reason I say 13-14 is because there is coarse language (not only in English. E.g “testa... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byMadame C January 8, 2022

Good book ... but certain things to keep an eye out for

The Kingdom of the Wicked is a book I'd recommend to anyone 14-15 years old and up. It's a really fun murder-mystery book with an intriguing romance s... Continue reading

What's the story?

KINGDOM OF THE WICKED by Kerri Maniscalco follows Emilia, a Sicilian witch whose twin Vittoria is brutally murdered, one of several local young women from witchy families to wind up dead. Vittoria, the extroverted and bold twin, had been keeping a romance secret, so when Emilia finds her sister's journal of spells, she decides to try them but accidentally summons one of the seven Princes of Hell, also known as the Malvagi or the Wicked: Wrath (they're all named after the Deadly Sins, so the others are Pride, Greed, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, and Sloth). Normally quiet and romantic Emilia is anguished and desperate to not only stop further killings but figure out what happened to Vittoria and avenge her death. Despite the warnings of her grandmother to be careful using the family magic, Vittoria forms an unlikely alliance with Wrath, who's every bit the sexy, never-aging bad boy readers of paranormal young adult novels would expect. In a world where demons, witches, shape-shifters battle for supernatural control, humans also deal with the influence of a dominant Catholic brotherhood.

Is it any good?

Part paranormal romance, part page-turning thriller, this series-opener by Kerri Maniscalco is entertaining, fast-paced, and intricately plotted. Readers will be invested in the world building, the obvious slow-burn romance full of witty banter, longing looks, and sizzling chemistry between Emilia and Wrath. He's a seemingly ageless prince of darkness with anger issues, and she's a disciplined, hardworking witch on a mission. The opposites-attract romance practically writes itself. Maniscalco doesn't make the romance the center of the story, however -- that belongs to Emilia's quest to solve the mysteries of Vittoria's death and punish her killers, even if it means sacrificing her safety and that of her family.

Not everything in the book is heavy and hellish. There are many references to Sicilian food, since the twins' family owns a beloved local restaurant. The traditional Italian dishes are described in delectable detail, and readers will want to find the nearest authentic ristorante (or at the very least, cookbook) to try some of the meals Emilia mentions. There's also something immersive about being swept away in a supernatural story that takes place in another country, another century, another world. Be warned, there are plot twists and a cliffhanger that might confound, but will eventually just make readers count the days until the next installment.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence depicted in Kingdom of the Wicked. Is the impact of supernatural or paranormal violence different than the impact of realistic violence?

  • Why are books about witches and demons so popular in young adult literature? What makes this one stand out in the genre of paranormal romance? Discuss some of your favorites.

  • Discuss how food is part of the story. How does food play a role in your family? What about your cultural heritage?

  • What do you think about the cliffhanger? What do you hope will happen in the next book? Why do authors utilize cliffhangers?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

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