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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.
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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?
- Author: Kerri Maniscalco
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: jimmy patterson
- Publication date: October 27, 2020
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 18
- Number of pages: 372
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: April 2, 2021
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