Review: Kingdom of the Cursed (#2) by Kerri Maniscalco

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Goodreads | Waterstones

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…

I’m so glad I re-read Kingdom of the Wicked before diving into this one. We pick up Emilia and Wrath’s story pretty much exactly where we left off at the end of the first book, and I definitely got a lot more enjoyment out of the book by reading them very close together. In this book, we leave the real world for the Seven Circles, which I imagine to be some kind of underworld.

I loved the world and I think this is where Kerri Maniscalco really shines. She managed to paint such a vibrant and beautiful picture of this new setting, and I loved how visual it was to picture while reading. The world is so luscious and extravagant and comes across so beautifully on the page.

Of course. There is nothing more dangerous…

The plot was so fast paced and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. This book does have some more adult scenes, but I actually think they were done really well and become part of the actual plot. I find it difficult sometimes when fantasy books rely heavily on more spicy scenes and sometimes don’t get the balance right, but this one managed it. The scenes were really enjoyable to read too and felt quite gracefully done for the most part!

Although I really enjoyed reading about Wrath and Emilia’s relationship, my only complaint is the power dynamic is a difficult one to write properly. With Wrath being a Prince from this darker world, he does have a certain magical power over Emilia, and although this is part of the way he is, sometimes the way he displayed this power made me very uncomfortable. There is a certain level of manipulation that is justified to a degree, but did unsettle me and I felt like it wasn’t explained with full clarity.

…than a woman who owns who she is and apologizes to no one.

Overall, the writing was brilliant and I didn’t want to put this book down! There was a lot to enjoy and I did like this one ever so slightly more than the first book. My only slight complaint was the discussions of abuse, which I feel could have been handled a bit better.

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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