After finishing Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco, I wanted to continue on with the series right away. The second book is called Kingdom of the Cursed. Because I had to know what was going to happen once Emilia entered hell. Was Wrath going to let her go to Pride? Or is their engagement still a thing since the tattoo has not vanished. If anything, it had grown since Emilia attempted to call it off. And I can’t see Emilia ending up with Pride, her sin that she rapidly falls back on is aligned with wrath. The two are very similar to each other. So, I was curious to see what would happen between these two in the next installment.
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…
- Published: October 5, 2021
- Page Count: 449 pages
- Genre: YA Dark Fantasy and Paranormal/Historical Romance
Thoughts on Kingdom of the Cursed
Spoiler Free… for the most part
The book starts out after Emilia signed her soul away to Pride and handed over the Horns of Hades to Wrath for the devil. The two are not happy with one another to the point where Emilia tells Wrath she “freely would choose the devil” over him, and he asks her to take a blood oath on that statement. Which she does. Something I found very curious especially when he opens the gates himself and then seals them using the Horns of Hades. Not only that but he personally escorts her through the Sin Corridor, and not once does Pride make an appearance. That was my tell right away into the truth behind Wrath.
Granted, she almost dies of hypothermia and Wrath rushes her to his palace. I didn’t believe his statement for one minute that he didn’t take Emilia to Pride due to rules about going to other realms without permission. He wasn’t ever planning on bringing her there, and we later learn that’s because she’s already betrothed to Wrath. Not only that but the bond between them is encouraging them to complete it. Meaning having sex and a formal ceremony. Something Wrath is able to subdue slightly using the mark on her neck, that he gave her in the previous book. If Pride really was the devil, the King of Hell’s engagement would take priority over Wrath. But it doesn’t, which means Wrath is the devil. The name Emilia called him by accident in the previous book, Samael, is his true name. Something she doesn’t admit to until almost the end of the book. Though it’s called out a bunch of times. All the princes are called your highness and yet on multiple occasions people slip up and call Wrath your majesty. You only call a King that.
The main focus of Kingdom of the Cursed is Emilia trying to figure out what happened with her sister. She knows someone helped Antonio that he referred to as an Angel of Death. And every turn in her investigation, Emilia makes a lot of assumptions while trying to solve cryptic messages left by enchanted skulls and Envy. To a point where she turns her investigation is more on what the curse is and why no one in her past told her the truth about magic. Eventually, she comes to the conclusion that her memories were wiped and Wrath most likely knew her in the past. I mean it’s obvious he does. He has too many clothes already prepared for her that are her exact size, he knows what she likes without her ever telling him those things, and he knew her name without her telling him. Not only that but she starts to have visions or memories of the past where they were together. I think she was possibly the daughter of the first witch, who was married to the devil. Or they were engaged in the past. We don’t get a clear answer on that by the end of the book on who she was. Nor does Wrath admit to anything due to the curse.
Not to mention, there’s a statue in Wrath’s garden that is likely Emilia. The woman she as a similar hairstyle with flowers entwined with braids. While Emilia doesn’t outright saw looks like her, it could be with wrath between depicted as a snake covering her private parts. Also, a snake, come on that was a dead giveaway that Wrath was the devil. I thought that was fishy in the first book but was waiting on what Pride’s symbol was before calling it out.
I loved the descriptions of the various courts in this book. Even though I can’t picture things in my head, it painted a lovely picture of what everything looked like. Every court was described and suited the sin they represent perfectly. Granted, we only saw Wrath, Pride (a glimpse), Gluttony, and Envy. But we saw all the sins depicted since Wrath made Emilia practice resistance to all of them. Which might I add, is another red flag Wrath is the devil. He can manifest all the sins, and not only that one of the princes comments that they don’t have to do much because of Wrath. He keeps the order and balance in hell, not Pride. So, there’s not much for the Princes to rule, and they all listen to what Wrath says even if it’s begrudgingly. If he was just another Prince, they would’ve ignored him.
Similar to the first book, I think some of the conclusions were a bit of a jump, or rather they were something the character brought up then dismissed only to admit they believed it later. And the twist regarding the devil wasn’t really that much of a twist. That was pretty much something I figured out within the first half of the book, so all the nods were like “come on Emilia, it’s right there.” Though the bigger plot point was more in regards to the curse/prophecy regarding the twins. It’s clear they are involved in the curse so their memories have been tampered with. And no one is allowed to tell them anything, so at times that got frustrating but it was understandable. It wasn’t like Emilia was completely in the dark regarding why they weren’t telling her things. And it’s clear that’s something that’s going to be explored further in the next book of the series.
While there wasn’t much surprise regarding Wrath, I still thought it was interesting how it was handled. It wasn’t trying to be hidden. Wrath was purely waiting on Emilia to admit it even though she knew. And I love that he constantly makes sure that Emilia doesn’t feel forced into anything. He lets their betrothal be her choice if they take the next step. Even if it makes him look weak in comparison to the other Princes and his realm that he hasn’t seduced her into accepting it. Though I’m sure Emilia would love it if he just admitted he loved her. But his actions speak clearly enough to show that he does. He takes care of her, knows what she likes, and ensures she’s never made a fool. During a celebration, he makes sure she doesn’t have to share a secret or her biggest fear when he could’ve. Reminds me a little of the Fallen series by Lauren Kate. Only instead of angels, it’s the devil.
I’m curious about what’s going to happen in the final book. Will she get her memories back? Do Emilia and Wrath go through with getting married (I think the answer is yes but you never know)? Will we get more details about the curse and what it means regarding Emilia and Vittoria? What actually happened to Vittoria since we know she schemed something before her death? Does Wrath get his wings restored? I have a feeling the next book will be the final book in the series, but it could stretch out past there depending on how much time is focused on certain elements.
Overall, I would give Kingdom of the Cursed a 3.5 out of 5-star rating. It was a good read, and I can’t wait to see what happens with the rest of the series. I have a feeling once the mystery aspect of the curse is unveiled I’ll enjoy the books a whole lot more on a re-read or as a whole. That’s how I felt about the Fallen series. The beginning where one character is in the dark isn’t as interested as once you know the secret, then on re-reads it’s better and you notice other details. I think that’s going to be the case with this series.
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