Kingdom of the Feared is the final installment of the Kingdom of the Wicked trilogy by Kerri Maniscalco. I was looking forward to this book as we were promised to learn all the secrets that had been laid out in the previous two books. As the book opens immediately at the close of the second installment in the trilogy. So, if you don’t want spoilers for the previous books in this series, look away as I’m going to be getting into it during my review of this book.
A reckoning all have feared.
And a love more powerful than fate. All hail the king and queen of Hell.
Emilia is reeling from a shocking discovery about her sister, Vittoria. But before she faces the demons of her past, Emilia yearns to claim her king, the seductive Prince of Wrath, in the flesh. She doesn’t just desire his body; she wants his heart and soul—but that’s something the enigmatic demon can’t promise her.
When a high-ranking member of House Greed is assassinated, damning evidence somehow points to Vittoria as the murderer. Now, Emilia will do anything to get to the bottom of these accusations against the sister she thought she knew.
Together, Emilia and Wrath play a sin-fueled game of deception to solve the murder and stop the unrest that’s brewing between witches, demons, shape-shifters, and the most treacherous foes of all: the Feared. Emilia was warned that when it came to the Wicked, nothing was as it seemed. But have the true villains been much closer all along?
- Published: September 27, 2022
- Page Count: 393 pages
- Genre: Young Adult (though I’d argue more New Adult), Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Thoughts on Kingdom of the Feared (Spoilers Ahead)
The more I thought about reviewing the final book of this series spoiler free, the more it seemed impossible. At least for me.
Emilia had found that not only Wrath and the other six princes were cursed, but she was also a part of the curse. Or, at the very least, she is cursed. Not only that, but she has a history with Wrath, who is actually the devil (not Pride). As a result, the majority of this book concentrates on the two of them attempting to break the curse. Or, more accurately, Emilia is working on breaking the curse, while Wrath is also present.
What are the curses?
- Wrath cannot love anything or it will be taken away from him. He only had 6 years, 6 months, and 6 days to break it or it would remain intact forever. As punishment for him not breaking off Pride’s marriage with the First Witch’s daughter.
- Emilia cannot remember her past and her powers were taken from her. As it turned out she and her sister were known as the Feared. Vengence goddesses of Fury and Death, respectfully. The only way to remove the curse completely is to remove the mortal heart they were given to keep them spell-locked.
While breaking the curses are one of the main focuses of the book, there’s another plotline involving the werewolves that were mentioned in the first book. A detail I honestly didn’t pay much attention to as it had seemed like a dead end in Emilia’s search to discover who murdered her sister. But we learn she hadn’t died. She staged her death in a message to the witches that tried to bind Emilia and her to those stolen mortal hearts. And she allied herself with the werewolves after failing to get what she needed from Greed and Envy. Not that she really wanted to work with either of those houses fully.
As for the werewolves, their Alpha, discovers his half-sister that had been taken earlier in life has been forced to be the commander for Greed. He helped her stage her death to escape. Something that Greed demands Wrath to allow him blood retribution for as he blames Vittoria for this act. We learn she didn’t do it, so Emilia has to prove those claims to be false. But due to the blood oath, Wrath can’t be involved in any aspect of her investigation or he would be forced to tell his brothers.
This basically means Wrath does almost nothing for the majority of the book. Like he’s there and he supports Emilia… and has lots of sex with her, but he doesn’t have an active role in the investigation. When the witches attack, Emilia is the one to handle it. When Emilia decides to break her curse, Vittoria helps her in the Shifting Isle (which was apparently where they had been the last 20 years in their time, not in actual Italy). When Emilia finds a way to break Wrath’s curse, he’s not there for the majority of the investigation. This was in part because Emilia didn’t want Wrath to have to lie to Pride, as the source of information turns out to be his wife who willingly chose to forget him and moved to the Shifting Isles, but still he’s only there for the final act of that. She went to the Well of Memories alone, she talked to the First Witch alone, and she went to the First Witch’s daughter alone. The only time Wrath did anything was by stabbing Emilia with the Blade of Ruination to free himself of his curse. And later give her back her fire powers when they get fully married, as she had sacrificed them when he stabbed her with the dagger in order to lift his curse.
I would’ve loved to see Wrath play more of an active role in any of those elements. He was involved in the first book for the investigation, then kind of took a back seat to the rest of the series as far as the investigation went. At least in the second book, he had been teaching Emilia so he had more of an active role. In this book, he seemed more like an arm decoration for Emilia. Don’t get me wrong, he is present throughout the book but he’s more in the background. Again as I mentioned, it was written that way for a reason. The book is told from Emilia’s POV so having him do things without her would be missing information, but he still could’ve done more.
I liked how the story concluded, there were technically still open elements: Vittoria reestablishing House Vengeance, what happens between Pride and the First Witch’s daughter (Emilia gave her a memory stone, so she could choose to relearn of her past), and Emilia giving the spellbook back to her mother. Not to mention Vittoria and Pride haven’t settled their differences after the events that led to him losing his wife in the first place. If Kerri Maniscalco wanted to make a spin-off series focusing on Pride and Vittoria, the door is technically open for that.
But otherwise, all the mysteries were solved. At least the ones involving Wrath and Emilia. The two of them the rest of time together and are able to love each other freely without curses getting in their way. And they each have equal amount of powers (technically each has half of Wrath’s fully restored power), so the female protagonist while she may have given up hers originally isn’t left powerless in the end.
Overall, I would give Kingdom of the Feared 3.5 stars out of 5. I would’ve rated it higher had Wrath played more of an active role in literally anything and didn’t purely exist for sex with Emilia. I get the reasoning, but still, it felt like his character was set to the side when he was supposed to be one of the main characters. He could’ve had more to do like he did in the previous books.
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