Nadya Lapteva is the last remaining cleric in her country. In Emily A. Duncan’s novel Wicked Saints, the reader follows the journey of a girl who can speak to and channel the power of gods. However, this is not just your average fantasy series. The trilogy is set in medieval Eastern Europe, following Slavic gods, frozen lands and ancient evils.
In the country of Kalyazi, Nadya finds herself alone as the bloodthirsty Tranavians try to take over her country. While on her way to a monastery she suddenly finds herself being tracked down by none other than the Tranavian High Prince and bloodmage, Serefin Meleski. As she desperately avoids being caught she finds unexpected help – a defecting Tranavian soldier by the name of Malachiasz Czechowicz. Cautiously, she agrees to travel with the Tranavian. Together they create a plan to assassinate the Tranavian King and put an end to the war.
However, not all is as it seems. Malachiasz’s smooth words and incredible wit causes Nadya to wonder why he was banished from his home country in the first place. Blindly trusting Malachiasz, Nadya soon finds herself in the heart of enemy territory. What was supposed to be a simple plan soon turns into a storm of lies and betrayals. In the chaos, Nadya discovers she was only guided into Tranavian to be used to release gods older than her own. A territorial war escalates into a war over light and darkness.
Nadya Lapteva is the only cleric able to release evil, and the only one left to stop it.
The novel is an incredibly unique read. The effort that went into researching Slavic mythology and beliefs is so refreshing because Eastern European culture is so rarely seen in books. One of my favorite parts of the novel is the way in which it is written, the sentence structure combined with including Polish and Czech words really brings the reader into the setting. Additionally, the book is full of emotions and plot twists that have the reader anxiously turning the page. I would recommend Wicked Saints to anyone interested in fantasy novels but with a darker twist.
– Michelle L.
Wicked Saints by Emily Duncan is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Libby.