Happy Thursday book friends! I recently finally read Kingdom of the Cursed and overall really enjoyed it. I have been excited for this book since I finished an ARC of Kingdom of the Wicked way back in October last year.
An yet it took me a minute to garner the motivation to read Kingdom of the Cursed. I got my copy for my birthday, so I’ve had it for a while. The good news is, it was on my TBR for this month, and I actually stuck to it for a change!
Warning! Even though this review won’t contain spoilers for Kingdom of the Cursed, it might contain spoilers for Kingdom of the Wicked.
Kingdom of the Cursed
By Kerri ManiscalcoMy Rating: ★★★★☆
Published 26 October 2021 by Hodder & Stoughton
New Adult | Fantasy | Romance
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…
One sister. Two sinful princes. Infinite deception with a side of revenge… Welcome to Hell.
If you were thinking of gifting this series to a teenager in your life: don’t.
Now that that’s out of the way… This whole book was quite a change compared to Kingdom of the Wicked. I loved the warm setting of KOtW, and KOtC is its complete opposite. This version of hell is completely frozen over, and I felt like the coldness of it all reflected the tone of the story really well. Despite some big differences, I didn’t feel like Kingdom of the Cursed had second-book syndrome at all. If anything, both Wrath and Emilia got more depth and I really enjoyed their story arcs. Plus, the plot thickens even more. In my review of Kingdom of the Cursed I mentioned I was a little disappointed that the blurb advertised it as romance, and it didn’t have that much romance. I am now eating those words, because goddamn. I can only imagine what the third book is going to be like.
The various kingdoms of hell were thought out quite well. I liked that the seven circles represented the seven sins, but also that all the vices were very non-superficial. For example, Wrath does not just represent fury and anger, but also complete objective justice. Some of the princes we met in Kingdom of the Wicked make a comeback in Kingdom of the Cursed, and I’m especially curious about what Envy’s game is.
Solving Vittoria’s murder is still pretty central in this story, but Emilia is set on a path that involves more than just finding the killer. Like I said, the plot thickens a lot, and there are now many more mysteries that will hopefully all be solves in the third book. Those last few chapters especially had a pretty high “what the hell” level.
What I Liked Less
This didn’t feel like a five star book to me, and I think that has everything to do with me having different expectations after the ending of the first book. The plot was enjoyable, even though this story is more about the characters, but after KOtW I thought it would take a different direction. It didn’t.
The other small bummer is that I saw one of the twists coming quite far off. Sometimes I love it when I correctly guess the plottwist, but I’m not sure if I like this particular trope. I guess we’ll have to see how I feel about it after reading book three.