5/5 stars

CW: gore, murder, death of a family member.

It has been a while since I stayed up super late to read a book, but here I am with bags under my eyes and a giant cup of tea after two late nights! Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco had been on my TBR pile for quite some time after getting it in one of my Fairyloot boxes, so I figured since I have some time off that now would be a perfect time to finally read it. Little did I know that it would re-ignite my love of Italian food and become my latest obsession!

Kingdom of the Wicked is told from the perspective of Emilia di Carlo, a strega (witch) living in 19th century Sicily. Her and her twin sister Vittoria have been warned all their lives about the Wicked, but when Vittoria is brutally murdered, Emilia find herself working closely with one of the Wicked Princes, Wrath, in her quest for vengeance.

I don’t even know where to get started about how much I loved this book! It had everything I love: Sicily, food, fantasy, and an enemies-to-lovers romance! The chemistry between Emilia and Wrath was 🔥 and I absolutely loved the banter between them. I also thought that Emilia herself made such a great character. From the description I thought she would be this badass warrior type similar to Jude from the Folk of the Air series. Instead, she was just a young woman who was looking foward to helping her family’s restaurant expand and fantasized about herb infused olive oils. Maniscalco did a great job building Emilia’s character throughout the story, from depicting her grief from Vittoria’s death to her building fear as her quest for vengeance pushes her into dangerous territory. I’m very much looking forward to reading more about her growth in Kingdom of the Cursed.

My suggestion: don’t read this book while hungry! Emilia works in her family’s popular trattoria and often fantisizes about creating different dishes and combining new flavours. Even days after I finished the book I still find myself craving Sicilian food…only to be disheartned when I remembered I don’t really have access to that where I live. That said, I am seriously debating try to make some of the dishes mentioned in the book myself!

This is the first Kerri Maniscalco book I’ve ever read and you can bet that I’ll be checking out Stalking Jack the Ripper, while I wait for Kingdom of the Cursed. I can’t wait to see what Fairyloot does for their edition of Kingdom of the Cursed!

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