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WICKED SAINTS: Q&A and Excerpt!

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Emily A. Duncan’s debut novel, WICKED SAINTS (Wednesday Books; April 2, 2019), is one of the most highly anticipated YA fantasy novels of 2019.

Seriously, I’ve been hearing about it EVERYWHERE.

Set in an Eastern European inspired world, this Joan-of-Arc-esque debut finds Nadya, a peasant girl who can speak to the gods, working with a deadly adversary to end the centuries-long war and assassinate the mad king. Nadya must save her people without destroying herself in a brutal realm of blood magic and sinister players. When she finds herself intertwined in a forbidden romance, it threatens to destroy everything she’s worked towards and tip the scales between dark and light.

I was lucky enough to have three questions ready for Emily about the book!

This feels like a story yeeeears in the making. What was the first spark or seed of story that came to you, and how did it become Wicked Saints?
It was years in the making! I got the first little nudge of a story when I was halfway through college, procrastinating on a paper by playing Skyrim. There was something about the atmosphere that really got under my skin. I didn’t manage to write a full draft of the book until I was in grad school, years later.

Which type of scene is, or which in Wicked Saints was, your favourite to write?
Literally any scene where Nadya and Malachiasz are fighting is my favorite to write. Their dialogue is so much fun, they’re so much fun to write together. I especially like when they’re arguing about theology because they have such wildly opposite beliefs.

As a debut author, what’s your favourite part of the whole writing and publishing process so far?
Seeing the book go from an idea, to hundreds of scattered word documents, to a completed, physical object, is so wild to me. It’s amazing. It’s a real book now! I also love getting messages from readers, and seeing which of the three main characters people latch onto.

Thank you so much to Emily for taking the time to answer not only my questions, but all the other bloggers who offered their Q’s! 

I have an Excerpt here, which somehow won’t play by pasting — so you might have to you know, download it and read it 70 times?

Wicked Saints_Excerpt

If you’re going to pick up Wicked Saints, you want a handy hint as to how to pronounce the characters’ names. There’s a Pronunciation Guide – yes it’s amazing – ready for you to download below.

WickedSaints_PronunciationGuide

Annnnd I guess I should show you where to buy the book, right?

Buy from:
Macmillan Direct
Amazon UK 
Book Depository

Read more about Emily:

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EMILY A. DUNCAN works as a youth services librarian. She received a Master’s degree in library science
from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through
interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video
games and dungeons and dragons. Wicked Saints is her first book. She lives in Ohio.

 

 

SOCIAL LINKS:
Website: https://eaduncan.com/
Twitter: @glitzandshadows
Instagram: @glitzandshadows
Tumblr: http://glitzandshadows.tumblr.com/

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T5W – Spring Reads!

Since it’s the first day of spring (in this hemisphere!), discuss books that remind you of spring, or genres you reach for in the spring, or books you plan on reading this spring!

Like Sam, T5W organiser, I also consider March – May as Spring. I know it’s not technically correct, but that’s how it feels in England.

I don’t really have “spring” books or books that make me feel springy, simply because I mostly delve into Fantasy which never seems to have seasons other than winter or summer.

Today I wanted to focus on my physical TBR pile, however there is one book on here that I can’t help but wanna devour immediately:

AURORA RISING

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The only new release I’m putting on this list. I have it pre-ordered and I’m so excited!

TRAIL OF LIGHTNING

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I started to read this, then trailed off because I was too cold / ill / had to read Leviathan Wakes so I could watch the Expanse. But it’s definitely an atmospheric start and I can’t wait to continue.

ABADDON’S GATE

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This one’s apparently a slow starter, and not as fast paced as the first two, but it’s definitely a series I want to continue reading if only for Bobbie and Avasarala alone.

PASSENGER

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I got this from the library and it’s due back on the 6th April so…. quick??

WICKED DEEP

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I’ve had this since Christmas, and I really wanted to read it when it was warm cause I get the feeling it’s gonna creep me out

 

Top 5 Wednesday

T5W: Characters That Embody My Hogwarts House of SLYTHERIN

Discuss some of your favorite characters that you feel would share your Hogwarts house. These don’t need to be Houses that have been confirmed by the author; this is in your opinion 🙂

My house is – SLYTHERIN

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(Big surprise, right? You can pick your jaw up off the floor now)

I love this house. It gets a bad rep, because of the dickheads pooled into it — not like there weren’t any bad eggs in other houses, riiiight? – but Reggie Black and Merlin were good kids imo so it goes to show ambition isn’t that bad!

That being said… here’s my top 5 delicious Slytherin characters

CHRISJEN AVASARALA from the Expanse series

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This. Lady.

She’s possibly my favourite in the entire Expanse series right now, if not one of my fave characters EVER, but she doesn’t swear half as much in the TV show as she does in the books (where is my delightfully sweary old lady who calls high ranking officials fucking bobble-heads?!?!)

She’s perceptive, cunning, wise, plays the long game and strategizes to within an inch of her life. She isn’t beyond playing the ‘weak old lady’ to get what she wants and she covets knowledge. Yeah she could be Ravenclaw, but she is one SNEAKY motherfudger who is ruthless and efficient. She has a sailor mouth and absolute love for her husband that makes me melt, but that never gets in the way of what she has to do.

I aspire to be like her.

ZOYA NAZYALENSKY from Grisha series

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If Ambition had a face it would be Zoya. She’s loyal, of course, brave, intelligent, but overall we saw her ambition really flourish in King of Scars. She has dreams of reaching the heights of what a throne could provide her, being a feared Grisha, teaching those who discriminate and ridicule Grisha a lesson. She has FIERCE power and she’s not afraid to use it.

That to me, is an incredible Slytherin.

VICTOR VALE from Vicious & Vengeful

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This guy somehow makes hearts melt even though he’s probably a sociopath and doesn’t give a shit about killing people BUT — it’s his loyalty, and his ambition that makes me believe I can’t NOT put him on this list. Soon as he finds a family that’s it. They’re his now and he’ll do whatever he can to protect them.

HOLLAND from Darker Shade of Magic series

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A morally ambiguous character, Holland wanted only to save his London from magical extinction. His past was just heartbreaking, and even though he was a pawn of the Dane Twins for years, he never lost the desire to grab at power if it would give him what he wanted.

MIA CORVERE from Nevernight series

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To avenge her family Mia went to assassin school.

Assassin. School.

She plays one hell of a long game to get to the truth, isn’t above using seduction and sex to get whatever she wants, and has killed to reach the top. She’s also deliciously dark, with some magic inside her that we’ve only just started to see.

Like Reggie Black, though, she still has very strong principles, and she holds a grudge like no business.

Love her.

Honorable mentions: Kaz Brekker, Ronan Lynch, Eli Ever, The Darkling

 

Top 5 Wednesday

Love Interests You Would Have Broken Up With – Top 5 Wednesday

Self. Explanatory.

I may go off on a few of these.

1. Tamlin / Rhys from the Court Of series.

HEAR ME OUT

Tamlin, obviously is a controlling and brutish mess who deserves to die in a gruesome way.

Rhys is charming, charismatic and lovely – until he gets fucking jealous and posessive as well in the third book and the novella which (augh) came out.

The signs are there for both of these men, and while Tamlin is no doubt the worst of them, Rhys isn’t that much better if you look deeper in later novels.

2. Mal (whatever his last name is, i dunno and to be frank – do not care) from the Grisha series

Blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand

But also his behaviour in book 2 was the shittiest, stompiest crap I’ve seen. He said he loved Alina, and yet he went off flirting and kissing other women as soon as he felt left out because she was going through a tough time, and then had the gall to be offended when Alina flirted with the ever-handsome, Beautiful Book Husband Nikolai.

He was just a mess. I didn’t like him at all, and I didn’t like that ending with him.

I don’t know what even ZOYA saw in him for a one time thing, beacuse she can do miles better.

3. Jessica Bertram and Richard Mayhew in Neverwhere

These two are as bad as each other – she’s up herself, neurotic and controlling, and to be honest Richard doesn’t have a spine, he just flops about without any cause until Door shows up who gives him a purpose in his life.

Woo?

4. Serena in Vicious

Eli and Serena… well. Serena obviously would have been difficult to break up with, being that she could control people with a word and stop them doing things, but that is precisely why I would have said no thanks.

5. Eizabeth Keene in Blacklist

Holy jesus.

Elizabeth is…. maybe one of the most inconsistent, unlikable, stroppy, backflippingly emotional range of a gnat’s penis of a character I’ve seen on TV.

Every episode it’s like she switches from one endgame to the next, I love him, hate him, suspicious of him, respect him, “I want to know the truth!” *then suddenly doesnt*

This has happened every single series with her spy husband Tom Keene, and has continued after his death.

hate her. With a passion. Elizabeth is meant to be a doting new mum, who faked her OWN death to get away from her criminal mastermind father, yet after her hubbo died she left her baby with the mother in law, whom neither of them knew very well – because she’s also a sodding semi-criminal – and then flounced off to get revenge on the father who might not be her father but she loves him but maybe she doesn’t and oh christ on a bike

Even Liz’s husband got this treatment from her, back in the early seasons, and I have no idea why anyone, anywhere, respects her or likes her at all.

WRITE BETTER WOMEN, TV PEOPLE.

WRITE. BETTER. WOMEN.

(Honorable mentions: Ross Geller, Nick from Gone Girl, Rishi out of Dimple Met Rishi)

Just For Fun

5* Read Predictions for 2019

To be clear, this is just what I’m planning to read, not all are new releases of 2019.

But I enjoy the aspect of potentially having 5* reads before I even get to them. (King of Scars was going to be on this list but then I read it and it ended up not being 5* so just goes to show what I know!)

LET’S GET STARTED.

Darkdawn

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I need. To know. WHAT. HAPPENS.

Jay Kristoff rarely disappoints, and as long as we don’t get pages of gladiator fighting in this one I’ll be happy.

Foundryside

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I’ve had this on my radar for about 7 months now, and the cover alone is beautiful. But it was the concept and the first page that made me want to read more of this. I can’t see many reviews of it anywhere, certainly not from friends, but I have a feeling I’ll enjoy it.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

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This has been HYPED so I’m keen to see if it lives up to it for me, but I do think that it’s going to effect me the same. Six of Crows as hyped, I reckon this will be the same.

The Fever King

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I, er – read this once before cause I was lucky enough to be in PitchWars 2017 with Victoria. It’s gone through some revisions since, but I have no doubt it’s still got the magic that I felt the first time reading it.

Temper

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Same as above, I was in PW17 with Layne and – damn. I don’t go for first person POV often but this was gritty, it had me gripped – and I’m sure it will again. I can’t wait to get my hands on this.

Serpent and Dove

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Wow, PW17 gets everywhere — I didn’t read Shelby’s MS – I know I have to break the curve somehow – but from what friends are saying (and from what I know of Shelby) it’s deserving of the hype. I can’t wait!

Jennifer Strange

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This book will be illustrated by the author Cat Scully as well! While I know Cat, I haven’t had chance to read this prior and to be honest I don’t want spoilers! I want to be entertained by this weird, spooky girl.

Hunting Prince Dracula

Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #2)

I adored the first book and I’ve no doubt I’ll adore the second!

Reviews · Uncategorized

King of Scars – Review (spoilers!)

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3.5*

No wait, 4*

No wait….

This is such a hard book to rate!!

I loved it… but I was also disappointed by it

Let me explain.

When we were told we were going to get a Nikolai book I figured this was going to be a Nikolai book which centered on him battling with the demon inside and trying to rule his kingdom, with his sass, wit, and genuine charm coming to the fore. It ended up being a Zoya, Nik, Isaak, Saints, Nina, Fjerda, Leoni, Hanne book with everything and its children happening and veeeeery little Nikolai.

The standout star here was Zoya. Let’s be real. I didn’t like her in the Grisha trilogy, as I suppose we weren’t meant to, not until the last book because of her tryst with Mal (remember him?). But in this duology I have a feeling she’s going to shine.

I love Zoya and Nikolai as separate characters and as their friendship. But it feels like there’s no natural sexual chemistry between them, I didn’t get any “zing!” vibes from them at all. So when it was thrown in that they started feeling flashes of *something* about each other, it felt just like that – flashes of it thrown in, for a romance subplot that we don’t need.

Having two strong characters in their own, both of the opposite sex, doesn’t mean they HAVE to get together. I adore them both as friends cause we hardly ever see a leading man and a leading woman as just great friends in fiction. And yeah, to be honest, I can see Zoya’s jealousy of Nikolai’s impending marriage being rooted in the friendship changing. Not in the “but I want you instead!” jealousy.

Zoya was definitely the stronger character and while I understood why Isaak’s chapters were there I just… didn’t care. We didn’t have enough time to see this impending war intrigue because we switched to a scene in Fjerda then we were in the Saints place, then we were over here, and then Nina was being flirty, and then we went back to Zoya…. It never felt like we had time enough to sit down, settled in, and absorb the feel of the place.

Nina… the thing with Nina’s chapters are like they belong in a different book. I don’t see any correlation between her and the story which centers on Nikolai. Also – CHEATED. I wanted good, honest to god interactions between by girl Nina and my boy Nik. Nikolina? Ninolai? Whatever, I wanted to see them hopelessly flirt with each other.

I will read the second book – of COURSE I will, the Darkling has literally returned for some reason – but while there was a lot to love (Zoya! Nikolai’s lines! Tolya and Tamar! Ravka!…. omg that’s it!) I was deflated.

What are your thoughts?! Have you read it?!

Top 5 Wednesday

February 13: Independent Ladies

–Favorite leading ladies who aren’t distracted from getting shit done by their love interest (they can still have a romance subplot – this is going to be subjective based on what you think would be ~too much~).

Audrey Rose Wadsworth from Stalking Jack the Ripper

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Queeeen of 1880s London, Audrey Rose was sweet, fiesty, and yes a little bit silly sometimes but she was a very independant lady in a time when nobody else wanted her to be, and I love her for it.

Kady Grant from Illuminae Files

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Sassy, small, and sarcastic, she is clearly the brains of the operation. Kady didn’t treat an AI like it was a thing, she sussed things out before anyone else did, she’s not afraid of authority and she’s the bravest kid I know.

Eowyn, Shieldmaiden of Rohan from Lord of the Rings

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I read about her when I was 14, but she’s always stuck with me as being a kick-ass, determined warrior who brought down the Witch-king of Angmar BY HERSELF cause she’s a badass

NO MAN AM I

Nina Zenik from Grishaverse

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Nina is the first plus-sized woman I read who isn’t brought down to just being curves–she’s sexy, fun, powerful, and unapologetic in her love of waffles. She’s also the most powerful Dreg, when you think about her powers.

Tana from Coldest Girl in Coldtoen

Image result for tana coldest girlTana was probably one of the most sensible, reasonable teens I’ve read about in a long time and I absolutely loved her. She was determined, focused, and very open minded.