From the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Stalking Jack the Ripper series comes a new blockbuster series…
One brutal murder.
A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…
And an intoxicating romance.
Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.
Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…
-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.
Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.
(4 / 5) This is the perfect witchy black magic book for spooky season! Maniscalco had me hooked from the beginning then left a bomb shell at the end.
Emilia is an Italian witch. Her family runs a restaurant (the food sounds amazing) where she and her twin, Vittoria work. They are 18 and very close to each other and their family.
Vittoria is murdered and Emilia vows to find the killer. Her once happy, peaceful life is now littered with black magic, demons and princes from Hell. One prince, Wrath, claims to be on her side. He’s broody, kind, surprising, and hostile but it’s hard to tell what is sincere and what is an act. He was definitely my favorite character!
The ending was amazing, she left it at a cliffhanger that I feel has many layers to it. I cannot wait to peel those layers and delve into this story again!
The content was low in language. There were passionate moments but the details stayed at a minimum. The main character is 18 but she feels much older, however I feel the details stayed within YA boundaries. Black magic is common and the overall feel of the book is a bit creepy but not extreme. There is violence and blood with a few gory details that may be too much for some readers.
Thank you to Jimmy Patterson and NetGalley for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review. This book publishes October 27, 2020.
Detailed Content Review
Derogatory terms etc-
Hell is talked about (as a place) many times.
“Goddess” is used as a religious curse many times.
“Blood and bones” is another type of curse.
Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking
After dinner, limoncello is served.
Cold wine is poured for a woman.
A young woman adds flavors to wine for two young women to drink.
Festival goers are drunk.
Alcohol is served while people gamble.
A woman drinks Chianti.
A man and young woman drink wine.
While dancing, a young woman is handed wine and she drinks deeply.
A man drinks wine at dinner and pours some for a young woman.
A woman and young woman drink wine.
Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty
*No LGBTQ+ aspects included*
“…men and women slowly removed layers of clothing, swaying their near-naked bodies in hopes of capturing the greedy gazes…” (at a gambling bar).
“…I hope to see you when I return. Preferably naked, in my bed…” A young woman jokes to her sister about flirting with a man.
A man kisses a young woman.
“I wanted to jump up and dance, or fight, or make love.”
A young woman wakes after a medical procedure to find herself in a tub, naked, with a man holding her. He is naked also because he was preventing hypothermia- skin contact is necessary to warm a person.
“I wanted him to reach over and drag his hands down my body.”
“Even picturing him naked, tugging me to his solid, tattooed body, radiating his infuriating heat as he put his stupid mouth on mine and I gripped him back…”
While dancing, a young woman feels her partner “grip my bottom… and I liked it.” His hands roam over her body. He is an invisible partner made from magic. The magic causes her to rip her clothes partially off. She asks a man if he wants to see her naked. She tries to undo his pants but he moves back. She runs her thumb across his lips and he softly bites her.
“…matching trousers that hung so low on his hips, I could die…I wanted to tear off my clothes and dive in.” A man is using magic to make a young woman lust.
A young woman rubs her hands on a man’s chest, then goes under his shirt to do the same. She kisses him hard. He grabs her hips, pulling her close. Her tongue enters his mouth and he is “undone” while they kiss more and more. He lifts her up, she wants to rip his clothes off, he trails his hand up her leg and kisses her neck. “…wanting him so badly I was almost driven to madness.”
A young woman undressed then dressed quickly in front of a man.
Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood
Two young women have been murdered.
A man is found hovering over a woman’s corpse. Then he brings his hand up and licks blood off his fingers from her. A young woman holds a knife to him.
A young woman cuts her arm to use the blood for dark magic.
A young woman uses a knife to slash a man’s chest then punches and kicks him multiple times.
A demon uses his powers to force a woman to put her dagger to her chest and dig her heart out. She feels ecstasy as she starts to bleed from the pain.
An invisible demon throws a glass and holds a knife to a woman’s throat. It slices her, blood flowing out, the woman gurgling.
A large snake hits a young woman with its tail, a fang (the size of a sword) pierces her in the back. She shoves something into its eye, liquid spurting out.
A man cuts his hand and makes a vow.
A young woman holds a knife to a man’s back.
A man says he wears black to hide any blood he gets on him.
A man tells a young woman that a persons heart was probably ripped out of their chest while they were still alive.
A man holds a man against a wall, his forearm pressing his throat, blood drips from his nose. The man spits in his face. The man then holds a knife to his chin, blood drips then he smacks his head against the wall. Blood covers his mouth and teeth.
A man holds a man by the collar, off the ground, and threatens to cut his face.
A man witnessed a crime so he and his wife were brutally murdered with their child nearby, watching.
A group comes upon a body that lies in a pool of blood.
A large aper demon chases a young woman. It pins her and goes to bite her. Black sludge blood explodes as someone shoved a blade through its back, into its heart.
“…his blade was buried deep in (his) chest. Bones crunched. He twisted the dagger up, dark blood poured from the wound.”
A demon creature dragged two people out by their collars and dropped them. They appear to be drugged.
A man holds a knife to a young woman’s throat.
A man severs many demon creature heads. He continues to fight man, “body parts went flying” and there was a lot of blood. “…sickening wet thwack and … muffled groan…” as a knife is stabbed in his groin then dragged from hip to hip, guts spilling out.
A young woman uses magic to claw marks onto a man’s chest, it was purposely minor wounds, but there is blood.
Potentially Intense Themes
A young woman walks down a hallway lined with mummies.
A young woman can hear the dead speaking to her.
**SPOILER** A young woman finds the body of her close relative. She screams and cries then looks at the body and realizes the heart is missing. There is a bloody hole that is dripping blood into the floor. She vomits.
There is black magic. Some people use it, one young woman summons a demon. It is talked about and used many times throughout the book.
Bats attack a young woman then fly away.
An injury is life-threatening for a young woman. She has poison spreading through her body, agonizing pain and losing consciousness.
Aper demon- “Head of a boar, tusks of an elephant. Huge reptilian bodies, cleft hooves. Dumb as an ox, but they’ve got a particular fondness for witch blood. A thousand tiny teeth in double rows…”
Umbra demons- “…deep black circles around their sunken eyes, and teeth carved to tiny points that pulled back from rotting black gums…”
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