This book was doing the round on social media, and since I am a sucker for magic and fantasy, I decided to get on the hype. A story focusing on a young witch who’s twin was murdered and set on revenge sounds right up my ally. Not to mention, it’s set in Italy. It was so nice and refreshing to have the setting in our world and not be focused on America or England as it normally is.
To begin with, you have a nice little background of the twin sisters Emilia and Vittoria and sets up nicely to do with their Nonna’s relationship and also their connection as twins. Already you get the sense that Vittoria is the mischievous rebel and Emilia is the more family orientated, wants to stay quiet type — which is a nice contrast for when the story kicks off. So when we get into the nitty gritty of the story, already you are throwing out the sweet innocent Emilia and she almost takes on the persona of her twin to be rebellious, outgoing and power hungry — a nice use of character development. She is still family orientated, as after all she does everything to avenge her sister and keep her family safe. But you could almost feel her twins presence driving her to success.
But if I am honest, I can’t quite decide if I get on with this book or not. I love the use of Italian background throughout as I adore the culture. I appreciated and soaked in the use of magic running through with it not being too overpowering — the nods at the beginning of the chapters was beautifully done and was just the subtle reminder you needed that this is a witches tale. I also loved the relationship Emilia has with her Nonna and her friends and of course the loyalty to her twin. But truthfully, it did feel like the story was a bit flat at times.
It’s hard to pin point what I would change though. The story was intriguing, the character’s were indulgent, and yet, I found myself craving more. Perhaps there wasn’t enough action with the story being a thriller based tale. Perhaps I did want more magic or more diving into the world building with the seven Princes of Hell. It just sometimes felt short on the descriptions and the action. As if we were just getting to it and then it stopped. To me, the only real action sequence was with the viperdae. Apart from that, it was more waltzing around the city and more talk than action with the Princes.
Saying this, I loved the concept of them, and did love the few surprises such as the idea of the devil needing a bride to escape, or that Emilia accidentally betrothed herself to Wrath. But I felt like I wanted more — which with how the book ended I am expecting there to be more with the Princes in the sequel.
Also, if I am honest, I felt Emilia’s and Wrath’s relationship not as developed as I have read in other books. Some tales I have read and you could really see the relationship development between the lovers and understand why they are attract to one another. With Emilia and Wrath, it felt like some parts were missing. It was as if they hated each other, then suddenly he was saving her life, then suddenly she was thinking about him more and all of a sudden they kiss. If I am meant to route for them, then to me, I need a bit more. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the idea of them together, and perhaps I am being picky as no doubt the next book will evolve their relationship more. But the kiss felt a bit random. Just because she wanted to know the truth behind Wrath’s intentions on being on Earth, didn’t mean she had to kiss him. I felt more could have been done — just my personal opinion.
I will say though that I did not expect the ending. The fact that the killer Emilia had been trying to find the entire time was the boy she had had a crush on I thought was stunning. Antonio seemed like a washy personality that didn’t know what he wanted in life. As if he woke up one day and went “alright I’ll join the brotherhood as I have nothing else to do”. But the fact that deep down he was driven by fear and disgust for witches just brought this character to life. I did not expect it and I loved the contrast to how Emilia first saw him. I hope she gets her vengeance in the next book and it is slow and painful for Antonio. He should feel the hurt and fear he inflicted on those witches.
Overall, I will still pick up the next book — there’s no doubt about it that I am intrigued enough about where the story is going to go and also about Emilia’s character and relationships with those important to her. I am just praying that what felt lack-lusted with this first book will be fixed in the next. I didn’t find myself reaching to read the next chapter as I have been with other books. But the first one can often be tricky as you’re not only setting up the story, but also the characters and the environment, etc.. Now we have the characters and the story, fingers crossed the next book will flesh it all out even more and to see a real development between Emilia and Wrath.