Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, Book 1) by Emily Duncan
For a century Tranavia and Kalyazia have been at war.
Hidden in a mountain-top monastery, Nadya—a Kalyazi cleric with the ability to communicate with the gods, all the gods—has been living and training. When the Travanian forces breach the walls of the monastery, she is forced to flee into the snow covered lands that have—until now—kept invaders at bay. After fleeing, Nadya encounters a small band of rebels with plans to infiltrate the Travanian palace and kill the king in an effort to end the war. One of the rebels is Malachiasz, an escaped Travanian Vulture with a treasonous plan and a dark secret of his own.
Serefin, the High Prince of Tranavia and a blood mage, has accomplished a victory that no other military leader has, he’s conquered the mountain monastery that hides the Kalyazi cleric. Even though she’s just barely slipped from his grasp, he can feel that her power is far greater than anyone had guessed. And now, with her so close to capture, he’s been called back to Tranavia by his father—for a betrothal ceremony. But Serefin will find that his betrothal isn’t the only danger that lies in waiting.
Wicked Saints is a dark and tantalizing fantasy that balances politics, magic and religion. Everything about the setting and characters seems to exist in the gray area between good and evil. The descriptions are vivid and the monstrous creatures are so well-described that they are easily visualized and horrific to imagine. Although I wasn’t as compelled by the romance as I’d hoped, and felt some of the secondary characters could have been better represented, I still found Wicked Saints to be an enjoyable read and look forward to the sequel.