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Literature / Something Dark and Holy

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The Something Dark and Holy trilogy is a fantasy trilogy by Emily A. Duncan.

The first book, Wicked Saints, published in 2019, follows the adventure of a young cleric, Nadezhda "Nadya" Lapteva, from the religious Russian-inspired country Kalyazin, as she wrestles with her faith in a "land of heretics", the Polish-inspired blood magic kingdom Tranavia, with which Kalyazin has been at war with for decades. She ends up involved in not only the politics of the war between the countries, but between the gods whose voices she can hear.

The second book, Ruthless Gods, was released in April 2020. A third and final book, Blessed Monsters, was released in April 2021.


This series provides examples of:

  • Bilingual Bonus: The series uses occasional Polish and Russian in dialogue.
  • Blood Magic: Tranavia use blood in their various rituals and spells. It's gotten to the point that even common folk can use it for simple tasks like fishing and sewing and the entire culture and society of Tranavia is supported by blood magic.
  • Decadent Court: The slavkhi of the Tranavian court are constantly backstabbing each other and being dramatic.
  • Deity of Human Origin: Malachiasz is able to ascend to divinity through a magic ritual in order to become a god. This ascension warps his appearance and makes him look more bestial and monstrous.
  • Elemental Powers: The saints and clerics, based on which god they serve, possess an elemental power.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Kalyazin is based on Russia, Tranavia is based on Poland, and Akola is based on multiple South Asian cultures and countries.
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  • Fantasy Pantheon: Kalyazin has twenty High Gods. Akola also has their own pantheon.
  • God Is Displeased: After the events in Grazyk, Nadya is no longer able to communicate with the Kalyazi Pantheon.
  • Godhood Seeker: Izak, Serefin's father, plans to commit a large Blood Magic sacrifice which includes his own son in order to become a god. He is secretly being manipulated into it by Malachiasz, but he actually succeeds while Izak fails.
  • War God: Velylos is the god of war of the Kalyazin Pantheon.

Alternative Title(s): Wicked Saints