Wicked As You Wish is out today, March 3rd!
Rating: 2.5 stars!
Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire and Fairyloot for getting an ARC of this book into my hands, this has not affected my honest review.
Tala Warnock isn’t much interested in magic – or rather, it’s not much interested in her. As a Makiling, a descendant of a legendary Filipina heroine, she cancels magic out with her very presence, often by accident. Her family has ties to the country of Avalon, or they did before Avalon was left frozen, bespelled and impossible to reach for the last 12 years. It’s these ties that find her family protecting Avalon’s last prince against those who want to take his kingdom’s magic.
As dangerous spelltech threatens the Royal States of America and the firebird, Avalon’s deadliest weapon, turns up on her doorstep, Tala’s life is about to get real complicated. The Snow Queen is back, and she wants the firebird’s magic, and somehow Tala’s caught right in the middle.
What did I think?
I really wanted to like this book, but I just… didn’t. I didn’t like the characters (except for maybe Cole, who’s barely in it anyway). I didn’t like the writing style, and I didn’t like the plot execution. The more I think about this, a couple of days after reading it, the more disappointed I am, I think. The premise itself was really really interesting, and the world-building could have been amazing, but there was just something missing. From what I’ve read, this book was the author’s longest running story, and a labour of love. I definitely get that impression, but I kind of feel like maybe because the world was so well-built inside the author’s head, the information didn’t translate onto the page. If I’d been eased into the world, I would have adored it, but instead I spent most of the time I was reading it just confused about who was who and what was going on.
The plot itself was interesting, and there were a lot of mysteries I wanted to know the answers to, unfortunately I didn’t want to read the book to find them because the execution just wasn’t there. I didn’t even really understand the ending, and thinking back I don’t really know if I could sum the story up. The characters were really fascinating and diverse, but the banter between them was uncomfortable and took up too much space. I didn’t form an emotional connection with any of the characters and the tone just felt… off? I couldn’t connect to the writing, and I could see where it was supposed to be funny but it didn’t quite land.
I love what this book was trying to do, and I can tell that there’s been a lot of love and thought put into the story, it just didn’t work for me. It’s super, super diverse and I loved the Filipina MC and the culture that was jam-packed into it, and I will probably look for the sequel, because there were mysteries laid out in the story that I do want the answers to, and the end, while as confusing, was intriguing too. But it’ll probably be a library loan or a discounted ebook pick up for me, rather than a preordered new release.
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