Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco
Publication Date: March 3, 2020
Summary from GoodReads:
Tala Warnock has little use for magic – as a descendant of Maria Makiling, the legendary Filipina heroine, she negates spells, often by accident. But her family’s old ties to the country of Avalon (frozen, bespelled, and unreachable for almost 12 years) soon finds them guarding its last prince from those who would use his kingdom’s magic for insidious ends.
And with the rise of dangerous spelltech in the Royal States of America; the appearance of the firebird, Avalon’s deadliest weapon, at her doorstep; and the re-emergence of the Snow Queen, powerful but long thought dead, who wants nothing more than to take the firebird’s magic for her own – Tala’s life is about to get even more complicated….
ARC provided by Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley for an honest review.
Since finishing this book, I have had a hard time wrapping my head around my thoughts and feelings about it. On the one hand, it was a pretty good adventure quest story, with a diverse set of characters some of which I came to like and care about. On the other hand the world and its magical system were just so damn confusing that it really hindered my overall enjoyment of the story.
Let’s start with the positives:
- There was an amazing number of diverse characters, someone for everyone to relate to. They were diverse in their ethnicities, gender and sexual orientations.
- Tala, the mostly main character, was an interesting one. I liked her magical talent, or rather her talent to negate magic. She was pretty brave, but I never quite got why she spent all this time training as a warrior, yet alway held back when there was a fight.
- Alex was also a great character that I mostly liked. He occasionally treated everyone like crap and kept going off recklessly on his own, but it could sort of be brushed off as moodiness and anxiety about what was going on. I did like his friendship with Tala though.
- The group of teens who are sent to protect Alex were a fun bunch too. I especially liked West, such a sweet goof, who is a shape shifter unlike anything else I’ve encountered.
- I loved the Phoenix, he was such a character and had quite the personality which he related with looks, sounds and wing gestures. He was awesome.
- The bad guys may not be so bad? I ended up kind of liking Ryker in the end, and I think he feels that he is in the right, and maybe he is. The Snow Queen seems to have another agenda than what we have been lead to believe as well.
- The overall plot, though a bit slow in places, was well done and exciting. There was also an emphasis on family, redemption and forgiveness, loyalty which are always nice to see in a story.
Here are the negatives.
- The world building is probably the biggest. I spent most of the book just feeling utterly lost and confused about this world. It is a mash up of the real world and fairy tales and legends. World mythologies were also also included especially when it came to the characters. The history of this world mirrored our own, just with all of these fictional characters and places woven throughout. Statements were thrown about these characters and their historical significance like we should know the stories, but often I didn’t and just felt confused and wondering why this was important. There were times when I thought I was getting a handle on it and then it would just slip away again.
- The magical system was also very problematic and not well explained, or maybe just I missed something somewhere. It is a combination of tech and magic called spelltech. So for example, cell phones use magic to work. So yeah. Plus there were these rocks with glyphs that were also spells? And of course magic came with a price, usually something physical.
- Too many prophecies, like everyone had one, and some came true through out the story but not others. There were so many I couldn’t keep track of which ones were which and who they belonged too. If this had been a physical copy of the book I would have been highlighting and going back in the text to look at all of them constantly.
Overall I think I can say that I liked the book, but I had many issues with it. This is a review based on an ARC so it is possible that some changes have been made before printing, I can certainly hope so. Will I pick up the next one? Probably, but I don’t think I will be holding my breath or rushing out for it as soon as it hits stores.