Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with an e-arc in exchange for my honest opinion! I’m so happy that I got a chance to read this book, and I think it’s one that a lot of people will love!
Wicked As You Wish
by Rin Chupeco
Series: A Hundred Names for Magic #1
Release date: March 3rd 2020
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, LGBT+
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….
This book was so fun to read! I was a bit confused at the beginning because there was a lot to take in, but once the story got going I was able to follow along better. Honestly, that’s probably the biggest reason I didn’t give this book 5 stars. There were times where I was confused as to who was speaking, and who they were talking about or who they were talking to.
I think this book also suffered a bit from trying to combining too many different fairy tales into one story – it’s like a giant mixing pot of every fairy tale, myth, and legend from all different cultures thrown together with a dash of the real world thrown in. I love the concept, but I think maybe it would’ve made it easier if the different tales were slowly woven into the story rather than all at once.
That said, I did enjoy the combining of fairy tales with the modern world and having all these famous characters as real people. I also loved how Rin combined that with real world issues like immigration and refugee policies, which in light of today’s issues was especially hard to read, but definitely something that people need to talk about. As someone who doesn’t have to deal with discrimination, it was hard even for me to read without getting angry knowing that these are things that are actually happening. Rin has also pointed out in a twitter thread that these problems are not ones that affect the US only, immigration issues also affect the Philippines. (I recommend checking out thattwitter thread for more information and background to some of the characters, because it really helped me with understanding some of the characters more).
On that same note, there was a TON of representation in this book. Not only are a lot of the characters Filipino, but there is also LGBT+ rep, a japanese-british character, and a character that uses they/them pronouns, among many other things. Also, the parents in this book are actually around for their kids instead of absent like in a lot of YA novels, which was really nice to see.
I wish that the side characters were a little bit more fleshed out – I felt like Ken and West were so similar in how they were written that it was sometimes hard to keep straight who was who, and Cole I forgot about half the time because I didn’t really see the point in his character and why he was with the group. I also didn’t really like Alex all that much, especially as the book went on because he was acting pretty ungrateful for the help and support that he received, and it was pretty clear that he was keeping a lot of things secret from the ones who were sworn to protect him. It will be interesting to see where his character goes in the next book, because I think something big is going to go down. Oh, and that ENDING – I did not see that coming and I have no idea how it will affect the rest of the story and these characters!
There was also a lot of humor in this book, which helped to make some of the heavier topics a little easier to swallow. (I mean, the chapter titles are amazing! One of my favorite chapter titles is for chapter 5: In which the firebird is an absolute unit.)
Overall, I found this book to be a lot of fun and it will be interesting seeing where the next book goes because I feel like the stakes are going to be a lot higher. I do recommend this book, but just be aware that you may be a bit confused at the start. Once they reached Avalon it started moving along a lot more smoothly!