“A great read for fans of fairy tales, myths and legends… Come for the adventure, stay for the sassy jerkwad firebird.” —Kendare Blake, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Three Dark Crowns series
When a hidden prince, a girl with secrets, a ragtag group of unlikely heroes, and a legendary firebird come together…something wicked is going down.
Many years ago, the magical Kingdom of Avalon was left encased in ice when the Snow Queen waged war. Its former citizens are now refugees in a world mostly devoid of magic. Which is why the crown prince and his protectors are stuck in…Arizona.
Prince Alexei, the sole survivor of the Avalon royal family, is hiding in a town so boring, magic doesn’t even work there. Few know his secret identity, but his friend Tala is one of them.
A new hope for their abandoned homeland reignites when a famous creature of legend, the Firebird, appears for the first time in decades. Alex and Tala must unite with a ragtag group of new friends to journey back to Avalon for a showdown that will change the world as they know it.
“A nail-biting quest that introduces a gripping new series.” —STARRED review, Publishers Weekly “A truly original novel.” —STARRED review, Kirkus
Oh no! I haven’t pushed the dnf button for any book for a long time! But I cannot go on however I tried sooooo hard! I gave up. I’m at page 125 and I listen my inner voice kept screaming me; “Put the book down! Nice and slowly!” So I did as I’m told! I raised my hands to the air and surrendered!
I did my best to be patient! I uncounted sheep and drank triple shot espressos at the night time to focus on the story. (I sacrificed a great bottle of wine during my read which gives me more inner screams. Yes I silently cry now!) But I felt like the author acted like a newbie cook who added so much ingredients to create her signature dish but all these ingredients didn’t fit well together and the result cane out something complicated.
One cup urban fantasy, two table spoon magical realism, two cups fables and one pinch of fairy-tales are not my ideal mixing for delicious book. The world building was confusing and I did everything I could but I couldn’t relate with the characters. They’re not layered, well-developed ones and I didn’t understand their struggles, motives, challenges, too. I didn’t feel for them so if there is no character or a great story to hold on to, I have no reason to continue!
So I did everything to get into the world that has been created by the author, losing myself with fairy-tale universe but it actually didn’t work for me!
I was so excited to consume this at one bite but it destroyed my teeth so unfortunately I needed to feed myself with another book to fight with my hangerness.
Special thanks to NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS Fire for sharing this Arc Copy in exchange my honest review! I wish I could like it more. I tried but unfortunately this is not my cup of wine!
This was the first book I'd ever written, shelved way back in 2010 because it wasn't "marketable", according to the feedback that I'd believed then.
Except every book I'd published since wasn't really marketable either. THE GIRL FROM THE WELL wasn't marketable because "horror didn't sell". THE BONE WITCH wasn't written like a Western fantasy and readers "wanted something different but not that different". THE NEVER TILTING WORLD's premise was "too weird".
I have since decided, if you will pardon my Tagalog, na punyeta na lang, so here it is, anyway. I am tired and I too would like to sleep for a dozen more years, but I am also very proud. I am forever appreciative of the people who have always supported my odd little books, from my publishers to my readers. Hope you like this one.
(edit: this sounds so woefully bitter when I read it again, haha! To better reiterate: I am happy and thankful that the book that gave me so many rejections wayyy back in 2010 because of "why not make the character white instead, I'm not sure readers will relate" syndrome has finally found an amazing publisher without my having to change that.)
A world that combines every single fairytale into one. A large cast of characters. Political intrigue. Filipino culture.
so why oh why did this disappoint?
the summary In a world much like our own, but with a fantastical twist- the Royal States of America are joined by Wonderland, Neverland and Avalon. Their histories are intertwined with our own, creating an interesting political landscape and blend of cultures. Tala is a young girl with a curse of repelling and negating magic. Her family is charged with concealing Prince Alexei of Avalon until he can reclaim his rightful throne. When the Firebird comes to them- Tala, Alex and a host of Bandersnatches set off on a quest to fight the Snow Queen and her evil ICE Agents.
"cease the deception. People who don't look and act like you is what you hate. Every other excuse is only a pretence."
the writing One of my favourite parts of this book, the writing was well done. I marked a few quotes that particularly resonated with me, mostly about filipino culture, political statements and morality.
"Wanna be known far and wide as a great warrior? Slay a dragon! Wanna impress the princess two kingdoms down from yours? Slay a dragon! Wanna impress the two kingdoms down from yours? Slay a dragon! Wanna show you've got better claims to the crown than the despot in power? Slay a flipping dragon! Genocide, all packaged up as feats of bravery."
Additionally, I loved the chapter headers that foreshadowed what would happen in the chapter, but in a non-sensical way that would usually only click once you got to the event. for example Chapter One: In which a kiss does the exact opposite.
the plot For the first few chapters, I really enjoyed it. I liked the characters, the world and just gently being eased into the story. But as soon as the plot started and our characters left for their quest I found myself loosing interest. My eyes began to glaze and skip down the page of their own accord- waiting for the end of the chapter so I could go do something else. I began to get confused about the intricacies of the world and politics (despite the numerous info dumps) By the end, I didn't know what was going on, and couldn't bring myself to care about who even one. It didn't evoke any emotion in me, which really is my best indicator about whether I am invested or not. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the latter.
the world building Alternatively, I could have put this section under the header 'the info dumps' because that seemed to be all the world building was made up of. (okay, maybe that's a little harsh- but I'm bitter) It could have been so good! I loved the little references and cameos of fairytale figures, worlds and how they interacted with one another. For example, 'The Burn' was a huge fight between Peter Pan and Hook in the twelfth century that caused a magical explosion leaving a desert that separated various parts of the kingdom, eventually leading the the destruction of Neverland.
the characters aka the main disappointment of the book. I could have gotten past the info dumps. I could have gotten past not completely understanding. I could have gotten past the pacing. If I liked the characters. When the characters are developed and interesting, it is easier for me to connect with the story. Unfortunately, the majority of them fell flat and were quite one-dimensional. The diversity was amazing! There were people of different genders, sexualities, races- but that felt like their defining characteristic. I found myself getting confused between some of them, which led to me not really caring about what happened.
"If I were a monster, I would have let you drown back in the swamps" "And that's the difference between us. You think one act of kindness, even self-serving, is enough to not make you one."
the verdict overall, this has the potential to be someone's favourite book ever- or their least favourite. I have seen some quite polarising reviews even before this book's release, but if it interests you I would still recommend you give it a go. it is definitely one that will appeal to a specific group of people, with its quirky world and filipino elements. If you end up picking it up, I hope you love it! Unfortunately however, it wasn't quite for me.
Was this the worst book I’ve ever read? No. But it was close. I didn't like this book. Not even a little bit. Let me tell you why.
A few months ago I read Rin Chupeco's The Never Tilting World. It was another book with a beautiful cover and an exciting premise that left me dry and bored while reading. I have since then come to the conclusion that maybe, just maybe, Rin Chupeco's books just aren't for me. Although considering the ratings for this one and The Never Tilting World, they aren't for a lot of people.
I didn't care about the overly dense worldbuilding or any of the extensive infodumps. I didn't care for the large cast of characters or the magic system. I didn't care about anything that happened. I would constantly zone out while reading and had to get myself back into focus. It made the book feel longer than it was like it was never going to finally end.
I was afraid this was going to throw me into a reading slump.
I felt like the book was predictable and yet, all over the place. The characters were one dimensional and bland. The world was needlessly complex and hard to get into. The writing was OK at best.
Overall, I just didn't have a good time reading it. And life is much too short to read books you don't like.
**I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.**
I honestly try not to let other reviews and ratings affect me prior to diving into a book but unfortunately this one was definitely a victim of me doing a whole lot of side-eye as the GR rating went down, down, down in the weeks leading up to release (and, as of writing this review, there's still three weeks to go..). I stayed away from reviews for the most part but I went into this with concerns not only due to the rating but also after seeing a few DNFs pop up in my feed.
Suffice it to say, I understand why this was a struggle for some readers. The worldbuilding, the mythology, the folklore, the history.. it's so much. It's so extra. This is a world where, like, fairytales are on crack. Think of every story, every myth, every legend, everything you've ever heard of or read, throw them into a blender, and top it all with a sprinkling of real-world concerns and politics. That's what this universe is like. There is so much going on just in the every day common knowledge (or not, if you're the MC, who knows almost nothing, Jon Snow), not to mention this big life-changing, world-altering event, of Avalon, a country where magic first began (or something..?) was frozen over by the Snow Queen, killing Avalon's rulers, and sending the prince into exile and hiding. Said prince shows up into the armpit of Arizona, where most of this story takes place, and is now being taken in by Tala, our protagonist's, family, who are all a bunch of famous ex-Avalonian.. militia, or something.
Anyway, eventually they are discovered, the Snow Queen invades a place they once believed she never could, and Tala, the prince, and a ragtag group of teens, find themselves returning to Avalon to break the curse. One of the many curses because, like, everyone has a curse or a doom or a geas and like.. I'm already tired trying to explain this. Because, again, it's a lot. There's a huge cast of characters. Prophecies and secrets abound and there's a lot we, as a reader, are left in the dark about, while other characters seem to prefer to just spout weird prophetic statements without any care to shed light on things, and we bounce from one battle or confrontation to another, all while watching this group form rather predictable connections, despite themselves, and while the Prince acts like an ass.. for no discernible reason.
So, yeah, I have no idea what to do with this. This book was a big floppy trade paperback of an ARC, with tiny tiny writing, and I spent two days slogging through what was, admittedly, a clever and interesting world that I should've really loved reading about, but somehow never quite did, and dealing with a pile of characters who should've been interesting and fun and only ever sometimes managed a little of that.
The upsides? Beyond the creativity and the astounding amount of work it must've taken to put this together and keep it all consistent (seriously, my brain, it hurts), this is heavily steeped in the author's own culture and there is a lot of representation. Also, I might even pick up book two. But that last point is probably less to do with the book and more to do with my stubbornness and curiousity, so. I don't know. I can't recommend. But nor do I think I want to not recommend. There are definitely going to be people who love this but I see just as many, like me, who won't know what to do with it.. or can't even get far enough to bother.
** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
First of all, let me just say that I am at a loss for words after reading this book. As a Filipino, I have accepted the fact that the chance of being represented in books and films are close to none. This book proved me wrong and gave me so much hope. You might look at this as a slight bias on the way I see the totality of the book, but I actually enjoyed reading this one.
I have 2 books of Rin Chupeco on my TBR mountain that I have not read yet, which means that this is my first time to fully experience her work. As much as fantasy is not my go-to genre, I have to say that I loved this one a lot.
But, before we go ahead, let me say this first: I had a slightly difficult time immersing myself with the world building. I don’t know if this is because I do not have the most active imagination and I always struggle to imagine fantasy-related stories. I felt a little lost with all the political system, magic, and history – so I took down some notes to make things much easier.
I should say, though, that finding pieces of the Filipino culture was still a fun easter-egg-hunting-ish experience for me. (If you are like me, though, I still hope that you give this book a chance because you will miss on something amazing!)
One key point of my loving this story is the characters. I love Tala and I cannot believe that we have a strong Filipina heroine like her! I love her family and the other support characters – especially when there is banter (which feels like the author is a master of!). The characters are very endearing and I find myself rooting more and more for them as the story dives much deeper.
The writing style also deserves all the stars! There is something about Rin’s writing that is easy to read, while being genuine and sincere. It is able to bring up various emotions that made me laugh, made me nervous, and tugged at my heartstrings.
A bonus point to like is the quirky chapter titles, which made reading this definitely much more fun!
Overall, this book made me fall for Rin Chupeco and I am now itching to read their other works! I know this book is the first that they have ever written and I am so happy to see how much they have changed and grown in their writing approach. (I am also very happy that this story was given a chance to be shared to the world!)
Wicked As You Wish is wickedly determined to make the readers fall in love with every character on the right side with the determination, magical talents, or humour they bring to the table. A Filipina warrior family must protect the prince who has been assumed long dead by the racist authoritarian government to restore the frozen kingdom which is a source of magic-powering glyphs.
From the fantastical beings like a phoenix or an ice-woman to the group of formidable teenagers who are perfectly capable of saving the day, the idea of a modern setting on magical grounds work greatly to create an urban fantasy. A racially and sexually diverse cast is commendable: the main protagonist is a half-Filipina and belong to a warrior Filipina family, the prince is a gay, the squad has a Chinese non-binary character, a Jewish girl, and all the members of this squad are destined to serve a purpose in the series, according to interesting myths-inspired prophecies.
Several important themes like racist immigration policies, ill-treatment towards refugees, and the Western avarice that deteriorates a culture, are wonderfully explored. Overall, a definitive recommendation for those who wish to see more diversity on the line that connects the real world to a fantasy one.
Wicked As You Wish was a tale of family, friendship and a fight for freedom that was fun and full of creativity. The start of the book was very full on with a lot of information to process but it really is worth sticking with until the end.
It was set in a world similar to ours only there was the Royal States of America and a few extra countries: Wonderland, Avalon and Neverland, not to mention an entirely different history inspired by fairy tales such as Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood and much more, all cleverly incorporated into a magical world. I also loved the representation as there were characters of many different races, genders and sexualities and I especially loved how Filipino culture was so intricately woven throughout the book. All the detailed descriptions of Filipino food made me hungry!
The magic followed a give-and-take system which I thought was really interesting. For example, if you wanted fire power you'd have to endure a tolerance to cold so low that standing in front of a freezer would be too much. However, that could be overcome through spelltech: objects already imbued with magic by someone else.
Tala Warnock was a Makiling, which meant she negated magic of all forms. Her family were charged with protecting Prince Alexei of Avalon, the sole survivor of his royal family, but they ended up going on an eccentric quest to reclaim their homeland and Alexei's rightful throne. Tala's journey was one of understanding herself and her goals. She had to deal with some truths that upended her world, but she always had people around her to support her. That was probably one of the best parts of this book: the tight bonds of family and friendship that held everyone together unconditionally
I found Alex very annoying. I could understand why he was frustrated but I couldn't understand why he continually took it out on the people who were trying to help him. That being said, I did like how his friendship with Tala was portrayed. It was rocky at times but they were always there for each other when it mattered. I loved Tala's family especially her titos and titas and Lola Urduja. In terms of the rest of the characters... there were too many for them all to be well developed and likeable. However, I did like Zoe (how could I not like someone who appreciates skirts with pockets?!) and also Loki but quite a few of the characters were easily forgettable.
I generally quite liked the plot although there were some plot twists near the end that needed more explanation. There were lots of ominous prophecies dotted throughout the book foreshadowing a lot more strife to come in the sequel which I am excited to read as I think it has the potential to be better than the first.
Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
I don't know where to begin, but I swear, a positively glowing review will eventually be available on this little space.
For the time being, all I have to say is: With its beautiful cast of courageous (and occasionally whimsical) Filipino characters and clever fairytale references, Wicked As You Wish is a precious book that means so, so much to me. Please, please pick this one up!
It’s probably more of a 2.5 but I’m rounding it up because of a good ending.
I’d been rejected for this ARC so many times that I thought I would have to wait a long time after the release to get it from the library. But then I got selected for Rin’s street team and got the advance copy and I can’t tell you how ecstatic I was. But after finishing the book, my enthusiasm has dulled a little.
The author has written at length on twitter about what this book means to her and why she wrote it, particularly considering it’s the first one she ever did, so I was very much moved by it all and wanted to read it as soon as I got it in my hands. But I guess sometimes we put too much expectations on our favorite authors and it doesn’t feel good when their books don’t live up to them. This is the 5th book by the author I’m reading and the first ever where I didn’t like the characters or the writing much.
I won’t deny that the themes the author discusses in this one are very important and her frustration with it all comes through very well. Draconian immigration and refugee policies, child separations and abuse, governments and corporations working hand in hand to deceive the common populace and exploiting resources to make profits, racism, homophobia - all of these issues are discussed and challenged and I felt all the emotions that the characters were feeling. But it’s the rest of the story that didn’t really connect with me.
There was really no direction as to where it was going, the characters just seemed to react to whatever was happening to them and didn’t seem to know much else. There were so many of them that I got quite confused for a while until I got used to them but none of them really felt compelling enough. There is a lot (and I mean a lot) of banter between the characters but it completely felt forced which disappointed me a lot. I really live for great banter and dialogue, and I just can’t get over how stilted and out of place most of it felt in this story. The author also tries to incorporate so many fairytales and myths into the narrative that it stopped making sense after a while and I couldn’t be bothered to know what it was leading towards. The last few chapters were action packed and quite cool and the epilogue ends on a very unexpected cliffhanger, so thankfully it ended on a better note than I thought it would.
To conclude, I don’t wanna diss on the book too much because it’s my favorite author but it wasn’t what I thought it would be. There are a lot of important themes discussed and the story has a lot of fairytales from around the world integrated, so if that fascinates you, maybe you should check it out. If you are fans of the author’s Bone Witch trilogy and are looking for something like that, then this is not it. The last line is a great hook to make me interested in the sequel, but it’s not gonna make any of my anticipated lists like this one did, and I still haven’t made up my mind if I wanna continue.
You know how when you start a new job and they sit you down and force you to watch a cheesy, outdated orientation video that is equal parts corporate propaganda, exposition spouting, and a whole lotta cringe? That's kinda what this whole book felt like.
There is not much I have to say about this. It was a blend of modern times and mythical folklore but it took the worst parts of both. The interpretation of nostalgic stories like Snow White and Robin Hood felt juvenile, overly animated, and ultimately tacky, but the nonstop political and socioeconomic exposition, page upon page upon page of extraneous detail into the history of this made up world just sucked all the life out of the story. It kind of went like this:
"Hey, Tala, can you pass the bread?"
"Sure, Ken, but did you know, that when the Snow Witch froze over the lands in the 1500's, Avalon's bread stock price blah blah blah" for PAGES.
It kind of felt like this was a mandatory read for schoolchildren of Avalon's social studies 101 class. Like all of the characters were in on it and were subtly trying to get us to learn things without us realizing. Like they were all trying to show off how much they knew about history to the reader. Like a cast full of Hermione Grangers trying to force a whole political narrative down our throats and one-upping eachother in 400 pages.
Well, it still didn't help. I don't feel like I understood any of it. Up until like the 60% mark, I barely understood where the characters were and what the objective was. Because the dialogue was just so bulky and laden with superfluous exposition there was barely room for characterization or scenery setup. It made it all super sluggish.
Overall, not a satisfying read.
Thank you to netgalley for a digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
this was one of the most entertaining books I've read in a very long time! it kept me on the edge of my seat, made me fall in love with its characters, gasp in shock several times, laugh a lot, and most of all it fascinated me. I understand why it might not be for everybody, the magic system can be confusing at first, but it worked so well for me! the very end of the book got me so shocked, I cannot wait to read the second book! (4.5)
i don't have enough words as to how happy i am that this book features so much about the filipino culture. MY FAVORITE PINOY FOODS. VIDEOKE. EATING WITH YOUR HANDS. we love to see the representation.
HONORED TO BE PART OF THE PH CHAPTER OF THE ORDER OF THE BANDERSNATCH TOO. (pre-order this book!!!)
i just didn't give this book five stars because i think there was a lot of confusing parts in the story. there were just too many things to grasp like the modern fantasy world, the politics and the magic system, and there was not enough time to explain everything as thoroughly as i would have liked. some of the characters also felt a bit flat to me although i enjoyed some of the banter in this book (i do love tala and the katipuneros unconditionally though). not to mention that i found alex annoying with all his ungrateful jabs at the people who are trying to help his cause. nevertheless, i would love to read wicked as you wish again to clear some of the fog inside my brain because it really is a promising story with all its allusions to fairy tales and real life parallels.
This is a difficult one to review. On one hand I liked it. It's a fast paced teen fantasy with an (actually) tolerable romance, diverse group of characters (including a non-binary one!), and a rich world to build the story around. Yet, on the other hand, the use of existing stories, characters and worlds was really disappointing. I might read the second book in this series, maybe, if I find myself caught up in the hype or am intrigued by its blurb; but honestly I could easily see skipping over it entirely.
Use of Existing Characters and Settings The first thing that absolutely shocked me was that this is a fantasy world that is not 100% unique. Nowhere on the blurb or in the promotions for this book do I recall ever reading that it has Camelot, Wonderland, Neverland, Russian history, mythology and so many more known worlds, stories and characters mashed together onto Earth. This really threw me off when I started reading and I cannot figure out why it wasn't marketed as what it is. I was disappointed by this realization as the one element of Rin Chupeco's The Bone Witch I really enjoyed was her unique world building. And while this world is still odd and different; it's not quite the same as starting from scratch. For example; I immediately do not trust Loki, Cheshire Cat, and others because of how untrustworthy they are in their original stories. And I wanted to meet Rasputin sooo bad; but now suspect that the Russian history piece used isn't going to result in a bad guy like I had hoped. Additionally I am, personally, over Camelot and Arthur stories. Have been for years. I read far too many as a teen in the 1990's and they just keep multiplying. Every second teen fantasy book I pick-up seemingly has a Camelot connection. I don't care to invest anymore time in Arthur's immoral world. On the other hand I'm usually read for Alice stories and Loki is a beloved super villain (hero?) of mine. So it's really down to personal preference. Either way I think the marketing is misleading on this series and should reflect that it is not an all new fantasy world.
Too Much Prophecy Has no one learned that too much prophecy is bad? Between LOTR, Sword of Truth, Wheel of Time, and dozens upon dozens of books published this century it should be well known that having too much prophecy is a poor narrative choice. It confuses readers, makes the story seem predestined (which of course it is but why would you want to ruin that ride for the reader), and rarely makes the author look smart by twisting the words around. We all know prophecy is never what it seems to be so don't pretend it might be. This is a used up tactic in my mind. If you are going to use prophecy then have one prophecy for the whole world or future. Definitely don't have a prophecy for each individual character in your core party. Not only can I not keep track of it all but why does every character need a prophecy or is even worthy of one? Yes there are lots of Seers in this story world and perhaps Chupeco wants to show that she has an end in sight (a big complaint of fantasy fans, including myself, are the never-ending series) but a prophecy per character is just too much.
Overall While it's clear that Rin Chupeco has learned a lot about writing since her Bone Witch trilogy; I do think she still has a ways to go before being able to contend with Brigid Kemmerer, Sara J. Mass, and others in this genre. In a very diluted fantasy teen genre it's important to stand-out. Unfortunately re-tellings are so over done now and Chupeco would be much better served to start a new series that is wholly unique. Irregardless of my personal thoughts, I think this is a decent enough start to a series that if you are intrigued at all then pick it up. A good library choice so you can see if you like it enough to really purchase it. I'm sure there will be people that will adore this take on melding fantasy worlds together into our own. The politics, characters, setting, narrative, story, etc. are all good enough that I wouldn't judge anyone for loving this. For me it was just alright; a 3.5 star read that I rounded up to 4 as I did enjoy reading almost every time I picked the book up.
Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
"'Just because you've never been to the Philippines doesn't mean that their rivers don't course through your blood. It doesn't mean their rivers don't course through your blood. It doesn't mean you don't have their mountains in your eyes. It's not where we are, it's who we are. You'll always be both a Makiling and a Warnock, and always a Filipina. Never forget that.'"
4.5 Stars. Wicked as You Wish is an entirely different beast than Rin Chupeco’s previous work, but still contains the hallmarks of her masterful writing. Prior to this read, I had attempted to start this book so many times that I've lost track. The first time I attempted to read this, I got 100 pages in and put it down because I realized I wasn't in the mood for it. This then led to this intense trepidation in regards to reading this. Turns out, I really didn't need to worry because Chupeco managed to win me over once again. While a departure from the dark fantasy of The Bone Witch, this book manages to highlight the best parts of Chupeco's storytelling: unique, superb worldbuilding, a gorgeous aesthetic, and a lovable cast of diverse characters that will only continue to endear themselves to the readers as the series goes on.
Let's start with the strongest part of this book: the worldbuilding. For those of you who don't know, this book's setting is essentially the current day world but with an alternate-history twist. In this world, fairy-tales are real and are actually part of history. The United States becomes the Royal States of America and other countries such as Beira, Wonderland, and Avalon also exist and have had an impact in history. Right from the very beginning, Chupeco wastes no time in entrancing the reader in this vividly colored world. While there is quite a bit of info-dumping in regards to things like spell-tech, the different categories of each, and the general world politics, I will say that it is fully worth to push past this info dumping for this wondrous story. In addition, the worldbuilding itself is so enchanting. From mentions of fairy tales figures who are actual historical figures in this world like "Ella of the Cinders" and the needle of Sleeping Beauty being an actual weapon, Chupeco effortlessly weaves fairy tales and their stories into this book but also takes care to understand the ramifications, whether magical or socio-economic, of them being real history. It's amazing and I can't gush enough about it.
The aesthetic of this world is also on point. As it goes hand-in-hand with worldbuilding, the aesthetic just... it feeds my soul. This world is somehow all encompassing with so many varying elements yet has a very specific aesthetic: a girl gifted and cursed with the lineage of Maria Makiling and her agimat, a runaway prince with more than a few chips on his shoulder, and a conflict at once fairy tale like and incredibly complicated. Speaking of this book's fairy tale like qualities, the prophecies in this book? So unexpected yet so amazing. Seeing this fairy tale like element of prophecies and choices leading to death or something worse in this book worked so well. Chupeco loves to utilize the future and prophecy in her books, and I absolutely live for it.
Now for the cast. In true Rin Chupeco fashion, there's a large cast with lots of potential for growth introduced in this book: in addition to Tala and Alex as our main protagonists, we have the former's parents, the Katipuneros, the latter's protectors, the Bandersnatches (or "Banders."), and of course, the opposing faction consisting of literal ICE agents (WE LOVE A POLITICAL STATEMENT) and the Snow Queen and her minions. Each and every single one of these characters has dimension already, but are also poised for greater development in this series future books. I also love how Chupeco chose to tackle the found family trope but from within a Filipino context and how being Filipino effects that: she writes about both found and biological family. The Banders (Zoe, Cole, Loki, Ken, and West), in particular, are all such interesting characters and if the prophecies are any indication, poised for all interesting storylines. All of the cast is also incredibly diverse, with characters of varying sexual orientations, gender identities, and most if not all of the characters are POC.
Our two main characters are amazing. Tala Warnock as a protagonist is one of my new faves: she's written as a hesitant heroine, willing to do what needs to be done when harm threatens to befall her loved ones, but she ultimately truly wishes to live a life where her friends and family are safe. When at the end, As for dear Alex, I'll be honest: he annoyed me through most of the 2/3 of this book. However, I completely understand his behavior and am very excited to see how he develops as the Prince of Avalon. Also the fact that he's gay as fuck makes me almost pre-disposed to love him so.....
Overall, I would definitely say read this when it comes out early next year. Most, if not all of you, absolutely sleep on Rin Chupeco and her work. She truly is a gift to YA fantasy as a writer and all of you need to read her work! As such, highly recommended.
I enjoyed this book the more I got into it. I felt lost at first, because there are a LOT of details. There is also a lot of name-dropping, like the author tried to put every magical being known to man in her universe history. I still don't know if all of it was necessary in the first book, or if it could have been dispersed throughout the story.
However, when the action kicked in... I was ALL IN! The magical obstacles that the group have to overcome are delightful and imaginative. I really enjoyed living this quest with them. And the ending is pure dynamite. We can be assured that the second book will be awesome.
Many thanks to Sourcebook Fire for the complimentary e-copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
(I´m not in the mood to write a detailed review, so these are just my thoughts of the book overall)
This book had such an interesting concept, but it was just so confusing. I never really understood, how or what is happening. The world building was confusing too and sometimes it felt like info-dumping. Also, I didn’t really care for any of the characters or their relationships. However, I liked the writing and the pop culture references. Overall, this book was a confusing, but enjoyable mess.
i’m dnfing this (for now, i might pick it up again later) because i am Confused and also sick so i don’t have the energy to push myself through anything right now.
HOWEVER i am still giving this 5 stars to balance out all the 1 star ratings people are giving rin chupeco because they spoke out for themself when mackenzi lee signed other authors’ books (especially poc authors) without asking permission and wicked as you wish was one of these books. i can’t phrase stuff well so idk if that made sense but i’m not feeling well don’t judge. goodbye
Wicked as you Wish by Rin Chupeco is a bridge apart from her past books that I’ve read; it doesn’t carry the same feeling of darkness that The Girl from the Well or The Bone Witch series does but I found it to be just as compelling. Although it took a little time for me to get in to the story, I’m glad I stuck with it.
Prince Alexei of Avalon is new to Arizona in the Royal States of America and is living undercover since the Snow Queen encased his Kingdom in ice. Tala has the ability negate or to break spells and when Avalon’s guardian, the firebird arrives, Tala, Alex, and others are sent to Avalon to fight the evil Snow Queen and her icy minions.
The merging of a variety of folk-lore and fairy-tales hit some of my all-time favorites and incorporated some new. As with all of her books, the world-building is phenomenal and intricate, vivid and imaginative, from the Royal States of America to Avalon.
Ms. Chupeco has brought the magic in the most unlikely of places and a wonderful cast of characters that I quickly fell in love with. The cast is well-layered, diverse, perfectly flawed and I quickly became invested in their stories. If you like high fantasy mixed with folk-lore/fairy-tales and runaway Princes then this is the book for you. I’m looking forward to the next in the series.
A big thank you to Sourcebooks Fire and Rin Chupeco for providing me with Wicked as you Wish in exchange for my honest review.
Thank you Rin Chupeco and Sourcebooks Fire for a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own.
Wicked As You Wish By: Rin Chupeco
REVIEW ☆☆☆☆ First, thank you, Rin, for having me as part of your street team. It was a fun unique experience! #100namesformagic Now, as for Wicked As You Wish, it's also a unique experience. I'll bet you have never read anything quite like this book. It's a serious mish mashup of fairytales and folklore, some familiar and some not, from everywhere. The cast of characters are very diverse in culture, sexual orientation, etc. This cast is also a large one, and it's confusing at times because there are numerous stories overlapping and occurring all on top of each other. Not only is this a fairytale infused world, it also occurs in an alternate world of the United States, but still in Arizona, before moving to other worlds. These characters must work together to fight against a force of evil for something bigger than themselves. This story is harder to read than The Bone Witch was, and the content is totally different with a denser feel. The world of Wicked As You Wish is complicated and complex, but under that is a good story about understanding, unity and acceptance. I hope you give this one a try!
Firstly I want to say that I adore Rin Chupeco and the books that I've read from them in the past. And a part of me didn't want to put a rating on this book because of the recent issue that Chupeco had of people unfairly rating their books after a certain thing on twitter. But ultimately I feel like that would be unfair because I always strive to be the most honest about my feelings on books.
I was really hooked in the first half of this book. I had followed all of the twitter threads Chupeco released prior to this book coming out and so I knew what to expect of the magic and the world and the references. And this book is undeniably fun, in a nonsensical way.
However, I think it ends up all being just too much. This book is pitched as an alternate universe where fairy tales from all over the world exist simultaneously. In addition to fairy tales, famous literary stories, such as Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland, are also true. And I know from following the twitter threads that this book is also full of references and homages to animes that Chupeco loves, Bleach and Fullmetal Alchemist among them. All of these things together just end up being a bit too overwhelming and it leaves the magic and the characters and the world feeling too muddy. I felt like I was spending too much time trying to connect the dots between all of the interwoven references that I ultimately ended up feeling too removed from the plight of the characters.
I read this book while I was on holiday. I loved Rin Chupeco’s series entitled The Bone Witch and I was looking forward to her dark writing style in this new series and did not find it. I tried to find an anchor in the story and was unable to get in it. I love how she described the Filipino way of life of her main character; that made me smile. I have a few friends from the Philippines and recognised their sense of community in the story. Unfortunately, the story and the characters sounded recycled from other books and fairy tales, and they did not bring anything new.
I am disappointed in this first book in the series and will most likely not continue reading it. However, don’t let this honest review distract you from reading this author. I recommend her other series The Bone Witch which is one of my favourites.