Wicked as You Wish, Rin Chupeco – Book Review

Hello Humans! Today I’m reviewing a book that came out at the start of March but that I’m just getting round to writing up – fifty points from Judithdoor.

Wicked as You Wish is the first book in the A Hundred Names for Magic series (it may be a duology) and, having never read any of Chupeco’s books before I was pretty interested!

Wicked as you Wish

Goodreads Summary:

Many years ago, the magical Kingdom of Avalon was left desolate and encased in ice when the evil Snow Queen waged war on the powerful country. 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 in 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. Tala doesn’t mind—she has secrets of her own. Namely, that she’s a spellbreaker, someone who negates magic.
Then hope for their abandoned homeland reignites when a famous creature of legend, and Avalon’s most powerful weapon, the Firebird, appears for the first time in decades. Alex and Tala 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.

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I have to start by saying most of what I’ll say below is going to be a matter of personal preference (as is almost always the case). I don’t want to make it seem as though no one will enjoy this book – I think a lot of people really will. My biggest takeaway was that this is a deeply creative and interesting world – but the writing just wasn’t for me. So take everything with a hefty pinch of ‘this is just Judith’s opinion’.

I found it exceedingly difficult to get into this book. I meant to read it in February and ended up relegating it to the March TBR because it was just so difficult. One of the biggest reasons for that was that I felt like it took the book a while to settle into what it was going to be. It throws a whole lot of different stories at you from Arthurian myth to Alice in Wonderland and beyond and it takes someone with a tighter focus than me to keep up. I think it’s in part because I couldn’t see why these things were being mixed up, was this a world where stories (from another world) all mixed together or was this a take on the real world that happened to include characters from the stories? I don’t think I could tell you.

Which is so frustrating because there were some great ideas within the jumble. I liked the idea of the banders being young heroes who fight creatures and basically kick butt – but I found there wasn’t a focus on them – at least in the way I read the book – and I wanted more about how they all got together, how they were selected and so forth.

I couldn’t really relate to the main character Tala, though I think she will probably be an amazing role model for a different reader. I found I got frustrated by a perceived fixation on romance and a particular boy when there were so many other things going on (a problem I often have with YA…). I liked some of the side characters but since this book has so much focus on Tala I wasn’t sold.

As I say, I think this book has a lot of really creative worldbuilding and ideas, and I wish I had enjoyed it. Personally, the ideas and writing were just a bit too jumbled for my liking and I don’t think it was for me. I have heard good things about some of this author’s other books so I’ll maybe check those out and see if they are a better fit!

My rating: 2/5 stars

I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own!

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What say you? Did you love this? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

J

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