Title: Wicked As You Wish
Author: Rin Chupeco
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Series: A Hundred Names for Magic #1
Genre/s and Tags: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Alternative fairy tale retellings, POC characters, Philippine culture/mythology, LGBTQ+ characters
Content Warnings: Violence, racism, mentions of abuse, mentions of genocide
Publication date: March 3, 2020
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….
Wicked As You Wish is one of my most anticipated releases this 2020! With an exciting premise and the promise of vibrant Filipino culture, I was more than ready to dive into this book! Fortunately, I received an ARC from the December 2019 Fairyloot box and I had the chance to read it before the official release.
Wicked As You Wish is an exciting and adventurous book perfect for fans of classic fairy tales and those who hunger for Filipino representation!
My thoughts on Wicked As You Wish
Wicked As You Wish was adventurous and action-packed indeed! The storytelling takes the reader to different events and different places so easily. The writing style and tone was humorous, but also ominous, I can’t help but wonder what lies ahead.
The characters were all interesting, but I feel like I liked them more when they were separated, when they could shine individually. A great part of the book was about Alex, Tala, and the Order of the Bandersnatch travelling together. That was nice and all but I really liked it when they got separated even just for a short amount of time. Because of that, I had the chance to know more about each of the characters, and get a feel of their backstory and their personality. Also, I applaud the author for giving us such complex characters (I’m not going to drop any names in case it’s a bit of a spoiler). But know that there are some pretty fascinating characters that will shock you.
The world-building and the magic system in Wicked As You Wish is rich and intricate. There’s Avalon, a country brimming with magic, and there’s also the fact that fairy tales here are a part of history. It’s exciting and unique and it’s particularly fun seeing alternative sort-of retellings of the various fairy tales. The downside here is, it can get confusing at times. There’s a lot of layers and principles regarding the magic system and one should really pay close attention since it has a lot to do with the plot.
The plot seemed simple at first, but it was actually not an easy journey. I loved how there were a couple of plot twists that I didn’t see coming, and there were also a few that I already thought of. The author also made the plot more mysterious and ominous with the addition of prophecies and premonitions, and I can’t wait to see these unravel. Also, I love how the author inserted certain significant issues into the story—racism, prejudice against refugees, abuse, discrimination against sexuality. They did this, too, in their other book The Never Tilting World and I’m definitely a fan. Also, that cliffhanger at the end wrecked me!
Best thing for me is the Filipino culture that’s so vibrant and present in the book. As a Filipino myself, it was so wonderful to see our culture in these pages. I loved seeing all the Filipino food (beef kaldereta is the best y’all), Filipino profanities (“tangina”, which is sort of the Filipino version of “son of a bitch” gets me every time), the family dynamics (you’ll be surprised to know how chaotic and fun Filipino family gatherings could be), brief mentions of the Philippine history and so much more. I connected to this book on a spiritual level all because of this (and I may or may not have shed a few tears because of it).
Quotes from the book
“Just because you’ve never been to the Philippines 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.”
“I love her because she makes me feel like I deserve something better than I do.”
“She no longer felt helpless, or useless, or irrelevant. That all ceased to matter.
She was powerful. She was strong. She was fire.”
*Note that these quotes were taken from an advance reader’s edition and may differ from the final copy.
Buy Wicked As You Wish
4 stars for this one! I can’t wait for the sequel (please, that cliffhanger is hurting me)!