Cover Image: Wicked As You Wish

Wicked As You Wish

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

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.
Was this review helpful?
I was excited for this one but it was terribly slow. There was way too much world building and not a lot of anything else.
Was this review helpful?
I really love Rin Chupeco writing and I cannot wait to read more. This book was really the thing I needed to come out of a reading slump
Was this review helpful?
Thank you so much to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me an ARC of this book! This does not, in any way, affect my thoughts about the book.

I read this for Wikathon, my first time joining the readathon too, and I'm so so glad I read this first. It was such a dazzling, magical, and engrossing book!

I loved how Rin Chupeco was able to make fairytales and modern use of magic work while equipping such diverse and nuanced characters.

I haven't read many books with the found family trope, but it was so well executed here! As a Filipino reader who also loves fairytales and mythology, it gave me much delight to read the different references and how they interlaced so delicately into one fantastic adventure.

You, yes you, you NEED to read this.
Was this review helpful?
This is a very ambitious book. An ambitious book that I really wanted to love cause I love fairy tales and magic and a story are merged with our world. 

But it was incredibly heavy with information, a lot of which seemed to take away from the main plot of the narrative. To the point where I put it down before finishing because I felt as though the lore of the novel became more relevant than a tangible plot. 

I salute the author for attempting it, but the editing needed to be a bit more forceful and structured.
Was this review helpful?
Wicked as You Wish follows a young half-Filipina, Tala, as our main character and shows the strength of her warrior family that escaped the magical lost kingdom (and kept it from her). The book starts off fairly slow until we figure out what the goal is for our character, but once we start to find out more about Avalon it gets more exciting and engaging. 

The world building is based a lot in the real world, with “Royal States of America” the place we start off in. However, it also incorporates fantasy elements by using world building from a variety of fairy tales including Arthurian Legends, Alice in Wonderland and the Snow Queen. These have been magically woven together to create the fictional lands and kingdoms that draw our characters together. 

There was also just enough information of the stories that you can understand them without knowing the original tales, although sometimes at the detriment of the flow of the story as the history is explored in larger paragraphs of text. It does remind me slightly of Once Upon A Time, with the amount of stories and references included. 

Wicked as You Wish has a fantastic cast of characters, with representation for gay, non-binary, Jewish and Chinese people. Plus this diversity is closely woven into these characters to give them depth and backstory alongside their story arcs as they work towards their goal. I particularly liked the representation of Loki, who is non-binary and refered to as they/them throughout the entire book from their introduction, without the need to point it out more explicitly or repeatedly. 

A big issue I had whilst reading the book was that I kept getting more caught up in the fairytale backgrounds, like what happened to Neverland and what other stories from Avalon are there? The world building and backstories kept me intrigued maybe more than our plot with Tala, which I don’t think is awful (I still enjoyed the book!) but I do think some people may not be as invested in the book because of that. 

Rin Chupeco writes with astounding accuracy where you feel like the story has been planned out, then planned again. It means that when things happen like plot twists, they’re not completely out of the blue. I could read this again just to pick out all the little details that Rin has clearly spent so much time on to make sure the book is perfected. 

The book tackles themes around racist immigration policies, refugee mistreatment, and deterioration of cultures on top of the fantasy story. These strong themes alongside the cast of teen characters willing to save the day mirrors the modern world in a way that’s easily understandable for any reader. 

I’ve only read The Bone Witch series by Rin Chupeco before and I would say the tone of Wicked As You Wish is extremely different. I did enjoy both books, but I would recommend you manage your expectations if you’re looking for a book similar to The Bone Witch. 

Positives of Wicked As You Wish
Fun mix of fairytales
Diverse characters
Negatives of Wicked As You Wish
Slow pace and more interesting backstories
Was this review helpful?
This arc was provided by Sourcebooks Fire, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Sometimes you need to read the book at the right moment and Wicked As You Wish is the perfect example.

This was a DNF the first time around but I knew I would even enjoy it, I just needed to read it at the right moment. After finishing The Bone Witch, I was so driven to pick this one up again and it did not disappoint.

Wicked As You Wish is an alternate Earth where there is magic and fairytales aren't tales. They are history, and that is what intrigued me. It's one thing to have a retelling of a fairytale we would read as children, it's another to completely change the meaning of retelling. Here, it's part of the world's history where Avalon is in War with the Snow Queen. And Wonderland exists!

Though it's a plot-driven story, the characters immediately capture your attention. It's a wide cast of people and they are so unique, with their own stories.

I had a wonderful time visiting this world that Chupeco created and I'm excited to pick up the sequel. I read this mostly as an audiobook and I highly recommend the experience!
Was this review helpful?
It takes me a month! At first im crawling with the book.. maybe this is not for me.. been read 2 books in the middle of reading this, ive finish them and said ‘try Tala another chance’ i dont want to DNF a book.. and so after some sitting, scrolling, reading and scrolling, then whoosh! im 75% of the book! And im liking the adventure! Its just growing on me.. and now i finish it, The adventure is a great one, different characters from mythological creatures/characters from folklore in one book is amazing and the story, its an interesting one. The phasing could be slow, compare to Ms. Rin’s other work. But that thing didnt make me less excited toi want more.. and the second book will be next year.. is it?!
Was this review helpful?
This book is right on so many levels. It’s a brilliant edition to the growing number of brilliant LGBTQ books and touches on so many relevant current issues without ever being preachy. It is a major mash up of fairytales, which I love and magical worlds from never land to wonderland. It’s an original, modern and refreshing fantasy romp.
Was this review helpful?
I tried - and failed - to get into this story. I gave it more chances than it deserved but I just could not finish it. I've just got too many other books that are keeping my attention or calling to me to continue on this one. It's just not for me. It's got a lot of good stuff in it, just too many characters all at once, and with no first person, all second person for the narrative, it is hard sometimes for me to remember who is who, and who is our main character.
Was this review helpful?
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. 

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.
Was this review helpful?
Rin Chupeco is an amazingly talented author. Their range is incredible--from horror, space fantasy to this, I'm constantly impressed by their output. I was lucky enough to work on the publicity team for The Never Tilting World so when this title came out, I knew I had to read immediately. What you'll find here is just another example of Rin's tremendous talent and writing. Their stories are some of my favorites and deserve to be read  widely. I'm so looking forward to reading more from Rin and know I'll be impressed with whatever comes next!
Was this review helpful?
So, I love Rin Chupeco and pretty much every damn thing she has ever written. You want horror? Let me emphatically thrust The Girl From the Well at you. Epic fantasy? Here! Have The Bone Witch. Alas this kind of missed the mark for me and that makes me extremely sad because I so very wanted to love this one.

I honestly think it was a lack of ability to connect with the characters and its slow pacing. Our 2 main characters are both kind of ho hum and didn't seem to be deliberately anything personality wise.

There also seemed to be a lack of detail when it came to many of the events of the novel. While I slugged my way through it, I felt a little disappointed as I have come from reading about such vivid and awe inspiring environments. 

Overall, it was an average book for such a spectacular author. Everyone has their off days I guess. Maybe I will read it again some day come back here with a different opinion
Was this review helpful?
There is a lot going on in this book, and a lot that could be truly excellent - but there was something about it that couldn't hold be in it's pages. It might have been the writing, and that fell short for me. I love the premise, I just don't believe this one executed it as it could have.
Was this review helpful?
My Rating- 🌟🌟🌠
Cons- The book was very confusing especially the world building. The book felt like it started from somewhere in the middle of the story. There were tidbits of information regarding the world mentioned as the story progressed but that for me made the story even more confusing with the addition of a lot of characters. Prince Alexei & Tala are mentioned as best friends but I couldn't feel their bond as the development of their friendship was abrupt. There were a couple of LGBTQ+ characters as well but I felt like they were very poorly represented.
Pros- It was a fast read. I liked some of the minor characters. The ending was quite interesting & left at an unexpected cliffhanger. Only reason for me to pick up the 2nd book if I do would be to know what happens next.
Was this review helpful?
I didn’t like the style of the writing.  I thought that the story had potential but couldn’t get past the writing.
Was this review helpful?
There is a lot going on in this book. I enjoy the author so I had higher hopes for this one but it was just OK.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I loved The Bone Witch series so much. I had such high hopes for this. Wicked As You Wish is NOT The Bone Witch. 

The magic in this book is too complicated for me right now. I can’t tell if it’s modern, futuristic or something else entirely. I just could not get into it. 

There is probably some promise for representation with the protagonists but I didn’t get far enough into the story to be able to reflect on it fully.
Was this review helpful?
Man I had higher hopes for this one. I love the cover and it does have some promise but honestly just kind of feels unfinished to me. I know it’s supposed to be part of a series but there were so many things that were hinted at but never solved. I would expect at least a couple of things to have solutions by the end. I didn’t really like the characters much, they felt flat to me. And the magic system and world building was slightly confusing. Somehow all of these magical lands fit in the already existing world? A lot of things are mentioned but not fully explained. Disappointed in this one, but I might still pick up the next in the series because the ending did intrigue me. Overall it was an interesting storyline that kept me going.
Was this review helpful?
I desperately wanted to love this but couldn't get invested. 
I will say that the author writes beautifully, and there were a few passages that I found to really resonate with me. 
However, I found that a lot of the story was done in more of an 'info dump' fashion. I didn't feel a connection to the characters, or any emotion to their situations as they felt very one dimensional. There was a ton of emphasis on the differing races, genders, skin tones etc but it felt as though that was their only defining qualities as opposed to having anything deeper. 

With more detailed characters I could have moved past the info dump style of world-building and definitely could have fallen in love with the authors writing, but there was just no emotional investment into the characters.
Was this review helpful?