Cover Image: Wicked As You Wish

Wicked As You Wish

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Rin Chupeco's latest novel, Wicked As You Wish, is the first in a new series – A Hundred Names for Magic. First, can I just say that I adore the name of the series? I would absolutely dive in to a series with that name, even knowing nothing about it.

What happens when you combine a girl with secrets (including powers), a prince in hiding, a group of secret soldiers, and a firebird? Well, you get Wicked As You Wish, actually. Prince Alexei is the only surviving member of the Royal family of Avalon, which fell years ago.

Now those loyal to the kingdom help keep him safe and hidden away. That includes Tala and her family. Even though they also have secrets that people would hunt them for, should that information get out.

"People who don't look and act like you is what you hate. Every other excuse is only a pretense."

Let me tell you; I was so excited to dive into Wicked As You Wish (see all my reasons above). This raises the question – did it hold up to my expectations? Honestly? It mostly did, yeah! So I can't really complain.

What I loved the most about Wicked As You Wish because it opened the door for having a frank conversation. Many of the subjects discussed in this novel are heavy: police brutality, colonialism, genocide, and so much more. Yet these subjects need to be talked about, especially as they are an active part of so many people's lives.

Using fantasy as a lens for these subjects is brilliant, and I will always appreciate it when I see it. I also appreciate the way Rin Chupeco handled the discussions, so thank you so much for that! Moving onto what I didn't love as much, we have character development. Many of the characters just came off as flat for me. I struggled to care about them, even while feeling so hard for the situations they were in. It was an odd experience, to say the least.

One that I did find jarring enough to keep me from utterly falling in love with the story if we're being honest. Still, I will likely read the rest of the A Hundred Names for Magic series, given a chance!
Was this review helpful?
RIn Chupeco is absolutely one of the best YA authors in the world today. And Wicked As You Wish is no exception. With each word carefully and lovingly crafted, this tale is spun into a wonderful web that is, as always, so fun for the reader.
Was this review helpful?
Rin Chupeco always brings wonderful diversity and rich characters to their books. The stories are so beautifully thought out and well described, haunting and beautiful, and a little ominous. No perfect happy endings here, even in a world that is based on fairy tales. 

There are so many characters, and so much happening. We are plopped down right in the middle of the story and have to get our footing. It took a while, but, soon, I was enjoying the ride. It’s a bit of a chaotic one, with magic, dystopia, fairy tales, alternate dimensions, science fiction, and a little bit of romance, too. I most loved the representation. The book itself was also very well written, consistent even amongst all the goings on, and with beautiful descriptions. I love how steeped in history this book is, and how much weight the author placed on it. It is a bit dense at times, more than a bit. And it was somewhat tiring to come back to, time and again, as I read it. That’s part of what knocks my review down: was how little I enjoyed it, at times. I wanted to enjoy the story all the time because that’s what you’re supposed to do with good stories. And I could tell this was a good story, full of all the stuff I wanted it to be. But it was certainly a slog to get through sometimes. 

I would recommend this book for fans of fairy tales, the real ones, not the sugared versions in popular media today.
Was this review helpful?
There was a lot to love about this book - the Filipino culture (I spent two months in the Philippines pre-covid and all the delicious food descriptions in this book made me ACHE to go back), the gruff Scottish dad with a secret, the diverse and hilarious cast of chaotic teenagers sent on a mission to rescue the Prince. Unfortunately, I felt like there was just too much crammed into this book. All the fairytale references were fun at first but they soon started to feel overwhelming, and for me, the most enjoyable part of the book was right at the beginning, when they were still in the "real world" and trying to cover up their magic. Once they got deeper into their quest, the book sadly lost its appeal for me. Still, there were fun moments, and I loved some of the characters, particularly Alex and West.
Was this review helpful?
There was so much going on in this book that I don't even know where to begin. All I do know is that you HAVE TO READ IT!!!
Was this review helpful?
An interesting retelling of absolutely all the stories!

Seriously, every time I came across a well-known story or some character from my childhood, my heart leapt for joy.

The author does not enter a world where everything has a precise meaning and where each fairy tale character plays an important role.
Was this review helpful?
I just couldn't get into this book. I DNF'd it and I was only on chapter two. There was too much happening and the style just was agreeing with me. I felt it was best to DNF it and move onto the next. Just not for me.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book.
Was this review helpful?
Actual rating: 3.5/5
Wicked As You Wish brings fairy tales to life in the most chaotic way you could imagine: worldwide folklore is real and has shaped the world. I found this fascinating as Chupeco weaves fairy tales into our own familiar history to give us a world that mirrors our own in many ways. One example I found amusing was the USA becoming the Royal States of America, while still maintaining an overzealous border protection policy and a need to be superior technologically as well as magically. Personally, I was sucked in by the geo-political state of this world. While certain aspects and subtleties took some getting used to, Chupeco does their world-building gradually enough that I had a rough idea of how everything worked by the end of the book.

As for the characters, while there’s a lively cast, the story focuses the most on Tala. She’s a firecracker of a character and incredibly impulsive. Her being a teenager doesn’t help things, as her strong emotions raise obstacles in her quest; ones that she spends the book overcoming. I thought her flaws only added to her depth and really how she handled her dilemma regarding her father’s past.

Alex, on the other hand, was a mystery. The first few chapters he’s everything I expected, but once in Avalon he isolates himself from the others more and more. His grief over the state of his kingdom is apparent in most interactions, which are curt at best and explosive at worst. Tala manages to get through owing to their close friendship, but other than that we get few glimpses into his true state of mind for most of the novel.

The rest of the Banders were an interesting and diverse bunch. I enjoyed their interactions, especially how real their history felt when they came into the book as a group. Even Cole added to the story, though his arc was the most predictable. My favourite of the bunch was Loki, whose family backstory I hope to see explored in the sequel. I was delighted to see the LGBTQ+ representation come in the form of a non-binary character. Loki’s identity isn’t the focus of their character, rather something that’s mentioned once and then universally accepted.

As for the adults, it’s obvious they hold a special place for Chupeco. Despite being trained soldiers, they welcome Alex like a son. Their presence infuses a warmth into the story that is largely due to how openly and proudly Filipino they are, and it’s something that is likely to resonate with readers.

My one complaint is that Wicked As You Wish was confusing. There are aspects of the plot that I still have questions about, as well as many on the characters themselves. The worldbuilding was the clearest aspect and even there, it could have been done better.

However, neither of these are enough to detract me from the series! Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco is a refreshing kind of fairy tale retelling, with strong characters and enough intrigue to keep anyone hooked.
Was this review helpful?
*review to be posted on Instagram soon* Thank you to the publishers through Netgalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest review! My apologies for taking so long, school and sickness demanded I have higher priorities for a while.

This book is really fun! My favorite part is the band of adventures aspect. One of my absolute favorite tropes is a ragtag group of diverse people who are equal parts hilarious, cool, skilled, and wondering how the heck they pulled off another victory. My favorite among the group is probably Loki, who reminds me of Legolas in all the best ways, although I also have particular soft spots for Ken and Tala. Every member of the group feels well rounded and developed. I had the hardest time liking Alex, though. I know he has an incredible amount of inner turmoil, but I feel like the book didn't completely resolve him being incredibly rude to the rest of the group by the end. Hopefully we see more of his non-stressed personality in the sequel(s), because I really want to like him as much as everyone else.

(Also I ship Zoe and Cole)

Overall, I think Chupeco did an impressive job combining literally all the fairytale and folklore elements they could find from any culture into one alternate Earth. It was really fun to see how the incredible array of tropes and characters inspired her in big ways, with the snow queen being the main villain, and in little ways, with plenty of originality thrown in. Tala's magical ability literally being "anti-magic" is very creative and I look forward to seeing how her abilities expand throughout the series.

Although the world building is very compelling, the only other major criticism I would make is that you are thrown into this alternate Earth very quickly. It doesn't take long for the action to start happening (and then it never really stops, much to my delight), but the other side of this is that the reader doesn't get much of a setup and I felt like I had to run to keep up with the lore as a result. Some of that can be explained by Tala's ignorance of the wider world she's suddenly exploring, but I feel like some more early exposition was needed. Then, I would have been able to swallow larger concepts like the existence of Avalon, Wonderland, and the Royal States of America in what is a very different version of Earth than what I'm used to.

I could go on and on about various points I really enjoyed, like the large cast of likeable side characters; the rich descriptions that make it so easy to visualize the environment, the detail of enemies, and fight scenes, the carefully achieved balance of having super cool protagonists still act like teenagers, the cliffhanger, the beautiful scenes about Filipino culture (I now consider it a life goal to have a lot of Filipino food), the awesomely chilling villains, and the generally incredibly diverse cast the likes of which we need to see more of in fiction.

Really, you should just read the book.
Was this review helpful?
Rep: Filipino

I usually enjoy books written by Rin Chupeco. But this one was just a hot mess. From the synopsis, there was everything to like. However, reading this book was a mission. The worldbuilding was extremely confusing and there were one too many elements to the story. I never felt like I got a good grasp on any of the characters. It took all the energy I had to focus on the main plot and get to the last page … and I still wouldn’t be able to tell you what happened in the story. I wish I could have enjoyed this book more because the potential and talent are there (along with some awesome representation). Unfortunately, the execution let it down for me, so I have to give it 1 star.
Was this review helpful?
'Wicked As You Wish': 2.5⭐

(Unpaid Review: thank you to @netgalley, @rinchupeco and the publishers for allowing me to read this eArc copy in exchange for a review.)

Well, this was very interesting. The first half of the book was a near dnf for me, it was slow and I felt a bit lost since the author splashed all these details. However, the second half got me more into the story, things were more split into action and I finished that half in a hour tops.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley for the early copy in exchange for an honest review. Sadly, I was unable to finish and left off at 30% of the way through.

Normally I'd try to provide my own summary of the story but I have no idea exactly what it was about. I think there was a prince from Camelot running from the Snow Queen (not Elsa) and the main character could stop magic in its tracks or something? I have no idea. 

I normally like Rin Chupeco's works but this one felt like it came out of left field. Don't get me wrong, it has a REALLY cool idea behind it but the writing is so chaotic and over the place. I didn't really want to try to keep reading and get a headache trying to figure out what the heck was going on with the story and its characters. So I left it here. At least I still enjoyed Rin's Bone Witch series...
Was this review helpful?
I haven’t had a chance to read Rin Chupeco’s other series but the cover really intrigued me and the blurb just confirmed my interest. 

I really enjoyed Chupeco’s world building and the characters. She did a really amazing job with getting them to interact with the each other and the world.
Was this review helpful?
This book was an amazing experience. The characters were so diverse and the story was full of just magical fairytales!! I was amazed that I got to read this book and see what the author had in store for me. This book did not disappoint and I was enraptured in it by the first line. I felt like I was swept away by this beautiful retelling with all the characters like Tala and Cole. I will never regret reading this and again am so excited that I got to read this!!
Was this review helpful?
This fantasy is chock-full of fairy tale and legendary references in terms of history, locales, and powers, but it's also a dystopia, so naturally, the worst parts of our society remain, villainous ICE agents included. In the truly garbage Royal States of America, Tala has inherited her family's curse, making her a Spellbreaker who disrupts magic. Her best friend is the heir-in-hiding for the defeated and iced-over kingdom of Avalon. As his 18th birthday nears, it's time for Alex to take his homeland back.

There's a lot to love in this book, including funny chapter titles a la Rick Riordan. Of many favorites, "in which bad bureaucratic policies have consequences" is a true knockout, and another gem is "in which objects in mirrors are closer than they appear," and "in which the castle wants Tala to be its guest" earns a gold star. I could have literally picked any three random chapter titles, people. They're that entertaining. The pop-culture references are also sublime, from Star Wars to the TARDIS to the power of Grayskull. This provided extra tasty seasoning over a healthy diet of Wonderland, Camelot, and Neverland plot elements.

I also loved the ethnically diverse main cast with a Filipina protagonist at the helm. We are also graced with a gay King Arthur descendant and a non-binary Chinese-Canadian Loki among the main characters. The teenage leads form a promising group with hilarious quirks and a good mix of individual strengths and weaknesses that complement one another as a team.

There were some downsides for me. I felt buried in world-building at the start of this book, and other info dumps still arose later in the story. The front-loaded world-building made for a slow start to the plot and sporadic characterization. While I liked the cast, I don't feel I saw their full range. There was definitely that anticipatory "first book in a series" feeling to suggest that the real action is yet to come. The last part is a matter of personal taste. There's a lot of prophecy in the story from seers to visions to a personal "doom" spoken at birth, and these strands of fate were not always tricky to decipher. It rendered certain events predictable and paused the flow of the story.

For fans of fairy tale retellings, especially the epically chaotic variety that smooshes them all together for maximum effort, this book is for you. Definitely check it out if it sounds like your cup of ya fantasy tea.
Was this review helpful?
DRC provided by Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Representation: Filipino-Scottish protagonist, gay white Slavic secondary character, non-binary Chinese secondary character, Japanese-English secondary character, Filipino tertiary characters, deaf Filipino tertiary character, disabled Filipino tertiary character, white Scottish tertiary character, Black tertiary character.

Content Warning: racism, violence, slurs, homophobia, death, ICE, mentions of colonialism, mentions of slavery, mentions of genocide, mentions of abuse. 

Wicked as You Wish by Rin Chupeco is an intriguing fantasy, contemporary novel set in a world where magic is real and it affected and still influences how the world and its countries operate; about family, prophecies and the decisions one makes.

Tala is a Makiling, a spellbreaker. The curse, created by one of her maternal ancestors, makes her able to negate magic. She lives in Invierno, a city in the Royal States, where magic does not work. That is the reason the last remaining royal of Avalon, Alex, is sent there to hide from the authorities. They become fast-friends and time passes normally until one year later Alex’s arrival.

I was so excited when I got approved for Wicked as You Wish because I wanted to read a book by Rin Chupeco for so long, but I did not have any chance before. And I am happy to say I was right in being very excited because Rin crafted a really alluring magical world in which fairy tales and myths intertwine beautifully with the original lore of the story. The writing flowed so well that I did not even notice the page number and I really loved the stylistic choice to title every chapter starting with “in which”.

Another aspect of the book I really adored was the diversity in the cast. Tala, Cole and Lola Urduja (Lola is not the character’s name, but an honorific used in Filipino culture to address elders and it also means grandmother) were my favourites characters among everyone. As for the rest of Banders, they were all well fleshed-out characters with distinct personalities, but I felt like something was missing, probably because of all the secrets that will be revealed in the next book.

Wicked as You Wish is definitely worth the read and I cannot wait to read the sequel and the rest of Chupeco’s bibliography!
Was this review helpful?
Fairytales and curses meet reality in an electrifying way. Stories from all over come together in this magical version of the US, where Tala and her family must keep more than a few secrets. Like all great fantasy novels, it takes about a chapter or two to get your feet under you but then it just flies.
Was this review helpful?
In a world where magic is real and the kingdoms we know from fairy tales and stories actually exist, the Snow Queen attacked Avalon and froze it. Citizens that managed to escape are refugees in various countries all over the world. Tala Makiling is under the family curse as a spellbreaker and lives in Invierno, Arizona, which has a low magic aura. There, the Avalonian crown prince Alex lived in hiding for a time. When the firebird appears in town, the two are joined by a number of protectors. Prophecies and a possible traitor follow them, but if they can survive then they'll be the stuff of legends.

Originally published in 2020, this is the first book of a series and now there's a new cover for the reprint. Tala and her family are so very much like the Filipino families I grew up around, down to the food and the myriad aunties and uncles. Tala is blindsided by so many new bits of information in the first quarter of the novel but manages to keep going. Her curse neutralizes magic around her, while others have magic weapons and various other curses that carry down their bloodlines. Alex has the pressure of being the crown prince of a frozen kingdom that he must restore, which is daunting for a teenager to face.

Rin Chupeco has amazing worldbuilding in all of her novels, and this one is no different. The main characters are all teens, and there is a good amount of representation: Alex is gay, Loki is nonbinary and has two fathers. Immigration concerns and ICE agents show up in this book, grounding the fantastical elements of the world and the plot. As with any YA novel, teens must save a frozen kingdom, and as annoying as Alex can be at times, he very much feels like a teenager that doesn't know how to handle the responsibilities that he was given. Tala is still learning herself, as are the other Bandersnatch kids; it's going to be fun to see how they all grow into their prophecies and become the adults they're meant to be.
Was this review helpful?
This story merges all fairytales into one to make the ultimate good verses evil story.

We follow the story of Tala and Alex, Tala has the ability to stop magic where Alex is the exiled king of a country currently under ice after being attacked 12 years ago by the snow queen.

We follow our two young hero’s along with the Cheshire cats Bander army as they attempt to defeat the Snow Queen, her shade, ice maiden and ogre army and reclaim the lost country at last. 

There are many twists and turns in the plot that give an enjoyable story. The beginning is very confusing as you try and figure out how all the fairy tales are intertwined but as the story progresses the truth becomes clear.

The ending we think we have is not the ending we get the epilogue changes everything leaving room open for the next books storyline. 

Overall, a good story with Filipino flare and magic galore.
Was this review helpful?
“Wicked As You Wish” is a quick-witted and fleet-footed romp through an alternate Earth in which every folk tale, fairy tale, myth, or legend you can think of is completely true… and it’s just as bizarre and fascinating as you’d expect it to be. Because who knew ICE agents would still be a huge thing in Arizona even when the refugees they’re hunting down are magical ones?

This book is definitely meant for the younger portion of YA readers. I’d even posit that this book would be a great read for middle-schoolers as well. The language is clean, there is no spice, there is a tiny bit of tension, and there is a whole lot about familial love (both biological and found) and friendship. There’s a lot of frenetic action scenes with narrow escapes, fascinating descriptions of different locations and creatures, and a whole lot of good humor. 

If you want to read something bubbly, irreverent, witty, sweet, diverse, whimsical, and get a little bit swept away with the story, then this book with give you that. And it will make you crave Filipino food hardcore. Trust me.
Was this review helpful?