Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco
It’s your girl Linz and boy do I have a review. Just finished a contemporary alt-history fantasy with magic and fates and quests and also Filipinos and I have some thoughts.
Thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the opportunity to read and review! This book comes out March 3, 2020. You can preorder on Amazon or visit your local independent bookseller!
What I drank: Our local brewery tapped into their target suburban demographic and started making spiked seltzer #basicbitch
What it’s about (from Amazon): 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.
My thoughts: Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. Where do i beign.
i hate writig this bc diverse authors and asian authors and we need to build up our community not put it down, but fuck i did not like thjis book. if i didn’t ned to review this gor netgalley i don’t know if i would have finished it.
so basically theres a teen royal figure in hiding bc his family got murdered adn the kingdom got taken over by a enemy kingdom. it’s all very romanov. he moves to arizona to be protexted by a group of magic wielding badass filipino warriors and he befreinds the teen girl, Tala. he gets tracked down by the enemy, and a group of loyalists to his family show up to help him and get him back to reclaim his country. so a cool divsere quest story, no?
TEHRE IS SO. MUCY. WORLDBUILDING. AND IT IS ALL OVER THE PLACE. like- The US is the royal states of maerica. After the revolution, we broke off but decided to start a new monarchy instead of a democracy, which doesn’t really make sense bc that wasnot eally the point ofthe revoltuion? and then it seems history went along pretty much the same way though?
- tehre is a magic kingdom of Avalon that may or may not exist on another plane or in another realm? unclear. but it’s definitely supposed to be camelot-y\
- And then let’s throw in Beria, another kingdom. again, WHER is it?
- And then WONDERLAND Theres literally just too much world for the worldbuilding. Then layer on a whole new historical timelien, And then add a magic system and law maing process. It’s oh my god it’s just too mcuh
And then there are just a billion fucking cahracters
- Tala (mc) comes from a cursed family line, where their magic ability is to cancel out otehrs magic. which honestly is pretty cool. she’s also half scottish and half filipino and that speaks to me
- there’s her filipino family squad who are all badass warriors. great
- then tehre are royal figureheads. okayyy.- then a black ops squad who’s meant to protesxt one of the royal figurehead, and there’s SO many of them
- enter all sorts of villians
- also tala is in high school so lets throw in a bunch of random fellow sctudents- so many references to fairytale cahacters taht are real historical figures in this timeline, for very little payoff
Its just, it’s too mcuh and i’m exhausted by it all.
UPDATE: i just read on godreads this was chupeco’s first book and it got shelved back in the day by her publisher bc it wasn’t “marketable.” which explains a lot. i do’nt love her bone witch books but they were definitely a tighter story and cleaner writing tha n this book.
but like that bein said, where yuour editor at to pull this book together? because at thee nd of teh day, the heart of this book si GOOD. it’s a story i would love and champion. there’s great appropriate divsere representation, theres beautfil coming of age storyleins, theres some great debate on fate vs choice. But its such a struggle to get to any of that because you ahve to battle through everything above.
If it were me, i’d gut the whoe alt-history US, make a country that’s modern but call ti sometthing diff so you dont’ have to address how things happened diff and why. maybe wonderland is plotted to work better in book 2, but you could really just gut that too and make any wodnerland character into something else. and like, sign nsoepinch, the filipno charcaters seemed to only be filipino to have filipinos. why not use some of that mythology instead of relying on so mcuh euro-centric fantasy and fairytales?
What I gave it: 2.5/5 stars
What I’d pair it with: A smooth pinot noir to warm your heart and get past the worldbuilding