Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Wicked As You Wish (A Hundred Names for Magic #1)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release date: 03 March 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
An unforgettable alternative history fairytale series from the author of The Bone Witch trilogy about found family, modern day magic, and finding the place you belong.
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.
Despite an unsettling resemblance to Japanese revenants, Rin always maintains her sense of hummus. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. Dances like the neighbors are watching. She is represented by Rebecca Podos of the Helen Rees Agency. She is also fond of speaking in the third person, and may as well finish this short bio in this manner. While she does not always get to check her Goodreads page, she does answer questions posed to her here as promptly as she is able to.
I’ve never read anything by Chupeco before so I didn’t know what to expect but it wasn’t what I got–and I don’t mean that in a bad way! I’ve been thinking if I’ve ever read anything like this before and I can’t say that I have. It definitely gets points for uniqueness! I’ll be honest and say that I did have a few issues with the writing and world building but it wasn’t enough to deter my genuine enjoyment of the story.
I think the writing is where I faced the most difficulties. There was something about Chupeco’s writing style that made it hard for me to focus and so it took time for me to warm up to the story. There is a lot happening in this book and especially early on it felt a little bit all over the place. It required all of my focus, although that’s not necessarily a bad thing and I didn’t mind once I got used to it, but that also made for a much slower reading pace! I loved the humour in the writing though and some of the quirky comments really had me laughing out loud. The chapter titles were also so spot on and got me excited for what was to come in each chapter!
This book is set in our modern day but with a twist. There’s magic but also the fairytales and folklore that many know and love exist in this alternate history. I mean, Wonderland, Alice and the Cheshire Cat, King Arthur and the sword in the stone, Robin Hood and the evil Snow Queen are all real, but they have character or plot twists that are slightly different to the stories we know. That said, the world building was quite confusing and there was a lot of information dumping at the start. Even now I’m still not 100% sure how exactly spelltech and glyphs work? But I loved what my imagination was able to conjure up based on the descriptions. I don’t know if the final version will have a map but I think it’d be so helpful to have one particularly for Avalon, Wonderland and Beira! Also interesting was how Chupeco touched upon the current political climate. There was little hold back when talking about the treatment of immigrants, especially by the ICE agents, and of people’s hatred for those who are different from them (whether it’s because of skin colour or sexual orientation). The ‘shade’ toward ICE and the Royal States’ policies was real and I was sitting there snapping my fingers as I read through those parts! 🤣
There are a lot of characters in this book and I loved them all (mostly). I really liked Tala’s parents, Lola Urduja and the Katipuneros, but I loved the Bandersnatches most. Their witty and cheeky banter was hilarious and I got strong found family vibes from this group of friends, including Tala, Cole and Nya. We learn little bits and pieces about them but there’s still so much complexity in their characters to explore. I’m particularly interested in learning more about Kay (Tala’s da) and Cole Nottingham! Also, although romance plays a very minor role in this, there are some ships I can see floating and I hope they set sail soon in the coming books!
If there’s one character that really disappointed me, it was Alex, the last Prince of Avalon. Anytime he would open his mouth I just wanted to shove a sock in it because this dude was just hella rude. I get he has all this pressure on him to save his people and free his country that has been encased in ice for the last 12 years, but his attitude was so unnecessary! Even after the Bandersnatches rescued him several times this bro still had to keep being rude AF. No redeeming anything at the end either, so I guess his character is consistent, but I was not here for it.
Overall, although I had some issues with the world building and writing, I ended up genuinely enjoying this unique book! That epilogue had my jaw dropping so hard and it threw me off completely–like WHAT?! After an ending like that I can’t wait to see what happens next and I can’t wait to read more of Chupeco’s books!
I loved all of these quotes so much! Many of them illustrate how amusing I found the characters, especially the firebird! It was a cheeky little thing. I just realised that both of the more serious quotes were by Tala’s mum, Lumina and I found them very touching!
Have you read Wicked As You Wish or is it on your TBR?