ARC Review: Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May

ARC Review: Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca MayWild and Wicked Things by Francesca May

Published by Redhook on March 25 2022
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 464

In the aftermath of World War I, a naive woman is swept into a glittering world filled with dark magic, romance, and murder in this lush and decadent debut.

On Crow Island, people whisper, real magic lurks just below the surface. 

Neither real magic nor faux magic interests Annie Mason. Not after it stole her future. She’s only on the island to settle her late father’s estate and, hopefully, reconnect with her long-absent best friend, Beatrice, who fled their dreary lives for a more glamorous one. 

Yet Crow Island is brimming with temptation, and the biggest one may be her enigmatic new neighbor. 

Mysterious and alluring, Emmeline Delacroix is a figure shadowed by rumors of witchcraft. And when Annie witnesses a confrontation between Bea and Emmeline at one of the island's extravagant parties, she is drawn into a glittering, haunted world. A world where the boundaries of wickedness are tested, and the cost of illicit magic might be death.

Thank you so much to Netgalley, the publisher Orion Books, and Nazia Khatun for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I didn’t know much about this book before requesting it but I knew it was sapphic, roaring 20s, with witches. The latter two I love and the first one is an extra. So I didn’t know it was a The Great Gatsby retelling but it’s everywhere. I loved the little details but nothing is an exact copy. Or at least, I can’t remember. I’m glad I’ve read this book instead of the classic (which my friend recommended against).

The characters are well done. The relationship dynamics between Annie, Bea, and Emmeline is interesting to read, especially since all three of them are so different. Annie does feel a little dull at the beginning until she starts to follow her heart. In a world where everyone is expected to conform, it’s sometimes better to not fit in. All of the characters have their own struggles and deal with them in their own fashion.

I loved the large number of mysteries in this book and how slowly the mystery of Bea is revealed. Everything is connected through magic. It reminded me a bit of the 90s/00s witchy movies. Super dark and bordering on horror. Do check content warnings if you need them. All of this increases the pace of the book the longer it goes on and by the last quarter, it’s hard to stop reading. You want to know how it’s going to end. How does it all tie together? Even the small questions prompted at the beginning of the book are answered.

I give Wild and Wicked Things four stars. It’s an incredible story with twists and turns, witchcraft, and powerful relationships. I highly recommend it to people who loved The Great Gatsby, The Diviners, or Practical Magic (1995).

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