Published by Sourcebooks Fire on March 3rd 2020
When a hidden prince, a girl with secrets, a ragtag group of unlikely heroes, and a legendary firebird come together…something wicked is going down.
Many years ago, the magical Kingdom of Avalon was left encased in ice when the Snow Queen waged war. 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 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.
A new hope for their abandoned homeland reignites when a famous creature of legend, the Firebird, appears for the first time in decades. Alex and Tala must 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.
I’ll be honest, I read Wicked As You Wish last summer, nearly a year ago. But I couldn’t not write a review, right? I think Rin Chupeco needs more recognition, and this is the first book I’m reviewing of her, The Bone Witch patiently waiting for when I have a little more time.
Still, without bias to the author, the book is an enjoyable read and I finished it in one go. I loved the diverse representation of the characters. Even though the story is mostly set in the US, hardly any of the important characters are white. And Tala’s family is Filipino. I know that the culture of the Philippines is different from Indonesia (heck, the cultural differences are even visible between islands within a country), but it’s still nice to experience more of what it’s like. The family values are about the same. The respect for elders, the expectations of a child following the footsteps of their parents, and the food culture. Everyone is invited for dinner and once you share a meal, you’re part of the family.
This might not have much to do with the story itself, but it’s important to understanding Tala. I think she’s an awesome character, and she stands out as YA fantasy heroine. The other characters are also well-written with their own arcs, struggles, and relationships.
Chupeco’s world is complex and you have to stay present, but it’s so worth it. It’s filled with tiny details that might bring you joy as you notice them or confuse you if you don’t pay enough attention. I know that I’m going to reread this one before the sequel comes out.
I give Wicked As You Wish four stars. A very enjoyable read with great characters and worldbuilding. Because of the complexity of the world and the details, I’d say the story doesn’t stick in my mind as much as others do. And that’s no fault of the book. I’ll happily reread this more than once and rediscover even more than I thought was there. It’s a great and original story while reusing familiar elements of known fairy tales.