Sitting at my computer reading webnovels, when I realized… I forgot to post my book reviews for the week. Well… Better late than never.
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
Wicked as You Wish by Rin Chupeco
Synopsis From The Book
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.
Fantasy| YA – E |Death, Talk of Mass Murder, Manipulation and Lies | Coming into One’s Own, Identity, Trust, Truth and Lies
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
Alright. Let’s be honest here. I have pretty low belief that I would have picked this book up if it weren’t for the fact that I got it as an ARC from Fairyloot. Something about it doesn’t scream something I’d generally be drawn to. That being said, when I have little to no expectations, that’s when I tend to have the most fun. I am ready for fun.
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
I am screaming. Screaming I tell you. Yes, this book had nothing I would traditionally choose when picking a book but it was EVERYTHING I love when reading a book. Oh man. I know that this book will not be for everyone and I think that’s why I love it? It takes what it is and dives headfirst into it. To that I am in love.
When it said Arizona, I did not think parallel world to ours. When it said Avalon, I did not think the coming together of fairytales. This is a prince redemption story, with some very complicated stories, and if anyone knows the story of the Snow Queen, love heals her curse. Which means, that might be the ultimate path that this book series will take and I am here for it.
The book begins with Alexi and Tala meeting the first time. Alex, as he is called, kissed a boy that was bullying Tala and made him a frog. He tells Tala that he paid a hefty price for some magic and part of the price is making frogs of those he kisses. Alex is the only remaining survivor of a massacre on Avalon, kingdom of magic, and the next king. They become best friends.
Two days before Alexi turns 18 (a year later), Tala gets asked out by a boy she likes to a bonfire, and the Bandersnatch Team of elite guards are coming to protect Alex. One of Alex’s teachers goes off on the manipulation of the RSA (Royal States of America) government, and Alex disappears for his protection. The firebird, sign of the king, appears the day when Alex turns 18, but he is nowhere to be found.
Fighting breaks out and the Snow Queen attacks while the others are searching for Alex, and Tala is out on a date with Ryker, the boy she likes. She uses her anti-magic to flee. After much trouble, Tala finds him trying to get his phone back from some guy who found out that Alex liked boys (the way was Alex had a picture of himself with Tristan, a Bandersnatch and basically royalty of a type for Avalon). The two of them go to where the boy left Alex’s phone and find it, Alex deletes the photos and they fight with an ice maiden.
Alex is taken to flee with the Banders and Tala’s family. They are stopped by ICE, and Ryker reveals himself a minion of the Snow Queen as well as reveals Tala’s dad as a mass murdered, the Scrouge of Byran. They manage to get away, but the Banders are separated from Tala’s family while trying to get into Avalon. On their own, the Banders go through the country.
They find it sleeping and that only a year has passed for those inside Avalon. They meet with a girl named Nya, and are then separated from each other after Alex and Tala get into a fight over how much of a jerk Alex has been. Tala ends up saved by Ryker, who followed them. Alex is with a few of the other Banders, and his curse is revealed to them. Two other Banders, Cole and Zoe, are separated from them.
The groups come together at the capital of Avalon and fight to take back the castle. Tala and Alex meet up and Tala finds that the magic Alex got was the magic to control Maidenkeep, which can kill him. It was not a simple frog curse. Tala then falls through a mirror and faces the Snow Queen, taking the Nameless Sword (one of the three artifacts of the Avalonian kings, see below) and “defeating” her. She then discards the sword.
Tala confront Alex, finding out that he had made the deal for the magic, for three curses that he can not speak about. Additionally he did it to stop the Snow Queen’s magic. Instead of death, he changed it to sleep and accelerated time. Alex is crowned, and we find out that the firebird has been working with the Snow Queen.
What I Liked:
Modern Avalonian world; Beira, the Royal States of America, Avalon, Wonderland (and the Wonderland Wars). The internet and Wikipedia, Spell Tech. California is its own country. There are so many parts of this world that is the same and so much that is different. I like to think of it as a parallel to our earth. It is the same and still so different. I was not sure how I was going to like this at first, but as it continued on I found myself liking it more. A world where magic lore is real history? Count me in.
Magic system; Their magic system comes down to one thing. Glyphs. All magic has a cost, and what that cost is has to be paid in order to get the magic. Magic comes in the form of glyphs, that reveal the power and the cost. The higher the cost the more powerful the magic. I really like this. I also like how they can be passed on, and have to be mastered. I can’t wait to see how this flourishes more.
Makilings and other Magic Families; Spellbreakers is such a great concept, however what is better is the idea of passed on magic through blood. I already love this magic system of prices, but this passed on system is brilliant. Because it uses the costs in a very interesting way, while also allowing for history to be present in the magic and world. It develops the magic system and I like it. And I can’t wait to see it used more.
Prophecies; I’ve listed them below, to look back on because I actually like these prophecies. Prophecies are always a hit or miss for me. Sometimes I can not care less for them. Sometimes I care too much for them. This is going to be one of the ones I care a lot for and can’t wait to see how they unfold. Also Dooms are so interesting (prophecies that explain the large change in someones’s life for better or worse.)
Tala; She was an entertaining character. A bit childish, but she is a child. I can’t wait to see how she grows through out this series. For she has a lot of growth coming for her, and ultimately I think she can help the Snow Queen.
Alex; I have a feeling that Alex is going to becoming the king of Fire and Ice (really. you don’t say. The prophecies didn’t say that at all) How this comes to pass, I am not sure. However I do want him to be happy. He’s been running and lying his whole life. I want him to have stability for real, and for good.
Cheshire; What an interesting guide character. I hope that he has a larger part in the next books.
Bandersnatch; Ken, West, Loki. All of these characters I want more of. I need more of, and I can’t wait to have more of.
Zoe; She’s a cool character. I want to get to know her perspective better for sure.
Tristan; Ohhhhh! Alex liked him! We only get him through talk, so right now I’m worried he is an actual jerk masquerading as a good person. I’m not sure but I do know that he, Alex, and Cole, have to have some sort of backstory with each other. I can’t wait to meet him.
Cole; I am not sure what his exact deal with Alex is, but I am here for it. Also if he and Zoe end up together I’m going to scream. I originally thought he was with Alex, but after the second half of the book I’m pretty sure it is Zoe. If it is, I’m going to be so excited for them, but also at a loss because I don’t want him to have to feel like he is going to be a martyr.
Nya; Rapunzel who is not, but knows more about Alex than anyone else probably knows. She is going to have a large part in the next books, I know it.
Ryker; I wish I got more of him in the beginning to really like him better because his betrayal did not hit too hard. I hope we get more of his perspective too in future books.
Tala’s mother, Lumina and Father, Kay; They are actually good and complicated characters. They are separated from Tala and Alex because of an accident, and out of their own devices. I could accept this loss, and I can’t wait to see them in a different light as Tala does.
Others, Dex Lola Urduja; Every one of the other character in this series was interesting, but I know for certain I need more of these two.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
I read some of the negative reviews, and while their opinions do not sway me, I do wish some of the characters were developed more. However, if this book is going to be a series of many, then I know it will happen over the course of those books.
I think this is one of those books that you will either HATE or LOVE. I don’t think there is much of an in between.
“But nothing would ever be worthwhile if it were easy.” – pg 196
“If you thought I was an asshole at five years old, think of what a fantastic bitch I am now.” – pg 341
Prophecies (for future reference):
Alex Curse for the Maidenkeep Spell (101) : ” In shifting ice a prince you’ll kiss, and the first shall be forgiven; / The sword rises twice from palace stone, and the second shall be forgiven; / Pledge your love to the blackest flag, and the third shall be forgiven; / And then, my dear — and only then, / shall you lift that which was forbidden.”
West’s Prophecy (185) : “Of all who sit at this table, it is your eyes that see clearest, though not even you know the truth of what you carelessly speak. Still as ugly as ever, dear one, but do not fear. All the better for the ugly groom to deserve the pretty bride. But beware of pretty maids hiding in dark village corners. They are not for you.”
Loki’s Prophecy (185-186) : “A tangled web, tangled and tangled and tangled. You shall break a scepter over your knee and throw away a crown. You will deliver a throne into Neverland’s mercy, and your father’s will be proud. A light shines about you Loki. There is more to you than outlander-born. And yet you must not let the stump, stump you far too often, lest the girl is lost.”
Zoe Prophecy (186) : “Close your mouth, young doe. The swamps shall fill it soon enough. Oh, how they shall laugh, my dear; how they shall laugh. To take the shire over the gest, the chaff over the grain; how they shall laugh! But you shall laugh last and laugh long. The dead shall rise for you, little girl. The dead shall rise.”
“Hawks have little taste for deer, as four legs shall outrun two. When you finally seek the comfort you want, it shall be with graves and not with feathers. Run as fast as you can, little doe; you will not run fast enough.”
Ken Prophecy (186) : “Learn to swim, boy.”
Alex Prophecy (186) : “The firebird chooses true. The armies of sky and earth and sea shall answer your call. Such a heavy burden for one so young. A dozen times cursed, and also a dozen times blessed. Your dance with the queen shall be long, my dear, but your turn with her shall come soon enough. There will be a choice, that I can see. A choice made in the castle of brick and ice. One leads to death. The other leads to something much worse.
“A traitor, a traitor, a traitor. Traitors three. The wolves know, oh how the wolves know, of the traitor, the traitor, and the traitor in your midst. The brave little traitor may lose a leg for you, and the fenkings’s daughter may take up arms for you, and the mermaid shall lose her voice. Traitors; one for glory and one for domination and one for love, and only then will you know of the traitor in your midst.”
Cole Prophecy (194) : “But you do care. Sometimes you care too much, and the tragedy is that no one else must know. A long, painful road is before you, wolf king, and you will grieve more than you can ever imagine.”
“You fear the lilacs in their hair, the softness of their smile, the tips of their feet. You will save them from death, I can see, once from frogs and once from fire and once from winter. And they will save you thrice more, once from poison and once from sword and once from madness… I know, too, that eight shall fight at the end of the world. Only seven shall return. You know this, and I know this, and that is why you are here. The paths are long, but at its end, you will choose to die so she will not. That is what you believe. The frogs, for instance. Ugly detestable creatures. They take what they want. Do not let them take what you want.”
“A traitor; a traitor, hiding. The wolves know the traitor. Do you?”
Tala’s Prophecy (195) : “One hundred of us, dead and dying. When the last one dies, the dice is cast… The keep shall burn before it can rise. You and His Majesty both stand at the center of the maelstorm. Two paths lie in your way, as his does. Life in one, death in the other. But I cannot see so far ahead as to tell which path is which… Trust in the firebirds, young Makiling, even against all evidence. Whatever they say and whatever they do, you must trust firebirds. Without them, all will have been for naught, and winter shall remain. You have fire in you, young Makiling, the hardest to master. But nothing would ever be worthwhile if it were easy.”