Let me just take a moment to finish squealing over how beautiful that cover is!!!
Title: Wicked Like a Wildfire
Author: Lana Popovic
Type: YA Fantasy; Magical Realism-ish
Length: 400 pages
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books
Pub date: Aug 15th, 2017
Source: I received this book (along with an amazing matching candle) from my August Fairyloot box!
My Rating: ★★★★☆
The short version: While I enjoyed this book, it had a reaaaally slow start, and I can understand why it may not be for everybody.
The long version: I thought Wicked Like a Wildfire was beautiful, and not just for the cover; magic and secrets surround our protagonists, Iris and Malina, whose sisterly relationship seemed incredibly realistic to me. They fought as much as any siblings, but through it all, there is a love and desire to protect each other that only siblings can have.
I thought Iris made a great narrator. She’s passionate about the people in her life, and it just made her emotional struggles all the more real. There is a bit of an abusive situation with her mother, and the weird dynamic of wanting her mother’s affection while still wanting to hold her at a distance was heartbreaking. But, in the end, her desire to protect the people she cares about wins out over everything else.
“What belongs to others, we do not want; what is ours, we will never surrender.”
Even beyond the characters, I enjoyed the way this book was written.The poetic prose is almost as magical as “the gleam,” the magic these two sisters can wield to manipulate the beauty around and in them.The way Popovic (and Iris) wields language compliments the way the girls use their magic: it’s all for the sake of creating and maintaining beauty, but even that beauty can be a weapon.
“What would I have told him, anyway?…Beware of perfumes that smell like commands?“
Seriously, you could probably take lines from this book and make a collection of poetry with those alone. Suffice it to say I enjoyed it a lot, because of it’s poetic-ness (?), but I can also understand why a lot of people dislike it so much.
This story does take a looooong time to get started. I didn’t mind too much, because I enjoyed watching the characters get more established, and, in case I wasn’t clear before, I sometimes enjoy long, lyrical descriptions. But, even for me, the beginning seemed a little long.
The big catalyst happens in Chapter 7, which, in and of itself, is a pretty long time to wait for anything to happen. So, when it did, I thought, “Alright, here we go! Time to strap in and get ready for some adventure!” Except that adventure didn’t really start until about half-way through the book.
And, unfortunately, when they finally got underway, I saw one of the issues I had with the book. It was like they forgot technology existed until halfway through. Both sisters had the same sketchy dream about the same sketchy woman, and they go on this days-long scavenger hunt to try to find out more about her. Until one of their friends says her mother’s songs mentioned someone by the same name, and she could show them the songs if they wanted. So they all gather in a cafe to see these songs, and while the friend is describing them, Malina says, “Oh yeah, that’s what it says on my phone, too!” And I was just like, ???? If you had the technology, why wouldn’t you have started with Google, and saved both yourselves and the readers a lot of time?
After that, though, the story really picked up and was pretty great all the way up to the end. I loved learning more about the girls’ magic and how they could wield it. I also enjoyed learning more about the magic of the other witches. I thought the relationships between the sisters and their friends developed and unfolded very naturally.
“And what do I seem like?”
“Like wildfire. Like beauty that dies as soon as it’s curbed.”
I rested my temple against his. “Don’t curb me, and you can watch as long as you want.”
Unfortunately, the ending brought its own issues. The last chapter made the rest of the book feel a little like a prequel. We heard three different versions of what could happen and what might be motivating a certain character’s actions, and all of them turn out to be false! I just don’t understand why no one told the truth?! There was plenty of opportunity, and it could have made things so much simpler.
The last few lines set up the next book nicely, but because of all the lies, it seemed to come out of nowhere, and felt a little out of place with what had been going on in the book up to that point. It definitely made me interested in reading the next book, but it also felt like a forced shock factor.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book. I can definitely understand why some people didn’t, but personally, I can’t wait for Book 2!
Thanks for reading!
What’s the most beautiful book cover you own? Have you read this book yet? If you have, what did you think? If not, do you plan to? Let me know in the comments below!