firebirds and fairytales | wicked as you wish by rin chupeco

by - 6:30 AM

Tala Warnock has little use for magic – as a descendant of Maria Makiling, the legendary Filipina heroine, she negates spells, often by accident. But her family’s old ties to the country of Avalon (frozen, bespelled, and unreachable for almost 12 years) soon finds them guarding its last prince from those who would use his kingdom’s magic for insidious ends.

And with the rise of dangerous spelltech in the Royal States of America; the appearance of the firebird, Avalon’s deadliest weapon, at her doorstep; and the re-emergence of the Snow Queen, powerful but long thought dead, who wants nothing more than to take the firebird's magic for her own – Tala’s life is about to get even more complicated….

978-1492672661 | pages: 432
publication date: March 3, 2020 | source: e-ARC
all the diversity
This story has so much diversity it makes my heart happy. Our main character and her large (and slightly chaotic) Filipino clan has become one of my favorite fictional families ever. There was a touch of nostalgia that came from reading about occasionally overbearing titas and lolas that can kick some serious butt with their canes and fans. I'm honestly such a fan. 

our current struggles in print
With such a diverse cast, comes the topic of displacement and immigration following a major war and that is something incredibly relevant in our time. I appreciated the reality check, but it is kind of scary when the chaos of a fantasy-based novel hits home to our world today. It really makes you take a step back and reflect on how society has compartmentalized every aspect of humanity's differences and how the inability to see past divisions ultimately produce more harm than good.

so many fairytales
This is perhaps one of the few "cons" (to quote Zoe) about this book for me. Don't get me wrong, I loved how Rin Chupeco incorporated so many of our favorite fairytales from Arthur and his Knights to Chinese Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Wonderland all into one book. It just seemed as if there was a need to tie in with as many pop culture references as possible which made the world-building itself difficult to follow at times. There was just so much happening all at once that my brain underwent major sensory overload.

a journey with unlikely heroes
To end my thoughts, we have such a wide cast of characters throughout the novel, but particularly in the Order of the Bandersnatch, the elite group of warriors charged with protecting the prince of Avalon. I loved that each character had their own unique quirks - Kensington's Japanese heritage, Zoe's love for literature, and Loki and their gender accepting philosophies to name a few. Each character has that little something that makes them special and memorable and while I didn't necessarily click with any particular one character, I did feel surrounded by friends at the end of the story.

Huge thank you to Rin Chupeco and Sourcebooks for the opportunity to be part of the Wicked As You Wish street team! I truly had a blast interacting with everyone in preparation for this novel's release!

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