Title: Wicked Like a Wildfire
Author: Lana Popović
Release Date: August 15, 2017
“Your beauty is a force, you know, a power all its own. It can be both sword and shield for you, and win you anything you want.”
I love magical realism! Having read two really fantastic ones in the past month has reignited by love for this magically captivating genre. Wicked Like a Wildfire is an enchanting story of beauty, power, family, and love. Iris and Malina’s family has a history of manipulating or “gleaming” beauty into magical works of art. But their mother is adamant that they keep their abilities a secret, and above all, never fall in love. But when their mother is attacked, Iris and Malina must uncover family secrets that can change their lives forever.
Things I Liked
I absolutely loved the descriptive writing in the story. Each room, setting, food, smell, and perfume were all vividly described. It really highlighted the beauty in their world, and their appreciation of it. I thought it worked perfectly with their magic.
I loved the magic and powers displayed in the story. They were so incredibly unique. I loved that the powers were related to beauty and beauty manipulations through the senses. It was so cool and created fantastic visuals for me. And I really love the family history we get in the last third of the book – it helped create a fuller world.
I really like the different representations we got in the story. Iris and Malina are both half-Japanese. Luka and Nikoletta, their best friends, are Romany. Malina and Niko are in a wlw relationship. It was great to see some diversity in this magical story.
I actually really loved all of the romantic relationships in the story. They are cute and adorable and so easy to root for. Even though they have been warned to never fall in love, the romances have emotion and history behind them that make them believable.
I wasn’t actually sold on the sibling relationship between Iris and Malina until about the 65% mark, but once we hit there, the entire story elevated for me. You can clearly see the sisterly love between them. They are so devoted to one another and have some fantastic moments, including my favorite scene in the entire book.
“Nothing is ever simple. There was no such thing as the one and only truth, and that too was a freedom in itself.”
“Or maybe that was what it always felt like, knowing you might lose everything when you’d only just discovered all there was to live for. The sheer brilliance of the light against the darkness was almost too much to stand.”
Things I Didn’t Like
I didn’t like Jasmina at all. She was actually a pretty awful mom, who was physically and verbally abusive. Her relationship with Iris was especially combative and tense. I understand the motivations behind her actions, but I still didn’t like them. And I feel like we didn’t get enough time with her for me to really connect with her.
I personally found some of the chapter transitions, especially in the beginning, to be rather abrupt. They felt like they happened mid-scene. But once you hit the 30% mark, it really isn’t an issue anymore. The transitions were just not as seamless as I would have liked.
This book had a slow start for me, but really picked-up around the 65% mark and truly captivated me from then on. I loved the development in Iris and Malina’s relationship, their growth individually and together. The romances, while not a major part, felt emotionally real and I really liked them. I loved the beauty and effervescent zeal the book had. The ending was also FANTASTIC – I got a real Hades and Persephone vibe that sets up the conclusion to this duology to be everything I could ever want.
I received a copy of the book from Katherine Tegen Books in exchange for an honest review.