Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic
Rating: 2 Stars
Release Date: August 17, 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, even in their secluded sea-side town. Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love.
But when their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters will have to unearth the truth behind the quiet lives their mother has built for them. They will discover a wicked curse that haunts their family line—but will they find that the very magic that bonds them together is destined to tear them apart forever?
(First of all, we need to talk about this cover. Isn’t it stunning?? I literally gasped when I first held it in my hands. It will look so, so unbelievably gorgeous in hardcover. I am totally going to go to the bookstore just to look at it when it is released.)
I truly thought I would love this book. (Because do you see that cover?!?) But really, the synopsis sounds amazing. I’m kind of heartbroken that I didn’t end up liking it after all 😥
I did like the writing. Actually, I LOVED Popovic’s writing. It is so full of sensory details, and I loved the vivid way in which she described everything. There were so many details given, and everything seemed so magical because of how gorgeous Popovic’s writing is. Beautiful writing to match a beautiful book. *swoons*
I also loved the setting. Wicked Like a Wildfire is set in Montenegro, a country I know literally nothing about except for the fact it’s right in between Italy and Romania. I think Lana Popovic is from Montenegro (I couuuld be wrong on that) and it was *super* cool to read a book set in such a unique area. For some reason, I missed that this fantasy is set in the modern world, which was disappointing at first since I don’t really like that style of fantasy. I ended up being okay with it, though, and I think people who like Urban Fantasy would enjoy it even more than I did.
Like I said, I thought I would love this book, especially since the writing and setting were so amazing. Except… those were the only things that were amazing, because even beautiful writing can’t save a book in which nothing happens :/.
I read over two hundred pages of this book before giving up (because I was bored as well as some personal reasons) and not a single important thing happens beside what we’re already told in the synopsis!! I kept waiting and waiting and waaaiiting for soooomething to haaaapppen, but no. Nothing happens. Ever. The plot just kind of floats along aimlessly. Slow, gradually developed books are my very favorite, but this was not slow or gradual. It was just…nothing. I do not get bored easily, while reading or otherwise, but I was bored during this book. THat is saying something.
I also couldn’t get a clear sense of the magic system. I still don’t have a clue as to what in the world all the powers can do, and I’ve been thinking about it for three months?!? Maybe it would have been explained more later?? Maybe I just missed any semblance of explanation because I was sooo bored? I don’t even know. It’s so sad though, because this aspect of the book could of been so, so cool. The idea was fantastic. Maybe it was explained at some point and I just somehow missed it, but I definitely think that aspect of the book could have been cleared up a ton.
I also feel like I would have understood the story much better if I hadn’t felt so detached from it. Part of that is from being bored, but I also could not connect with anything: characters, “plot,” storyline. The characters are fairly well developed for an average YA fantasy, but there are a lot of tropes used to accomplish this. The sisters are practically polar opposites, the MC has a bad relationship with her mom that doesn’t appear to have any real reasoning behind it, there is a completely random, very contrived love triangle, etc. I couldn’t get a feel for any of the characters’ personalities, motives, etc. But, I think that wouldn’t have been such an issue if I hadn’t been so bored!! So really, it was an impossible situation: I struggled to enjoy the story because I couldn’t connect to the characters, but I also couldn’t enjoy the characters because I struggled to get into the story.
Even though this book was really disappointing, I think Lana Popovic has a lot of talent, and I will definitely keep an eye out for her future books.
What is a book you thought you’d love, but disappointed you? What makes you decide to DNF a book? What is one book coming out this fall that you are excited for?
Content Guide: The f word is used at least six times in the first two hundred pages. I stopped reading at about that point, so I assume it is used more, but I couldn’t say for sure. The s word is used about as often, and there is some occasional more minor profanity. I could sense some sexual content coming, but again, as I didn’t finish the book I can’t say for sure. Any violence is pretty mild.
**Thank you to the publisher and my local bookstore for providing my with an arc in exchange for an honest review!**