Book Review: Wicked Like a Wildfire
By: Lana Popovic
Published By: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: August 15, 2017
Page Count: 416
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Young Adult - Fantasy
Iris and Malina are twins with amazing magical gifts, but they live in a small seaside town in Montenegro, where they have to keep their gifts a secret. Their neighbors would likely turn on the magical pair and their mother if their true natures become known. Their mother forces the girls to stop practicing their magic which causes a rift. She also forbids the girls from falling in love as it will make their magic shine brighter.
Iris has never truly forgiven her mother, Jasmina, for stopping the magic and their lessons. The pair are constantly at odds with one another; Malina becomes the peace maker and go between. Life is not as pleasant as it could be for the small family, but things take a turn for the worst when Jasmina is brutally attacked at the family's cafe. She is dead by human standards, but a magical thread keeps her clinging to life. Iris and Malina must find out who attacked their mother, but along the way they will learn about the secrets behind their strange and beautiful gifts.
I was fascinated by the magic structure in this novel. It felt different than the typical witch lore and was described in beautiful vivid detail. As a reader who loves lush description and gorgeous prose, I loved this novel, but readers who prefer a more minimal style may find this a bit difficult to wade through.
Lastly, I loved the setting of this novel. I don't know much about Montenegro, but it is now on my travel wish list. It sounds absolutely beautiful; I can almost imagine magic flourishing in such a location. I loved that the author chose to set her novel in an exotic place (at least by YA standards). I can't recall reading a YA novel set in this part of the world prior to this one.
I will certainly be rereading this one to linger longer.
One Last Gripe: This one is a slow burn in the beginning. There is a lot of setup to explain the magic, setting, and the incident with Jasmina.
Favorite Thing About This Book: I can't stress enough how beautiful the writing is in this one.
First Sentence: My sister and I were born all tangled up together, both tiny enough that our unruly descent just narrowly missed killing our mother.
Favorite Character: Malina
Least Favorite Character: I will let you take a guess after reading to avoid spoiling anything.
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?