Review of Wicked as You Wish

Wicked as You Wish
by Rin Chupeco
High School    Sourcebooks Fire    371 pp.    g
3/20    978-1-4926-7266-1    $17.99

Tala and Alexei are refugees from the magical kingdom of Avalon, living in the troublingly conservative Royal States of America. Alexei, the crown prince of Avalon, can use magic, while Tala has the power to negate it — not that either ability does much good in Arizona. Their peaceful if less-than-thrilling existence is shattered when a fabled firebird shows up, as prophesied, and calls the friends to a mission to save their homeland and defeat the Snow Queen who froze it. Partnering with a high-energy, diverse, and entertaining group of guardian teens known as the Banders, Tala and Alexei face legendary creatures and encounter magic they’ve never seen before. With whimsical chapter titles such as “In Which Carly Rae Jepsen Songs Make Excellent Training Tools” and “In Which Ice Wolves Are a Literal Concept,” there’s enough humor in Chupeco’s writing to imbue even the more convoluted story lines with an element of fun. Best of all, the nuanced representation of different races, genders, and sexualities is presented organically. Each teen gets to remain true to their own complexities, with fully realized personalities. Wildly creative, with myriad references to folklore and fairy tales, this alternate-reality adventure will surely appeal to modern fantasy fans who can keep up with a complex plot that unfolds at a breakneck pace.

From the May/June 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Sarah Berman

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