Twins Iris and Malina live in a small village in Montenegro. They help their mother in her little cafe and do what every other teenager does. But Iris and Malina aren’t like every other teenager. They each have a special skill, called a gleam. Iris can create fractals from flowers, while her sister can sing other people’s emotions. Their relatively normal lives are abruptly turned upside down when their mother is attacked and they have to figure out who is responsible and why.
Okay, so this book wasn’t for me. It was so very slow, the story moved at an almost glacial pace. Instead of a moving plot, we got detailed descriptions of every single scent our main character came into contact with. The attack on their mother is mentioned in the synopsis, but only happened 150 pages into the book. So at first you’re just sitting there, reading and waiting for the actual story to begin.
And even after their mother is attacked, it all moved so slowly. Events only started getting interesting to me after 250 pages, which is over halfway through the book. That’s just way too late. I don’t usually give up on a book, but here I actually had to force myself to keep reading.
While I can appreciate the attention to detail, there is such a thing as too much detail. I just couldn’t focus on the 100th description of a scent, and started skimming sections. Only to notice I missed something that turned out to be relevant to the plot and then having to read that part again, oops.
That being said, I can totally understand that other people love Wicked like a Wildfire for that very reason. But as I noticed with Caraval before, this kind of purple prose isn’t my thing. Give me more action, please!
The characters themselves were okay. Not that I’ll keep them in my heart forever, but decent. And I did love the setting. I don’t think I’ve ever read a story that’s set in Montenegro and I wouldn’t even know what life is like there, after all the conflicts in that region.
I don’t like giving books a bad review, but on the other hand, I also want to be honest because otherwise what’s the point of writing a review, right? So this was a hard one for me, but in the end I decided to give this book 2 stars.
If you decide to read Wicked Like a Wildfire and you like it, you might want to know that the 2nd and final part of this duology is set to be released in August 2018. It will be called Fierce Like a Firestorm and, just like Wicked Like a Wildfire, has a gorgeous cover. Because let’s be honest, this cover is beautiful!
Young Adult Fiction
Katherine Tegen Books
August 15, 2017
Fans of Holly Black and Leigh Bardugo will be bewitched by Lana Popovic's debut YA fantasy novel about a bargain that binds the fates—and hearts—of twin sisters to a force larger than life. 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? Wicked Like a Wildfire is the first in a two-book series. Readers will be rapt with anticipation for the sequel.