Sometimes you read books that you love from the first page. And there are times when you read books you dislike straight away. But at times, there are books that you read, you can see where everybody is coming from with their decent reviews, but you don’t like them. Wicked Like A Wildfire is one of those books.
I had not heard of the book before receiving it in my Fairyloot Crate. The cover was absolutely stunning and therefore I was intrigued. Plus, it promised magic and I am a sucker for magic. Yet while I was reading, I struggled to get from chapter to chapter. At some point I even considered stopping. Yet I did not hate this book.
What is Wicked Like a Wildfire about?
This summary is from GoodReads:
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?
One of the reasons why Wicked Like A Wildfire might become a favourite for many, is the poetic language. Popović certainly is not one for simple phrases. Everything is explained with flowy words. Smells and tastes are described within great detail. This does not necessarily have to be a problem, but I found it exhausting to read. While I loved the poetic style of Caraval, this was just a little too much for my liking. It felt similar to Wintersong in the sense that it had a lot of purple prose, yet hardly any story. Having said that, I can imagine why many people do enjoy it. The writing is not bad. It just has to be your taste.
It’s not going anywhere
Another issue I had with the novel was that it was so very slow. At over 400 pages, it is not necessarily that long, yet because nothing really happens, it took me a long time to read. The plot is mainly about family relationships, as opposed to romantic relationships, yet there was not a single main character that I actually liked. I was not invested in these characters which is an absolute must for me.
To me, a book is a journey and it does not have to be action-packed all the time. But at least it has to make me feel something. This novel did not make me feel anything. When things finally did get exciting, it quickly turned rather predictable. While the plot twist was well-thought out, it was not the big shock I expected it to be. I did not believe it. Naturally, when you’re reading a book about magic, you should not expect realism, but when I read other fantastical books, the fantasy aspects feel authentic. When talking about magical realism, I prefer The Ocean At the End of The Lane by Neil Gaiman or Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter.
Apart from that, the book has an open ending. I am not opposed to open endings when I am invested in a story and want to read another 400+ pages book leading up to the conclusion. Now I just wanted to get it over with.
It’s like marmite
This wasn’t the book for me, but as I said, I can understand the appeal it has to others. If you enjoy poetic prose and prefer a novel which is invested in relationships rather than plot, perhaps Wicked Like A Wildfire is the novel for you.