Wicked As You Wish

Sourcebooks/Fire. Mar. 2020. 400p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781492672661.
Gr 8 Up–A mashup of multiple fairy tales set in modern-day Arizona. Tala and her family can negate magical spells, a talent that doesn’t often see use in their small town where most magical items don’t function well anyway. When Tala’s family is tasked with helping to hide the prince of the lost kingdom of Avalon and the prince’s enemies come looking for him, Tala and her newfound friends must band together to save the prince. This novel takes the modern world as we know it and adds two major twists: the United States of America becomes the Royal States of America, with a reigning monarch, and all major fairy-tale stories are now real events in history because magic is real. A lack of world-building before the plot begins leaves readers confused about what this world is like and how to navigate it. Further, a large cast of characters is left mostly undeveloped, making it difficult to differentiate between them. Tala is Filipina and there are brief moments where her heritage shines, but it takes a back seat to the mostly European and Slavic fairy-tale stories that are the backbone of this novel. Use of phrases such as “absolute unit” and “I was today years old” will date this story within a few years’ time.
VERDICT Direct readers who enjoy retold fairy tales to Marissa Meyer’s “Cinder” series instead. An additional purchase for libraries where Chupeco’s other works are popular.

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