Over the past few months I’d heard a lot of great things about Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic, so much so that I knew I’d just have to get my hands on it once it was released. I then received an exciting email and was very kindly gifted a copy from Harper360 – thank you! This book has such a stunning cover and feels perfectly seasonally appropriate; I couldn’t wait to delve right in. Keep reading for my spoiler free review.
From the cover:
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 packed with undeniably beautiful, lyrical and descriptive writing, with lots of metaphors and similes. Through this unique style of writing, Popovic manages to create a world that is so easy to visualise, though some may consider the book to be filled with purple prose, and I do agree to an extent.
Though the majority of the time I did enjoy Popovic’s writing, I felt as though the dreamlike sentences did throw me off in the beginning, leading to some confusion as to what was happening. Because of this, it did take me quite a few chapters to get into the story to begin with, but the further I got into the story, the more I raced through it, and finished the rest in just over one evening and morning.
Wicked Like a Wildfire seemed like a “journey” story to me. The plot was quite slow paced, and I felt like the book was more about the development of the characters, especially as it was written in Iris’ POV. Because of this, I did feel an attachment to Iris, Malina, Luka and Nikoletta and loved the relationships between the four, both platonic and romantic and the sisterly bond between Iris and Malina really shone through. There was a lot of diverse representation throughout the book which was really great to see: Iris and Malina are half Japanese and half Serbian (I’m pretty sure!), Luka and Nikoletta are Romany and Malina and Nikoletta are in a lesbian relationship. While I cannot comment on the accuracy of any of the representation, I found it to be refreshing to read about in a YA story and enjoyed the depth it added.
The premise of the story is extremely original, and I thoroughly enjoyed Popovic’s take on magic, transforming spells and potions which come to mind when thinking about witches into something completely different: the gleam. Wicked Like a Wildfire was also full of kick-ass female characters which is an automatic thumbs up from me.
While the story was slow to begin with, and sometimes a little too whimsical, the plot really intensified towards the end. There is a serious cliffhanger and I need to know what happens next! I loved that the story was set in Montenegro and it has now deepened my need to travel there. If you enjoy diverse, fantastical reads filled with dark magic and beautiful writing, then you will love Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic.
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