‘Wicked Like A Wildfire’ by Lana Popovic is magical. It’s a wonderful blend of fairytale softness and the sharpness of lies and secrecy.
Iris and Malina are witch twins with gleams that they are not allowed to speak of. They are not allowed to fall in love either. Something changes one day and suddenly they are thrust into the search of secrets from long ago and how their lives have turned upside down. Myths, legends, powerful magic and even Death himself are at the helm of this tale.
Iris was my kinda girl. She’s prickly and quick to anger but inside she’s a big softie. At times in interactions with her mother she would make sure only her rage was visible so that no one could see how delicate she was inside. However, her strength was real and it would have to be if you could love someone for years and never truly acknowledge it. Her gleam fading was cutting her up inside but I doubt that feeling of emptiness was helped by keeping Luka at arms length.
I’m not sure how I felt about Malina. With the way things were between Iris and Jasmina you would think she would have stepped in more often than not. She seems a bit cowardly and despite her softness, I can’t help but feel reluctant to trust her. Luka was cute and instantly reminded me of one of my closest friends but I can’t picture him with Iris for some reason. He’s too good, I need a little bad in my book romances. Death for instance was lovely. I’m hoping he’ll fall madly in love with Iris and respond to her every whim in the second book.
The big point I got from this book is the connections we all have with family. Iris and Malina are twins and that in itself means they have a stronger bond than most siblings. Even in our world where magic doesn’t exist you hear stories of the seemingly bizarre connections that twins have. How they can finish each others sentences, how one can tell if there is something wrong with the other without being close etc. Perhaps that is what magic is in our world.
The bond between mother and daughter is also a strong focal point in this book. Iris was sure that her mother hated her and in return she took every chance to provoke and antagonise her Jasmina so that they were in a perpetual dance of resentment. However beneath all of that anger and loathing there was a deep love and it reminded me of the saying ‘we hurt the ones we love the most’. Iris would bait her mother in the hope that Jasmina would see her daughter’s pain and show her the tender love she needed and I think it worked the same way for Jasmina.
This book was beautiful. The concept was original and story unique. I liked how bits and pieces of myths were woven into the plot and the setting isn’t something I have read about before (I have decided there are not enough books set in eastern Europe). There were so many scents and tastes too! I think there should have been mini scent scratch cards sent out as pre-order swag because I imagine the combination of smells at the right moment in the book would have brought the whole story to life.
At times I got confused though, at one point we had heard the truth of Mara’s lies and I found myself rebelling at the change of events because my mind couldn’t keep up with all the different secrets. And then at the end it looked like everything from before wasn’t as it seemed yet again. ‘Wicked Like A Wildfire’ takes you on a journey and it makes you look closely at your own familial ties. This book was a great debut and a brilliant start to a writing career.
“Between us, I saw something like the opposite of an abyss – a crowded, choking sea of relentless light – and knew I’d have to survive it before I even stumbled into the sea that lay beneath his kingdom’s stars.”
I received this in FairyLoot’s August ‘Otherworlds’ box.
You can get it here