To be honest, anything with that Great Gatsby feel I am always wary of, but Wild and Wicked – in that aspect – pulls it off. Overall, I wish I loved this book way more than I wanted from morally grey lesbians plus blood magic. That sounds amazing right? But there were a few elements that held me back. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
On Crow Island, people whisper, real magic lurks just below the surface.
Neither real magic nor faux magic interests Annie Mason. Not after it stole her future. She’s only on the island to settle her late father’s estate and, hopefully, reconnect with her long-absent best friend, Beatrice, who fled their dreary lives for a more glamorous one.
Yet Crow Island is brimming with temptation, and the biggest one may be her enigmatic new neighbor.
Mysterious and alluring, Emmeline Delacroix is a figure shadowed by rumors of witchcraft. And when Annie witnesses a confrontation between Bea and Emmeline at one of the island’s extravagant parties, she is drawn into a glittering, haunted world. A world where the boundaries of wickedness are tested, and the cost of illicit magic might be death.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
I am a huge fan of queer morally grey characters. There’s something about characters who aren’t concerned with being ‘good’ or being ‘villanous’ that I love. Characters who are just making the decisions based on love, ambition, or convenience – flawed or not. And while I do think that Emmeline and Anna fit the bill, I wish they had a bit more time for introspection. For me to be 100% obsessed, I just need a bit more character thoughts in my head? Does that make sense?
So while I do like them and I think that they have all the element I love, I jut wish there had been a little more time devoted to their inner feelings and thoughts, turmoil and vulnerability. Additionally, Wild and Wicked Things is a sort of slow paced book. That, in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing and the last 30% I really enjoyed. It takes a bit of time to really build up the suspense, the tension, and the stakes. And when it does? I enjoyed the plot resolution immensely and especially some of the twists.
Another element I was a bit conflicted upon was the world building. While this mixes historical fiction and fantasy, I was a bit lost – even at the end – with how the magic worked. Essentially magic is outlawed, a bit like Prohibition vibes, but I don’t have a good sense of how the actual magic works. And while there’s magic, the majority of the ‘magic’ that I enjoyed wasn’t really derived (plot wise) from the main world building. That’s a super vague sentence, but I don’t want to spoil it.
I did like many pieces of Wild and Wicked Things. I guess I just felt like it lacked in some areas that I was expecting more of? But the elements that I enjoyed was Emmeline’s character backstory and her two found family members. While that was a piece of the story, if it had take more of a forefront I think I would have gotten a better sense of who she was as a character. And thematically it discusses the idea of sacrifice and what we would do for power and ambition. It’s a story about secrets that never stay buried, that always come out unraveling tapestries of lives lived.
In terms of what the characters would do and the domino effects of their decisions I enjoyed that aspect. I just wish it had come together a bit more for me. That being said, if you love that time period, morally grey characters, and magic (that is a bit puzzling) then this could still be your thing! Find Wild and Wicked Things on Goodreads, Amazon (US)(UK), Indiebound, & The Book Depository.