Cover image for Wicked as you wish
Wicked as you wish
Physical Description:
421 pages ; 24 cm.
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Many years ago the magical kingdom of Avalon was left desolate, encased in ice when evil Snow Queen waged war. The refugees of Avalon-- including Prince Alexei, the sole survivor of the Avalon royal family-- are stuck in Arizona. His friend, Tala Warnock, knows his secret-- and has a few of her own. The appearance of the Firebird, Avalon's deadliest weapon, reignites the refugees' desire to journey back to Avalon. But the Snow Queen, powerful but long thought dead, wants nothing more than to take the Firebird's magic for her own. --


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"A great read for fans of fairy tales, myths and legends... Come for the adventure, stay for the sassy jerkwad firebird."--Kendare Blake #1 New York Timesbestselling author of the Three Dark Crowns series

When a hidden prince, a girl with secrets, a ragtag group of unlikely heroes, and a legendary firebird come together...something wicked is going down.

Many years ago, the magical Kingdom of Avalon was left encased in ice when the Snow Queen waged war. Its former citizens are now refugees in a world mostly devoid of magic. Which is why the crown prince and his protectors are stuck in...Arizona.

Prince Alexei, the sole survivor of the Avalon royal family, is hiding in a town so boring, magic doesn't even work there. Few know his secret identity, but his friend Tala is one of them.

A new hope for their abandoned homeland reignites when a famous creature of legend, the Firebird, appears for the first time in decades. Alex and Tala must unite with a ragtag group of new friends to journey back to Avalon for a showdown that will change the world as they know it.

"A nail-biting quest that introduces a gripping new series." --STARRED review, Publishers Weekly
"A truly original novel." --STARRED review, Kirkus

Author Notes

Despite uncanny resemblances to Japanese revenants, Rin Chupeco has always maintained her sense of humor. Raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. She's been a technical writer and a travel blogger but now makes things up for a living. She is the author of The Girl from the Well, The Suffering, The Bone Witch trilogy, and the A Hundred Named for Magic trilogy. Connect with Rin at

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Combining legends, myths, fairy tales, and classic children's literature from Oz to Neverland, Chupeco (The Bone Witch) creates an enchanting story that is both a feast for the senses and a unique spin on the hero's journey. Tala Warnock is a Makiling, a spellbreaker, living with her Scottish and Filipino family in the Royal States of America, where ICE hunts refugees from other magical lands. Tala's best friend, Prince Alexei, is the hidden heir to Avalon, a world of advanced spelltech that is unbreachable after the Wonderland Wars against the Snow Queen. When Alex turns 18 and a firebird appears to guide him back to Avalon, Tala joins a gang of Banders sworn to protect him and fight the Snow Queen's powers. As Tala learns more about her family and her own strengths, she discovers a fate in Avalon she never expected. Chupeco's novel teems with exhilarating wizardry, from ice wolves to a marsh king in the form of a giant toad. Though the beginning is heavily weighted with background information, the pace quickens into a nail-biting quest that introduces a gripping new series. Ages 14--up. Agent: Rebecca Podos, Rees Literary Agency. (Mar.)■

Horn Book Review

Tala and Alexei are refugees from the magical kingdom of Avalon, living in the troublingly conservative Royal States of America. Alexei, the crown prince of Avalon, can use magic, while Tala has the power to negate it-not that either ability does much good in Arizona. Their peaceful if less-than-thrilling existence is shattered when a fabled firebird shows up, as prophesied, and calls the friends to a mission to save their homeland and defeat the Snow Queen who froze it. Partnering with a high-energy, diverse, and entertaining group of guardian teens known as the Banders, Tala and Alexei face legendary creatures and encounter magic they've never seen before. With whimsical chapter titles such as "In Which Carly Rae Jepsen Songs Make Excellent Training Tools" and "In Which Ice Wolves Are a Literal Concept," there's enough humor in Chupeco's writing to imbue even the more convoluted story lines with an element of fun. Best of all, the nuanced representation of different races, genders, and sexualities is presented organically. Each teen gets to remain true to their own complexities, with fully realized personalities. Wildly creative, with myriad references to folklore and fairy tales, this alternate-reality adventure will surely appeal to modern fantasy fans who can keep up with a complex plot that unfolds at a breakneck pace. Sarah Berman May/June 2020 p.122(c) Copyright 2020. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Of all the denizens of tiny Invierno, Arizona, only Tala and her family know that unassuming Alex Smith is really Prince Alexei, the last scion of the Kingdom of Avalon. He's hiding out from the agents of the Ice Queen of Beira, the tyrant responsible for encasing Avalon in ice. When the legendary firebird of Avalon suddenly descends upon Invierno, it is cause for both celebration and worry. While the firebird's appearance signifies hope for Alex to uncurse his lost home, it also helps the Ice Queen's minions pinpoint Alex's location. Luckily, Tala and her family have their own magic, rooted in Filipino traditions, to defend their charge. Chupeco's world building is a marvel, taking fairy tales and legends from all cultures and weaving them into an all-encompassing alternate history packed with wonder and whimsy. At the same time, it manages to capture the worries and joys of contemporary teen life. Readers looking for a vibrant, Harry Potteresque fantasy full of secrets, spies, magic, monsters, and mayhem need look no further.--Reinhardt Suarez Copyright 2020 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

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.--Jenni Frencham, Indiana University, Bloomington

Kirkus Review

A cursed prince and a girl whose presence stops magic join forces to regain the kingdom of Avalon from the Snow Queen.Prince Alexei of Avalon has lived incognito since the Snow Queen ensnared his home kingdom in ice. He is now in hiding with Tala's family in Arizona, keeping his identity and Tala's spell-breaking a secret given the illegality of magic in the Royal States of America. When the fabled firebird, Avalon's protector, arrives in Arizona, Alex, Tala, and a group sent by the mysterious leader Cheshire return to Avalon in an attempt to defeat the Snow Queen once and for all. Mythology and folklore from around the world, including King Arthur, Yamato Takeru, and El Cid, meet in a single world. This mishmash does not overwhelm but instead makes for an intriguing read. Fantastical events such as the fall of Wonderland are woven seamlessly with emotionally charged real-world elements such as racist Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Tala is Scottish and Filipina, allowing for exploration of immigration and diasporic communities. Alex is gay, and other characters are nonbinary, disabled, adopted, and of various ethnicities. Incorporating modern sensibilities and a sprawling world drawn from fairy tales, Chupeco (The Never Tilting World, 2019, etc.) has brought readers a truly original novel.A deftly executed melding of folklore and reality grounded in contemporary issues. (Fantasy. 13-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.