Title: Wicked Like a Wildfire
Author: Lana Popović
Release Date: August 15, 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins imprint)
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 deeply, darkly magical, lush and sinister. It's about the secrets we keep, the family that claims us, and what lurks, waiting for us to fall in love.
Iris is bold and rough, bright and full of thorns. She's the rough sandpaper to her twin Malina's soft glide of silk. She argues with their mother, constantly butts heads with her, and continuously heads out at night to do her own thing. She doesn't understand why, when they were younger and their mother used to encourage their little bursts of magic, now they can't do anything. The lack of using her gleam has it waning in Iris, only appearing in fractal flowers. She doesn't understand their mother anymore. But then she's attacked, then she's taken, then whispers and wants weave their way through Iris, and she and Malina slowly discover the reason why their mother left her family so many years ago.
There's something so visual and expressive about this book. It's the descriptions of Iris' flowers and fractals and glasswork, the descriptions of Malina's songs. It's the emotions and sensations they impart on those around them, the feelings they stir up. The shivers and the shudders, the quakes, the laughter and the tears. This book is full of sisters and magic, of Eastern European and Romany folklore and myth, of secrets. Of fate and purpose and death. Of the power we hold when we fall in love, and the lengths some will go to to grab hold of that power. I would recommend this to those who enjoy contemporary fantasy with layers of family and mystery, something slightly similar to Jennifer Bosworth's The Killing Jar or AnnaMarie McLemore's The Weight of Feathers, but know that this is the first book in a duology so there will be some waiting to read the second book.
(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.)