Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Wise and the Wicked by Rebecca Podos. This tour is being hosted by Fantastic Flying Book Club. I will be sharing my review and there will be a giveaway.
The Wise and the Wicked
by Rebecca Podos
Publisher: HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray
Release Date: May 28th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT, Magical Realism
Ruby Chernyavsky has been told the stories since she was a child: The women in her family, once possessed of great magical abilities to remake lives and stave off death itself, were forced to flee their Russian home for America in order to escape the fearful men who sought to destroy them. Such has it always been, Ruby’s been told, for powerful women. Today, these stories seem no more real to Ruby than folktales, except for the smallest bit of power left in their blood: when each of them comes of age, she will have a vision of who she will be when she dies—a destiny as inescapable as it is inevitable. Ruby is no exception, and neither is her mother, although she ran from her fate years ago, abandoning Ruby and her sisters. It’s a fool’s errand, because they all know the truth: there is no escaping one’s Time.
Until Ruby’s great-aunt Polina passes away, and, for the first time, a Chernyavsky’s death does not match her vision. Suddenly, things Ruby never thought she’d be allowed to hope for—life, love, time—seem possible. But as she and her cousin Cece begin to dig into the family’s history to find out whether they, too, can change their fates, they learn that nothing comes without a cost. Especially not hope.
The Chernyavsky family had a lot of power in Russia. But there was a family trying to stop them. The daughters were sent to America. Their powers were weakened, but they still had them. All the children born were always female. They were led by their elder, Polina, who was a very hard woman. Polina raised her sister’s children after she died. Polina favored Evelina who ended up having three daughters, Dahlia, Ginger, and Ruby. Evelina took off when Ruby was young. Dahlia left school and took care of her sisters.
The Chernyavsky family did have a couple powers left. Some could heal a bit. But the one things they knew each could do was see their “Time”. Sometime between 13 and 16 (usually), the girl sees how she will die. This is written into a book and read at the gathering when the person dies. When Polina dies, her entry was read and it was wrong. Polina lived to be in her 90’s and never had children. Her “Time” stated that she died while having a child. Evelina shows up when Polina dies. Each family member can feel when one of them passes, but they don’t know who it is until everyone is checked in on.
Ruby’s best friend is her cousin, Cece. Cece just had her Time and didn’t want to tell Ruby right away, but they finally confessed to each other. Seeing that Polina’s Time was wrong, the girls decided to do some snooping into their family’s history. Both of them are dating (Talia and Dov), but they know they can’t confide in them. Dov ends up doing something strange and Ruby learns that their history’s overlap.
Evelina says she went away to study from other magic users. She claims that she can add years to the lives of others and wants to use it for Ruby. She first learned what Polina did to live longer and she knew Ruby was the strongest sister. But all magic comes at a cost and Ruby has to decide if it’s worth it or not.
I loved the family relationships and the flashback stories to the folklore from Russia. The writing flowed well. Even though I struggle at times with this type of book, I found that this one was easier for me to get into.
I gave this book 4 stars. Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy through Edelweiss.
Warnings for death, parental abandonment, magic (including some blood magic), sacrifice, stealing, and living just above poverty.
Rebecca Podos’ debut novel, THE MYSTERY OF HOLLOW PLACES, was a Junior Library Guild Selection and a B&N Best YA Book of 2016. Her second book, LIKE WATER, won the 2018 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Children’s and Young Adult. THE WISE AND THE WICKED, her third novel, is forthcoming in May 2019.
A graduate of the Writing, Literature and Publishing Program at Emerson College and the Creative Writing Program at College of Santa Fe, Rebecca’s fiction has been published in journals like Glimmer Train, Paper Darts, and Smokelong Quarterly. By day, she works as a YA and MG agent at the Rees Literary Agency in Boston.
Prize: Win a copy of THE WISE AND THE WICKED by Rebecca Podos (INT)
Start Date: 22nd May 2019
End Date: 5th June 2019
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