ARC review: Society of Wishes (Wish Quartet #1) by Elise Kova and Lynn Larsh

book review - pink

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by author for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 

Summary: First book in the Wish Quartet, a new-adult, urban fantasy series

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR.

Josephina Espinosa makes her living as a hacker-for-hire in the Lone Star Republic, a remnant of the fractured U.S.A. That is, until the day she and her best friend are gunned down in a government raid.

With her dying breath, Jo uses magical lore passed down from her grandmother to summon a wish-granter. Her wish? To save her friend’s life. Except wishes have costs, and for Jo, the price is the erasure of her entire mortal existence.

Now, as the most recent addition to the mysterious Society of Wishes, Jo must form a new “life” alongside the seven other members, one of which being her savior himself. Living as an occupant of the Society’s lavish mansion should be quite the perk, but while it is furnished with everything its inhabitants could possibly need, it lacks one thing—freedom.

Her otherworldly identity crisis takes a backseat, however, when Jo learns that the friend she sacrificed everything for is headed down the same path to ruin. Jumping in head-first, Jo uses her newfound magical abilities to protect him, only to realize that the ripples of her actions have far-reaching consequences. When the Society’s aloof leader Snow decides to give her a taste of his own ancient magic, Jo discovers that there are threads woven into the tapestry of her new reality that reach far beyond the wishes she is now required to grant. Ones that, if tugged on, could mean the unraveling of the world itself.

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Release date: January 29th 2018

★★★.5✩

I liked a lot of things in this book and it was overall a very enjoyable and entertaining read. Other things I had a few issues with and I’m going to talk about those too.

The idea behind this series is great, and it’s what I was looking forward to the most. Knowing Elise Kova’s worldbuilding abilities from her previous series, I was sure this aspect was going to be one of the most interesting ones in the book, and I can confirm it’s that way exactly. Even when I was left with some questions about how certain things about this wishing-granting society worked, these were answered later.

There was no real info-dump, which is usually a positive thing, but I do feel like some things were kept needlessly mysterious for the sake of the narrative, while in reality they should have been explained right away. Like, when Jo arrives at the Society and people simply tell her “this is your home now” without a real explanation of what the Society is or how she ended up there. I mean, it kept the reader suspended, but it also didn’t make much sense because these are all people that have been in Jo’s position before, and they should have known to just explain to her right away.

Minor spoilers about the general plot from here on.

Another thing I know from Elise Kova’s writing is that her characters are always interesting people, and I found this to be only partially true here. Most characters definitely had me curious about them right away (Eslar and Pan), and others I became interested in as the story developed. Sadly, one character I didn’t always like is Jo, the protagonist. She’s not a bad protagonist by any means, and her making mistakes is obviously what drove the plot forward. But I couldn’t help being annoyed when she went out of her way to put herself in trouble even after everyone told her that her actions would put more than just herself in danger. Though by the end of the novel it did feel like she has a better understanding of it (also because, you know, people actually bothered to give her a full explanation this time).

Another character that didn’t make much sense was Wayne. He’s supposedly smart and knows the Society’s rules, and still he decided to help Jo for no reason, and he didn’t even need much convincing at all. And after helping her, knowing they were still “on a wish”, he somehow thought it was okay to spend another three days in the real world. He’s been in the Society for almost two hundred years and that’s not really believable.

I also felt like there was a problem with the telling vs showing, especially when it came to Jo’s opinion of Snow. Right away he was presented as this asshole leader who everyone should fear, while I don’t feel like his actions really prove that. And towards the very end I felt what the authors wanted to do but I wish there had been some indication of that throughout the novel, because everything felt pretty sudden.

One thing I liked about Snow is that he’s the “guy with too much power” trope, and that’s really fascinating to read, so I could partially understand Jo’s feelings towards him in the end, but I just felt like there was no previous indication of any of it.

Let me mention my favorite character, which is Nico. Admittedly I’m soft for him because he’s Italian but also learning his backstory and reading how he talked about it made me want to protect him.
Another character I liked is Takako, I love how she wanted to help Jo.

I’m also pretty pleased so far with the diversity in this. Jo is American-Mexican (although America doesn’t really exist anymore when she is born, but well she lives in Texas which is like its own state now) and she often talks about her abuela and the food she used to eat at home (although I have no means to say if this is good Mexican representation), Takako is Japanese, Nico is Italian, and I’m not really sure about the others but you get my point. I also hope that in the next installments we will see more diversity when it comes to queer rep and maybe mental illness as well.

One thing I want to say about the genre: this is marketed as New Adult (there is a sex scene in it) but throughout the novel it felt more like YA. There’s nothing wrong with that obviously but I can’t help but feel that that’s where the collaboration between the two writers shows: I can’t tell who wrote what from the writing style alone, but genre-wise, if you take out the sex scene, there is no indication that this is NA. I personally don’t care much about that but it is something I noticed and I think is worth mentioning.

I appreciate that the main plot was resolved in this first book. I have no doubt that there will be a common plot thread in the four books, but for now it feels satisfying as a standalone as well.

I would recommend it because it’s a quick and gripping read and I believe there is a lot of potential for the next installments.

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