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The Wise and the Wicked

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for The Wise and the Wicked

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lala BooksandLala

    Magical

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    This cover? The most beautiful thing I've ever seen. The blessings. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Youtube | Twitch

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jane (It'sJaneLindsey)

    Excuse me, this is a stand-alone and it ends like THAT?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Blake

    I had the honor of getting an early read on this book and oh, oh, the world is going to love this beautiful story.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight This is going to be a review in Three Acts. Because I had three very distinct experiences while reading this book, so... seems legit I guess. Act One: Oh Crap I Might DNF Okay I hate DNFing, we know this. But Val suggested I call it quits, because she didn't love it, and honestly when Val tells me to DNF something I really need to listen because every time, I regret not listening, and here You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight This is going to be a review in Three Acts. Because I had three very distinct experiences while reading this book, so... seems legit I guess. Act One: Oh Crap I Might DNF Okay I hate DNFing, we know this. But Val suggested I call it quits, because she didn't love it, and honestly when Val tells me to DNF something I really need to listen because every time, I regret not listening, and here we go again. The problem was, I was woefully disconnected to the characters, especially at the beginning. Ruby's obsession with her cousin was high key creeping me out, and I just kind of... didn't like her a ton? She did grow on me as the book went on, at least. The thing in the first 1/3 or so is, nothing seemed to happen. Ruby's great-aunt died and I was kind of underwhelmed like... cool, an ancient lady that I have no emotional connection to died, so that's sad, but I wasn't exactly full of feels. The plot seemed a little stagnant- you knew there was a family secret and such, but the stakes just weren't there. Act 2: Things Are Picking Up! So I started to get a bit invested! This was good news! It still wasn't setting the world on fire for me, but at least I was starting to feel a little bit of concern for Ruby, and the plot/secret thing were being fleshed out more, so I ignored Val and kept on keeping on. There was some romance, a sisterly bond that was getting more developed, and the cousin thing started to be less creepy and more sisterly/friendly. Act 3: Are You Kidding Me with This End? Okay here's where I get ragey. I was bored, then things were a little interesting, and then the end of the book infuriated me a lot. To the point where I kind of regretted reading the book. First, the ending was way too quick for the overall slow pacing of the book. But mostly, I was mad because... I'll put this in spoiler tags, though Idk if it's actually a spoiler, but let's just be safe okay? Okay. (view spoiler)[It doesn't actually end? It's like... akin to a cliffhanger, except it's a standalone and no one asked for that. Okay, fine, maybe some people will enjoy the whole VERY open ending, but I am just not one of them. (hide spoiler)] Bottom Line: Parts of it were good, and I enjoyed that Ruby had a lot of character growth, but other than that I was kind of underwhelmed. And salty about the end bits.

  6. 5 out of 5

    The Bookavid

    ahhhhhhhhhh magical realism ahhhhhhhhh russian-inspired ahhhhhhhhhhh psychic sisters ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh i want this so badly!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Madalyn (Novel Ink)

    This review originally appeared on Novel Ink. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. From page one, The Wise and the Wicked swept me into a world of ancient Russian fairy tales, long-hidden family secrets, and a main character trying to make sense of the world and her place in it. The writing was immersive, the characters were interesting, but the main, glaring issue with this book that I was left fee This review originally appeared on Novel Ink. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. From page one, The Wise and the Wicked swept me into a world of ancient Russian fairy tales, long-hidden family secrets, and a main character trying to make sense of the world and her place in it. The writing was immersive, the characters were interesting, but the main, glaring issue with this book that I was left feeling unsatisfied when I flipped the last page. All of the threads of a five-star book were there for me, but the ending felt so clumsy and harried that it truly affected my overall enjoyment and rating. As far as characters go, I thought the Chernyavsky family and their complex dynamics were fascinating, if not explored to their full potential. Ruby, our main character, was a little forgettable, but overall easy to root for. Who doesn’t love an angsty teen with plenty of reason to be angsty? I loved Ruby’s sisters, Dahlia and Ginger, and I honestly wish the sister relationship played a larger part in the story. I much preferred their dynamic to Ruby’s dynamic with Cece, her cousin, who is the main secondary character in the story. It seems like Ruby only has negative things to say about Cece in her internal monologue (not all of them deserved), so I didn’t quite understand why Ruby seemed so… obsessed with her cousin? However, I did appreciate the queer rep Cece brought to the story, as it’s often harder to come out to people who you trust with your life than to casual acquaintances. Ruby’s mother and aunts and great aunts are all, for the most part, not great, to put it mildly. I liked the way the author was able to explore morality through these characters, but none of them got a true redemption arc– which, I guess, is somewhat realistic, but didn’t make for the most satisfying reading experience. I did love the Chernyavsky magic and the strong sense of family folklore. Stories about where you came from are part of every family, and I thought that was incorporated beautifully into this book. Outside of the Chernyavsky family, there are seemingly endless side characters thrown into the story, but the standout was the love interest, Dov. His family, the Mahalels, end up playing a pretty large part in the plot, but what I liked best was Dov’s relationship with Ruby. This is a book that doesn’t focus too heavily on romance, but the romance that is present is definitely swoony. Also, I am a cis woman, so please take my thoughts with a heavy dose of salt, but I absolutely loved the trans rep in The Wise and the Wicked. (More trans love interests in YA, please!) It was such a pleasant surprise to see a trans character in a story that deals so heavily with the idea of inheriting gender-specific abilities and curses, but it makes so so much sense. I thought it was very well done. With so many good things going for it, I fully expected this to be a new favorite. However, as the ending drew closer and closer, the plot resolutions started feeling more and more rushed. I’ll keep it spoiler-free in this review, but the *~big showdown~* was left pretty open, but I thought certainly we’d get more resolution by the end of the book. Not so. In fact, when I finished this book, I legitimately did a double take to make sure I hadn’t missed a chapter. The ending was THAT abrupt. Here’s the thing: contrary to the popular opinion in the online book community, I LOVE an open ending. However, what I can’t get on board with is an abrupt ending. This abrupt ending truly soured my entire reading experience with this book and left me both confused and unsatisfied. Just something I think everyone should know going into this story! Overall, though The Wise and the Wicked did me dirty with the ending, I did truly love the story at the heart of this book. If you can deal with the abrupt ending, I’d still recommend picking it up! (Also, if you have read this– let’s please discuss the ending, because truly, wtf.)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cassie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Excuse me while I reach 13 days into the future and grab myself a finished copy of this because this book sounds fucking incredible and I need it in my life.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I loved this book so much from the beginning all the way up to maybe 80% of the way through. The story and concept were so interesting and nothing like what I've read before. I'm obsessed with slightly witchy stories set in a contemporary setting, and this is exactly that. The pacing was amazing, the romance had me itching for more, and the complicated family situation felt very real to me. The only problem I had with the whole book was the end (no spoilers!) It really was slow (but in a good wa I loved this book so much from the beginning all the way up to maybe 80% of the way through. The story and concept were so interesting and nothing like what I've read before. I'm obsessed with slightly witchy stories set in a contemporary setting, and this is exactly that. The pacing was amazing, the romance had me itching for more, and the complicated family situation felt very real to me. The only problem I had with the whole book was the end (no spoilers!) It really was slow (but in a good way) for most of the beginning/middle, but at the end it flew into overdrive so fast. It felt like things were moving too fast and we didn't get to see as much as we should have? I really wish we had maybe another 50/100 pages to flesh out everything that happened? I get that it was the climax and the pace in general needed to pick up, but I feel like we missed out on some important information/context. Who knows, maybe we'll pick right up after the end of the first book in the sequel and all my questions will be answered?

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I would classify this book as YA contemporary combined with magical realism. The narrator of this book is 16 year old Ruby (3rd person POV). She comes from a family where the women have powers. At a certain point in their lives they will have a vision of when they will die. This was an original story with a pretty cover. There is some romance in the book. But to me it wasn't the main focus. Ruby had two sisters. But I honestly I did not feel like we saw enough of them for me to really know them. He I would classify this book as YA contemporary combined with magical realism. The narrator of this book is 16 year old Ruby (3rd person POV). She comes from a family where the women have powers. At a certain point in their lives they will have a vision of when they will die. This was an original story with a pretty cover. There is some romance in the book. But to me it wasn't the main focus. Ruby had two sisters. But I honestly I did not feel like we saw enough of them for me to really know them. Her cousin was in the book much more and I really liked her (Cece). But overall I really struggled to finish this book. There are lgbt themes. (view spoiler)[Ruby's love interest is a trans boy & two supporting characters are lesbians. (hide spoiler)] But it was fairly PG IMO. I thought that the premise was interesting. I enjoy reading about psychics or people will abilities. The idea of people seeing their time of death was a good one. But I didn't love this book. There were a lot of stories told in italics and I didn't really enjoy these. Because of the 3rd person POV I felt disconnected from Ruby. And then the book just ends, with no real conclusion. Thanks to edelweiss and HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray for allowing me to read this book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    N (they/them)

    4 stars TW: attempted murder, underage drinking, death Rep: trans boy LI, (two) lesbian major SCs, Russian-American family (and MC) The Writing The writing in this book was very atmospheric and felt very fitting to the setting. I especially loved the descriptions of the different houses and the detail that went into all of that. I felt transported into the small town and it felt very homey and creepy at the same time and I loved that so much. The Plot/Pacing The plot felt like it was a bit all o 4 stars TW: attempted murder, underage drinking, death Rep: trans boy LI, (two) lesbian major SCs, Russian-American family (and MC) The Writing The writing in this book was very atmospheric and felt very fitting to the setting. I especially loved the descriptions of the different houses and the detail that went into all of that. I felt transported into the small town and it felt very homey and creepy at the same time and I loved that so much. The Plot/Pacing The plot felt like it was a bit all over the place for me, which is really my main complaint with this book. The build-up to the climax felt like it didn't raise the stakes quite enough, and I thought the climax sort of felt like it came out of nowhere. Also, the pacing of the romance felt really weird to me?? Like I didn't really feel the chemistry between them and it felt like it came out of nowhere?? But you get used to it, ig. The Characters I really wanted more from these characters. I didn't really feel like we saw much development from anyone who wasn't the main character. And while I really enjoyed what we did get from the main character, I felt like there was a missed opportunity to explore her character further that just,, didn't happen and I wish it had. I would have also liked the side characters to have been established better because I know that they're important to the main character, but they're not necessarily important to me, as the reader. The World LISTEN, the magic in this world is inspired by Russian folklore and I thought this was one of the best uses of Russian folklore that I've ever read and, as someone who's Russian, I don't say that lightly. Although there were times where I found myself wishing that the author went a bit deeper when it came to the history of the folklore/magic itself, I do get that not everything can be done in a 350-page book, so I didn't really have a major problem with it. For the most part, I really loved the way Russian fairy tales were used and I honestly found myself wishing I was a part of this magical family even though seeing when you die sounds quite horrifying, not gonna lie. Overall I have been looking for books that feature Russian-American characters for literally ages and when I found out that this one had Russian-American queer people, I got even more excited. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I would also like to know if there's going to be a sequel because the way this story leaves off feels very,, unfinished, you know?? ~~~ Anyways, I would like more Russian-inspired stories set in a contemporary setting, thank you.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jacquelyn White

    A standout in YA magical realism genre. From the culture inspirations of Russia to the real life drama of growing up a teen in America this book has a authentic vibe with just the right dose of magic. 10/10 would recommend and can’t wait for book two.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Elise (TheBookishActress)

    a family of women who each have a premonition of their own death upon reaching teenagehood!! wondering whether they're the heroes or the villains of their story!! guys!! 2019 is truly going to be the year of magical realism and I love it

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Put a book in front of me with any type of fairy tale aspects to it, and you can pretty much guarantee that I'm going to read it. When I saw that The Wise and the Wicked was based around Russian folktales, my heart was so happy. I love a good story with folktale roots. It's probably no surprise at all that I was very excited to read this book. To be honest, I actually really loved about the first 70% of this book. It was a little slow, sure, but I could feel that pull back to the old stories and Put a book in front of me with any type of fairy tale aspects to it, and you can pretty much guarantee that I'm going to read it. When I saw that The Wise and the Wicked was based around Russian folktales, my heart was so happy. I love a good story with folktale roots. It's probably no surprise at all that I was very excited to read this book. To be honest, I actually really loved about the first 70% of this book. It was a little slow, sure, but I could feel that pull back to the old stories and it kept me going. It was also so refreshing to read a book with such lovely queer representation in it and, thank goodness, one that wasn't completely built around romance. I'm all for a good romance, but it's always so nice to read a book where it isn't the most important thing ever. In fact, this story is mostly based around family. Around the secrets that they keep, the love that simmers beneath the surface, and about doing whatever you can to protect one another. Ruby and her sisters felt real to me, and I was invested in them. I always love when a family dynamic has some ruts along the road. Ruby and her sisters felt like a real family, because it wasn't always all sunshine and rainbows but the love was definitely there. However as the book progressed it became more and more evident that things weren't going to be completely wrapped up. I won't lie, I felt concerned because this book doesn't show any inkling of having a sequel. It's true that there were some plot gaps in the first part of the book, but I let them go because I was so enjoying spending time with Ruby and her family secrets. I figured that things would be explained eventually, and the slow burn of this book wasn't really bothering me. The closer I got to the end, the more I realized that I wasn't going to get my answers. There are a lot of portions of this story that are told in flashbacks and in podcast listening form. I liked them at first. As I realized that the end wasn't going to be cleaned up though, I started to resent them for taking up story that could have been used to further flesh out the characters and the plot. I really hope there's another book after this one, because the ending is frustratingly incomplete. Still, there's a lot to love in The Wise and the Wicked and so, like I mentioned above, I'd definitely read the next book. Dev is a great male character. It's so nice to see a sweet boy instead of a brooding one. The idea that words passed down over time can be twisted to meet the needs of those telling them was fascinating. I also loved that Ruby was unabashedly in love with a science fiction story podcast. Her addiction to the story that was unfolding in her podcast, matched against the very unbelievable story that was unfolding around her, made for a beautiful parallel in the book. If only this story had been a few chapters longer, and finished explaining some of the things I desperately wanted to know, I would have fallen completely in love. If you enjoy stories with a slow burn, a lot of heart, and a kind of fairy tale feel to them, you'll love The Wise and the Wicked. I'll just be over here hoping that there's more Ruby coming, very soon.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    Although interesting enough to keep me hooked, the first half that included snippets of fairy tales, family stories, and a random podcast was still too slow, and the second half was... well, messy. There was an attempt at exploration of moral grayness and limits one is willing to go to survive, which I always find interesting, but in this case it was short, sloppy, and not very well done. Despite their backstories, the characters ended up bland and boxed into two standard categories. After a wil Although interesting enough to keep me hooked, the first half that included snippets of fairy tales, family stories, and a random podcast was still too slow, and the second half was... well, messy. There was an attempt at exploration of moral grayness and limits one is willing to go to survive, which I always find interesting, but in this case it was short, sloppy, and not very well done. Despite their backstories, the characters ended up bland and boxed into two standard categories. After a wild ride that is the second half, the conclusion is quite anti-climatic and unsatisfying, considering this book is labeled as a standalone. The Wise and the Wicked isn't a bad book by any means. The novel is unique, atmospheric, and well-written. The slavic, poc, and lgbtqia (trans, lesbian, and bi) representations are lovely, and Dov's character is such a soft, wholesome character you can't help but fall in love with from the moment he is introduced. *Thank you to HarperCollins and Balzer + Bray for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kalie

    (3.5/5) THE WISE AND THE WICKED feels as if the collective works of Anne-Marie McLemore, Katherine Arden, and Laura Ruby were put into a literary blender and this is the result. I just wish I had enjoyed it more than I did. Still, I’d love to tackle this book again in the future as it improved for me greatly about half of the way through as I got settled into the story. From the magical realism elements and lore that spans generations to the inclusivity and focus on familial relationships, there (3.5/5) THE WISE AND THE WICKED feels as if the collective works of Anne-Marie McLemore, Katherine Arden, and Laura Ruby were put into a literary blender and this is the result. I just wish I had enjoyed it more than I did. Still, I’d love to tackle this book again in the future as it improved for me greatly about half of the way through as I got settled into the story. From the magical realism elements and lore that spans generations to the inclusivity and focus on familial relationships, there is a lot in its favor. It’s definitely going to be one of those reads that sticks with me even if I didn't wholly love the journey.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Simant ♥ Flipping Through the Pages

    Full review: Flipping Through the Pages This story is about Chernyavsky family who had fled from Russia and had long-hidden secrets. They were being hunted for their powers but now their power has weakened as they suppress them to keep themselves safe. Ruby lives with her two sisters and has grown up being told this story. The Chernyavsky family is predominantly women, with men appearing only to a point to father a daughter. When the girls reach teens years, at some point they see their Time in w Full review: Flipping Through the Pages This story is about Chernyavsky family who had fled from Russia and had long-hidden secrets. They were being hunted for their powers but now their power has weakened as they suppress them to keep themselves safe. Ruby lives with her two sisters and has grown up being told this story. The Chernyavsky family is predominantly women, with men appearing only to a point to father a daughter. When the girls reach teens years, at some point they see their Time in which they can see themselves at the age they will die. Ruby has been told since her childhood that the Time can’t be changed or avoided. But when her great aunt Polina dies at 95 years old, it was revealed that her death doesn’t match with what was written as her Time in the family’s record book. Ruby, with her cousin Cece, then tries to find out how was that possible and how can she change her own or her cousin’s Time. But in doing so, she discovers that her family’s secrets are way deeper than what she always thought. Ruby is not a character that could be remembered for a long time yet I found myself rooting for her. She was an angsty teenager who wanted to dig up family secrets so that she can save herself and her cousin. Ruby and Cece’s relationship was wonderful and they kept me invested in the story. Though it was not smooth all the time, I appreciate how they tried to be as closer as they can and how much they loved each other. Cece’s representation also brought queer rep to the story which I really appreciate. Ruby’s sisters, Dahlia and Ginger were good characters but I wish the sisters relationship was explored a bit more? It felt they were just there for filling the role of Ruby’s mother. There were multiple side characters but my favourite was Dov, Ruby’s love interest. I appreciate how the author has incorporated trans character into the story through Dov. We need more trans rep in YA! Dov’s family, the Mahalels, later played a big part in the story but what I loved was his relationship with Ruby. The romance was not in our faces and I loved how beautifully it was incorporated. Both the families had big secrets and I enjoyed reading how their relationship grew over those secrets. Though the romance was quite good, this story is mainly about family, secrets that bind them together, the love between them and the things they can do to protect each other. The idea of Chernyavsky magic and the Russian family folklore was incorporated beautifully into this book. I loved how the author has talked about the idea that words and stories passed down over time can be twisted to meet the needs of those telling them. This magical realism story kept me interested from page one and I was engrossed in the world of Russian fairy tales, hidden family secrets and a character who is trying to understand the difference between the stories and the reality. Lot of things are good in the story but what didn’t work for me and for most of the readers, I guess, was the ending. My kindle was showing I am at 80% but then I flipped the next page, boom.. story ends. That made me feel betrayed. I wasn’t ready for the story to finish on such a loose end. I generally don’t mind when authors leave a story with open end, but I felt, the ending of this story was abrupt and I certainly don’t like abrupt ending. This story needed an additional 50/100 pages to give us all the answers. There is no sequel to the story and that being said, the ending was a huge turndown for me which made me to instantly lower my rating, which otherwise would have been a 5 star read. Overall, I truly enjoyed reading The Wise and the Wicked. If it wasn’t for that abrupt ending, this book would have been one of my favourites of the year. The story is really interesting. It is well written and queer representations are lovely. The mystery element keeps you hooked till the end. I would definitely ask you to pick it up if you like Russian folklore and magic realism. Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Facebook | Ko-fi |Amazon

  18. 5 out of 5

    Marija (Inside My Library Mind)

    More reviews up on my blog Inside My Library Mind *I initially gave this book 3.5 stars but I lowered it to 3 stars after sitting down to write the review and getting frustrated "We're Chernyavsky women, and the dark is scared of us." Stuff I Liked There was so much to like about this book. Matter of fact, if you follow me elsewhere online, you know I have been talking about how much I’ve been loving this one. And I was loving it. First of all, I really enjoyed the writing. It’s very More reviews up on my blog Inside My Library Mind *I initially gave this book 3.5 stars but I lowered it to 3 stars after sitting down to write the review and getting frustrated "We're Chernyavsky women, and the dark is scared of us." Stuff I Liked There was so much to like about this book. Matter of fact, if you follow me elsewhere online, you know I have been talking about how much I’ve been loving this one. And I was loving it. First of all, I really enjoyed the writing. It’s very immersive and the author manages to create this really encompassing atmosphere right off the bat, which is why I was sure this book was gonna get a high rating from me. The book starts with a house and a family of women who may or may not be witches and you are sort of thrown into their family dynamics and secrets and it all makes for a really compelling atmosphere and setting. The characters were interesting. I really liked Cece and I really loved Dov. I think they were really good characters and I loved how their dynamic with Ruby was explored. Cece is Ruby’s cousin and absolute best friend, and I really enjoyed how their relationship developed throughout and how they dealt with certain things that happen. I think close cousin relationships are really rare, and I love that it was included (although, I think it’s mostly because they’re Russian). And Ruby’s relationship with Dov was really pure and felt real (for the most part), so I really liked that. I also really loved Ruby’s sisters and I really wish they got more page time, because I really found them interesting and I would read a book about them. And the novel had a lot of momentum. There’s almost a mystery element to it and it was a great driving force for the novel and the book really did keep me engaged and I feel like there was a lot in the book to keep you interested. There’s also queer rep in here, which we always love! There is a prominent sapphic side relationship and also the love interest of the novel is a trans boy. So that was great to see! Stuff I Disliked However, around the middle, things started to annoy me, and the book I was loving started being just a meh read, for a number of reasons. First of all, the main character, Ruby wasn’t my favorite. She isn’t a memorable character, but on top of that, her choices make no sense and she constantly said things that clashed with things she was doing and it was really frustrating. On top of that, the event that triggers the unraveling of secrets and starts up the final revelation and resolution of the plot was SO UNNECESSARY. Like this is the event that stirs shit up and it makes no sense in the narrative. It could have had a point, with a simple alteration, but it was… a choice to do it and I just looked directly at the camera like on The Office when it happened. Also, this has got to be one of the most unsatisfying endings I read this whole year. It was incredibly rushed and it was so messy and it made very little sense and I think it dumbed down what could have been a really complex narrative. On top of that, I really felt like the book was trying to give nuance to villians, and to say that people aren’t inherently good or evil, they’re just people, but it did the exact opposite. It was a very Middle Grade ending in terms of making things very black & white when it comes to villians (which isn’t a bad thing, I love Middle Grade, but that’s not what the book was trying to do, and it showed). And I just found the ending and the resolution kind of cliche. To Sum Up A lot of potential, and a book I initially loved, but that kind of went downhill for me. It was a really meh read for me personally, but I do think that it could be well-loved by other people. If the things I mentioned aren’t that important to you, then you might enjoy it more than I did. I received this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own (duh) Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest

  19. 5 out of 5

    Karen • The Book Return

    Read this review and more on my blog.The Book Return Blog Ruby and her sisters come from a long line of wise and powerful women. When their grandmother and her sisters fled Russia they lost most of their magical powers. Today only one of their great powers remain. The power to have a vision of their own death. The cover on this one was what initially got me. It justs screams Russian folklore. It gives a great representation of what this novel is about. The only type of magical realism that I really Read this review and more on my blog.The Book Return Blog Ruby and her sisters come from a long line of wise and powerful women. When their grandmother and her sisters fled Russia they lost most of their magical powers. Today only one of their great powers remain. The power to have a vision of their own death. The cover on this one was what initially got me. It justs screams Russian folklore. It gives a great representation of what this novel is about. The only type of magical realism that I really enjoy is when it is told through a lens of an old world fairytale with fairytales themselves woven into the story. 'The Wise and The Wicked' has this in spades. I really loved the flow of the story as well as the characters. Podos did such a wonderful job of describing the characters and making each one wonderfully unique.  Ruby and her sisters were just amazing and the details of the story really gave me a vivid picture of what was going on. One of my favorite elements of Ruby's story was the podcast about a time-traveling scientist. The podcast story is really well developed and I would love to hear more from 'Kerrigan Black'. I am disappointed with the ending. The story ended on a huge cliffhanger with no resolution to the story. I don't mind an ending that's left up to the reader but this one is pretty extreme. This was foreshadowed a bit with the ending to Ruby's favorite podcast so it didn't come as a complete shock but I really hoped for more. This was a fun read with a powerful feminine vibe. It had a 'The Rules of Magic' feel (which was actually mentioned in the story). Read this review and more on my blog.The Book Return Blog

  20. 5 out of 5

    Christina Reid

    By day, they were the kind of people who seemed to belong in the house on Stone Road. Ruby went to school while her sisters worked the part-time jobs they could get without college degrees, scrambling to save for Ruby’s own (ultimately pointless) college fund. Ginger was an office assistant at a feed store, while Dahlia currently worked at ’Wiches and Wings, a butterfly conservatory and sandwich shop in one. And then some nights, rare but constant for the last few years, they were different peopl By day, they were the kind of people who seemed to belong in the house on Stone Road. Ruby went to school while her sisters worked the part-time jobs they could get without college degrees, scrambling to save for Ruby’s own (ultimately pointless) college fund. Ginger was an office assistant at a feed store, while Dahlia currently worked at ’Wiches and Wings, a butterfly conservatory and sandwich shop in one. And then some nights, rare but constant for the last few years, they were different people altogether. Polina would come with a client, or one would follow. Always women, always in dark plain clothing, in stained pants and with no jewelry or lipstick. Often, their cars had out-of-state plates. They looked desperate, as though they would have walked through the woods all night to get here, if necessary. Ruby wasn’t sure how clients actually found Polina, or where Polina found them. Nor was she completely sure what went on after she was sent to her room, but she knew enough. Her sisters, with Polina’s guidance, did what their ancestors had always done. They helped people. They welcomed them into this unextraordinary little house, listened to them, counseled them with the gift that remained to the Chernyavskys: the empathetic, righteous rage of women who knew what it meant to have everything taken away from them. First impressions: I was immediately caught by the title, then knew that I had to read this after seeing the stunning cover and reading the blurb. Anything with folklore and magic is something I am eager to read! I was so excited to get my hands on an e-ARC of this book, as the UK release date has still not been decided but the summary just sounds like perfection! At first, I struggled a little with all of the names and the different characters, but before long I was racing through this. The prologue reads almost like the introduction to a fairytale and I loved the idea that the story could be very different depending on who is telling the story. Ruby has grown up being told that her family fled Russia because of being hunted for their powers, powers which have now weakened as they suppress them to keep themselves safe. The family is predominantly women, with men seeming to appear for only long enough to father a daughter. At some point in their teenage years all of the girls have a vision in which they see their Time; they might not see their own death but they see themselves at the age they will die. Ruby has been taught that there is no way to avoid your Time and has accepted that her life will never become much of anything. Yet, when her great aunt Polina dies at 95 years old, her actual death does not match what has been recorded as her Time in the family’s book of records, for the first time in known history. In trying to find out why and with the glimmering possibility of changing her own or her beloved cousin Cece’s time, Ruby discovers that the secrets her family are keeping run far deeper and colder than she had ever imagined. Ruby is a realistic character and I loved seeing how her relationships with all those around her began to develop, especially in light of the fact that she starts the book resigned to the fate that she has seen in her vision of her Time. The gradual flowering of hope and disbelief as she digs down into her family history was almost painful to watch as she begins to wish for more and lets people around her get closer…but always with the knowledge of her Time overshadowing everything. Dov was another favourite character even before his backstory is revealed, and I liked how down-to-earth he and Ruby are when discussing this past and what it means for them as they tentatively begin to explore a relationship. Dov’s family dynamic also challenges you as the reader to think about good and evil and how multi-faceted people and their decisions can be. In reading this I was transported into a world very much like our own, but with an undercurrent of magic running through it, where folktales and fairytales become family history and choices are shaped by ancestral memory. Immersive, thought-provoking and magical, this is one not to be missed! When you knew your expiration date—or near enough—you knew what to expect out of life, what to hope for, and what not to hope for. As Polina had said, you knew who you would be, and so you knew who you were. Maybe it wasn’t the death you would have picked, or the years you would have asked for, but you made peace with your Time. You looked it in the face, and you were stronger for doing so. You certainly didn’t run from it. As if you even could. Ruby’s first instinct had been right, of that she was certain; the story meant something. Fairy tales weren’t just important to her family, they were history. They were legacy. And this one had made its way from Polina to Evelina to Annie, falling into Cece’s and Ruby’s hands years later. Like the Chernyavskys, it, too, was trying its hardest to survive. There must be a reason for that. And then there was Polina’s inscription. Remember this, Evelina: if time is a prize you want to win, you must prepare to lose. Time was exactly what she was after. She’d felt a secret clock ticking inside of her since she was thirteen, but what if it could be stopped? According to stories, the Chernyavskys had been powerful enough to do just that, once. And if Ruby could be strong enough—and smart enough—then she could save herself and Cece, too. She could take back what belonged to her, because judging by Polina’s thwarted fate, it had never truly been abandoned. And there was nothing she wasn’t prepared to risk to find it. She didn’t have much to lose in the first place. What I liked: Ruby and Cece’s relationship, Ruby’s sisters and how so much character was denoted by just a few lines, the influences of folklore and fairytales, Dov as a love interest and how sweet he is! Even better if: I think that this is meant to be a stand-alone, but the ending seemed very much like it could be setting up for a sequel! I would love it if there were to be a second book! How you could use it in your classroom: This would be a great addition to any library catering for readers of teenage or fantasy books. Sections of this book could be used to spark discussions about the importance of family, the experience of immigrants, sexuality and transgender issues, etc.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader

    RTC for blog tour. Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for my copy for review.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    I admit I’m not entirely sure what to think about this book. For the first half, i kept hoping something was going to happen to break up the complete self-absorption of our main character. For the second half, i was struggling to understand the family dramas unfolding and why decisions were made and actions taken. This is the story of a 16-year-old girl who comes from a line of people whose magical gift is to the see the time of their own deaths. As stated, for the first half of the book, this g I admit I’m not entirely sure what to think about this book. For the first half, i kept hoping something was going to happen to break up the complete self-absorption of our main character. For the second half, i was struggling to understand the family dramas unfolding and why decisions were made and actions taken. This is the story of a 16-year-old girl who comes from a line of people whose magical gift is to the see the time of their own deaths. As stated, for the first half of the book, this gift leads to teenagers, who are already prone to self absorption, spending all of their time trying to analyze this vision they receive during adolescence. Of all the “powers” a person could have, this really seems the most useless. Particularly because it leads to everyone’s obsession with figuring out what it means and how to thwart it. As the book evolves, more is revealed about the family’s history and the bogey men that haunt them, and i kept thinking of a line from Six of Crows, the last book i read, “we are all somebody’s monster.” I enjoyed the discussion of gender in an unconventional way, and appreciated the inclusion of non-heterosexual relationships in the story. However, on the other hand, it seemed a bit too forced, although hard to discuss without spoilers. It appears that this book sets the stage for a follow up, and i may read that to see if some of my unanswered questions are resolved in the future. However, I sense my questions are unanswered due to poor explanations and the author’s desire for the reader to simply be on board without explaining why things happened the way they did. Bottom line, I’m not sure that i would recommend this book to anyone. It was fine, but I’m not sure that the reader comes away enhanced in any way, particularly given the selfishness of so many characters. So much more could have been done with this story. My thanks to the publisher for providing an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) The Wise and the Wicked is a story about confronting our fate, of wondering if we are willing to sacrifice what it takes to change it, and go against what we thought. It's a story of expectations, of bravery, and friendship. All while it being a story about stories themselves, about heroes and villains, and whether we can find the power in our blood to re-write our ending. full review: (Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) The Wise and the Wicked is a story about confronting our fate, of wondering if we are willing to sacrifice what it takes to change it, and go against what we thought. It's a story of expectations, of bravery, and friendship. All while it being a story about stories themselves, about heroes and villains, and whether we can find the power in our blood to re-write our ending. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brooke Banks

    I received this book for free from Fantastic Flying Book Club in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Ohhhhhhhhh boy. The Wise + the Wicked is like Anna-Marie McLemore meets Noami Novak in contemporary America with cell phones. Lead by a critical despondent broke-ass nihilist with sticky fingers. Gods, did I love it.  Check it out. Read a sample. Enter to win a copy. All below ⬇ About the wise + the wicked: IMHO: the wise + the wi I received this book for free from Fantastic Flying Book Club in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Ohhhhhhhhh boy. The Wise + the Wicked is like Anna-Marie McLemore meets Noami Novak in contemporary America with cell phones. Lead by a critical despondent broke-ass nihilist with sticky fingers. Gods, did I love it.  Check it out. Read a sample. Enter to win a copy. All below ⬇ About the wise + the wicked: IMHO: the wise + the wicked What's Inside: Feels like if Noami Novak wrote contemporary with queers + cell phones No dead naming!!! Honest ongoing consent talks Love how the magic worked with Dov. It's so easy  to be trans* inclusive!!! D'awwww the cousin romance misunderstanding Ruby's family is working poor Technology included Ruby loves science and Carl Sagan Ruby is SO relatable. I love her. Love how fierce & direct Talia is Love CeeCee's bright style, optimism, and support Dov grew on me (that lunch tray scene bugged me, okay?) & adore them as a couple Cousin best friends Sisters raising sisters I loved it all right up until the last little bit. They're all honest flawed kids struggling with magic, history, and secrets. Adults, we really need to be thinking about what we claim to keep from kids "to protect them". More like make us uncomfortable... The romances worked on so many levels for me. Too bad we couldn't see more of CeeCee + boo. I didn't want to stop reading and couldn't wait to pick it up again. Curiostiy was killing. Much like Ruby and her podcast. The ending & I did not mesh well. I'm with Ruby on this one...Which was the point of course. Like, I get it but it wasn't satisfying. I think the kids couldn't done more during the fight and there'd be more possibilities if we knew more about this wide world.   I think teens will like how it concludes more than us fuddy duddys. And as the days pass and I think about it more, I appreciate what Podos did here. I'm okay with not getting a sequel since it fits so well. I'll def be watching for more from Podos. We need so much more of what she's serving up! Read a sample with the first three chapters HERE! It includes two of my favorite quotes! fav quotes from the wise + the wicked: They welcomes them into this unextraordinary little house, listened to them, counseled them with the gif that remained to the Chernyavsky: the empathetic, righteous rage of women who knew what it meant to have everything taken away from them.   Her cousin's friends stopped all at once, a school of ish scared by the cry of the Common Loon.   Pearls form around a speck of grit to protect the oyster, and so to protect us from what we can't yet understand, stories grow around a grain of truth.   It wasn't really the having that made her feel powerful. It was the taking.     [...] if time is a prize you want to win, you must prepare to lose.     [Her sisters] believed they were safe as long as they were small, as if submission had ever really protected women.     About the Author: Giveaway: Prize: Win a copy of THE WISE AND THE WICKED by Rebecca Podos (INT) Start Date: 22nd May 2019 End Date: 5th June 2019 a Rafflecopter giveaway Tour Schedule: This review was originally posted on The Layaway Dragon

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jenna (Falling Letters)

    Review originally published 21 May 2019 at Falling Letters On first glance, I might consider The Wise and the Wicked a read alike to a number of other YA novels I loved: The Devouring Gray (small town, families with powers and dark past), The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender (immigrant family, generational story, fabulism), The Weight of Feathers (romance, muddled family feud). But in many ways, this book just didn’t click for me like those ones. The prose style and character Review originally published 21 May 2019 at Falling Letters On first glance, I might consider The Wise and the Wicked a read alike to a number of other YA novels I loved: The Devouring Gray (small town, families with powers and dark past), The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender (immigrant family, generational story, fabulism), The Weight of Feathers (romance, muddled family feud). But in many ways, this book just didn’t click for me like those ones. The prose style and characters’ behaviours are far more contemporary than I usually read. The fabulism aspects technically drive the plot but they felt more like a backdrop than the driving force of the story. I felt like there were gaps in the story that made it less compelling than it could have been. Snippets of fairy tales, family history, and a podcast are included throughout but I didn’t find them very interesting. (I don’t think the podcast was necessary, though I’m biased against podcasts to begin with.) I didn’t connect with any of the characters. While I don’t think there was anything particularly bad about this book (if i was trying to be objective, I might say the plot is a bit dry given its execution and the narrative style), this clearly wasn’t the right book for me. To paraphrase the above in a more helpful way: If you prefer more fairy tale than contemporary, you can probably skip The Wise and the Wicked. I didn’t know to expect queer rep so that was at least a pleasant surprise. (Can you tell this was my first Podos novel? :P) There are lesbian, bi, and trans characters. In some instances these identities are important to the narrative and in others they are incidental. Romantic relationships play a larger role than I expected. But, I did find the story became a bit more interesting when Dov started to play a larger role (he’s a nice kid). The Bottom Line: While this book holds a lot of the appeal factors I look for in YA fiction, Podos doesn’t execute them in the style that I prefer. I imagine this story appealing to others who read and enjoy a broader range of YA novels than I do.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Audrey (missaudreyclass)

    “Stories are living things [...] not just ink on a page,” for they are born, grow, and “die off if they’re not cared for or fed” (Podos 239). Ruby Chernyavsky comes from a long line of women and their stories, stories about magic, power, and the danger that comes with both. When the original Chernyavsky sisters fled Russia for America, they left much of their magical knowledge behind. Now, a couple generations later, Ruby, her sisters, and her cousins don’t know all of their ancestors’ magic, bu “Stories are living things [...] not just ink on a page,” for they are born, grow, and “die off if they’re not cared for or fed” (Podos 239). Ruby Chernyavsky comes from a long line of women and their stories, stories about magic, power, and the danger that comes with both. When the original Chernyavsky sisters fled Russia for America, they left much of their magical knowledge behind. Now, a couple generations later, Ruby, her sisters, and her cousins don’t know all of their ancestors’ magic, but they do know one thing: who and where they will be when they die. The past means everything to Ruby. Family means EVERYTHING to Ruby. In fact, family is “the only thing—where you came from and who you were” (109). However, when Ruby’s Aunt Polina’s vision of her “Time” is revealed to be wildly different than the reality of her death, everything that was once clear—family, the past, the future—becomes muddy, unpredictable...changeable. Is there hope for a fate beyond what has been seen and scribbled with finality into the family notebook? Ruby vows to find out, whatever the cost. I thought this was an interesting book about choice and one’s role in writing his or her own destiny. It’s also a reminder to look for WHO is holding the pen when the story is finished. I really enjoyed the parallels between the podcast Ruby loves and the Russian fairytales (original fairytales are always wickedIy violent; like...hello, Brothers Grimm! Saw off any stepsisters’ toes lately??) with Ruby’s story. The Wise and the Wicked can get pretty dark, so it is recommended for 9th grade and above. I’ll post some of the amazing lit devices @rebeccapodos uses in a later post, because I am definitely going to use some of her lines as mentor texts in my classroom.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mo

    I liked The Wise and the Wicked, but it felt sort of squished together. Just as I was getting a stronger sense of who the characters were, the story became an action-adventure tale. That shift seemed abrupt and sort of thrown together. I did really enjoy the ways Rebecca Podos explored how fairy tales and family stories change over time, and it was nice to read some Russian fairy tales. Also, yay for queer rep that includes trans folks! It makes me SO happy that I'm seeing more YA adult novels w I liked The Wise and the Wicked, but it felt sort of squished together. Just as I was getting a stronger sense of who the characters were, the story became an action-adventure tale. That shift seemed abrupt and sort of thrown together. I did really enjoy the ways Rebecca Podos explored how fairy tales and family stories change over time, and it was nice to read some Russian fairy tales. Also, yay for queer rep that includes trans folks! It makes me SO happy that I'm seeing more YA adult novels with LGBTQIA+ characters interacting and representing queerness and gender along a spectrum. 6/17/19 ETA: In light of discussions I've been seeing about both Something Like Gravity and The Madness Blooms--and who gets to tell their own stories, I'm sorry for my last two sentences (above). My sincere apologies if my ignorance was hurtful to anyone. I will try to do better going forward.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Haley Renee The Caffeinated Reader

    Podos starts this book with a leap into a world that I want to just never leave. She gives us a YA fantasy with a darker spin but leaving throughout the story glimpses of hope and goodness. Honestly, the little intro/prologue was so tantalizing that I knew I was going to love this book if it kept up that kind of dark fairytale feel, and it did. She weaves in Russian fairytales and folklore with a modern twist, and she doesn't lean on them so heavily that her own story doesn't stand out because i Podos starts this book with a leap into a world that I want to just never leave. She gives us a YA fantasy with a darker spin but leaving throughout the story glimpses of hope and goodness. Honestly, the little intro/prologue was so tantalizing that I knew I was going to love this book if it kept up that kind of dark fairytale feel, and it did. She weaves in Russian fairytales and folklore with a modern twist, and she doesn't lean on them so heavily that her own story doesn't stand out because it does, it truly does. Ruby is dealing with being part of a large family of women who have been gifted with a power that was nearly the whole family's undoing. Because of that, their powers are diminished but one remains, they are able to see their Time. Knowing her time, Ruby much like everyone else was a prisoner to her fate. She acts out with skipping classes like most normal teenagers and stealing things just for the thrill of feeling power in herself, where she knows she's powerless to her fate. She's not a one-dimensional character, she is full of her own fears and even hopes when the death of someone close reveals a possible glimmer of hope. There is diversity as well, we have [bisexual, though this is only mentioned so far] lesbian, and transgender representation and they're not background or side characters, they all have their own voices and are wonderful to get to know. I especially love the twist that the magic knew the true gender of the transgender character, it was nice to see that the magic recognized what was within them. There is romance, but it's not the real focus of the story and it's done really well so that though it's not at the forefront, you're left feeling pretty satisfied with where it's going. I would say the message of love is that of family and not just by blood but perhaps what you make of who you have (though in this case, it is mostly blood, just a matter of maybe a cousin is more important than say another more immediate family member). I really loved how Podos handled all the women in the family, they're all so different and strong in their own ways and you couldn't help but want to get to know them all better. Not to mention, CeeCee and Ruby are like two sides of a coin and that's also another great part, their bond as best friends and not just family. Definitely a 5/5 Cups of Coffee read for me and I really want to thank Harper Collins/Balzer + Bray, Rebecca Podos, and The Fantastic Flying Book Club for the opportunity to read this book which I read voluntarily in exchange for my honest review on this tour.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    This is a Russian folklore inspired contemporary fantasy. I enjoyed the magic and the history of the magic and the characters and their various relationships and hangups and strengths. I hope there will be another book to follow this one.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Abi (The Knights Who Say Book)

    i want to read this so badly don;t TOUCH me!!

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