Review: The Wise and the Wicked

Title: The Wise and the Wicked
Author: Rebecca Podos
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: May 28, 2019
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

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. 


This story reminded me of The Raven Cycle. Ruby’s family is a little like Blue’s family in that series. They both have some mystical powers. The women in Ruby’s family see their death when they get to a certain age. It’s called their Time. They had to flee their original home in Russia generations before because their family was being hunted by a man. This old battle was reopened in this story.

I liked this story but I found some parts confusing and unclear. There are some queer characters, which was great representation. One character was transgender. I thought that the character magically changed gender in some way, so it was only later that I realized they were living as a transgender person.

I also found the multiple generations of the family confusing. There hadn’t been that much time since the family moved from Russia, but they made it sound like it was many generations ago rather than two. A family tree could have helped me keep everything straight.

This is a good story.

Thank you HarperCollins Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

Love and Other Curses by Michael Thomas Ford

Have you read The Wise and the Wicked? What did you think of it?

Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

4 thoughts on “Review: The Wise and the Wicked”

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