Wicked Like A Wildfire by Lana Popovic


My first read of the month was Wicked Like A Wildfire, the debut novel from Lana Popovic. I received a copy of this book in the August ‘Otherworlds’ box from Fairy Loot. It is the first in a fantasy duology which I had seen a lot about on social media with its gorgeous cover art! And as it was a book about witches I was very excited to read it.

The story focuses on twin sisters, Iris and Malina, and the powers that they have with the story narrated by Iris. All of the women in their family possess powers known as ‘the gleam’ which allow them to use magic in different ways. For Iris this is summoned through flowers and for Malina it is music through which she can interpret emotions. Events take place in Montenegro where we see the girls alongside their mother Jasmina with whom they share a difficult relationship. In order to keep a low profile and protect the lives they have built in a quiet town, Jasmina forbids her daughters from sharing their gleams with anyone, as well as warning them not to fall in love. This has an impact on the relationship between a mother and daughter, but everything changes when Jasmina is attacked by a mysterious stranger. She is left in a peculiar state, hovering between life and death, and the girls are left determined to find out who attacked their mother, and why they would do such a thing.

I was intrigued by the premise of this book but it did take me a little while to get into the story and I found the pacing to be a little slower than I prefer. That said this is a beautifully written book which provided plenty of detailed descriptions and a vivid portrayal of this magical world. I liked the concept of the gleam and how each of the women use the gleam in different ways and this was well described. Popovic’s writing is a journey of the senses with the sights, sounds and scents discovered along the way, building up an image of a fascinating family history filled with beauty and magic. Whilst it took me a little longer to get through I was interested to see how events would develop as Iris and Malina begin their journey to find the truth. And along the way they unearth family secrets and learn more about their identities, about their family and of each other. This is a book which deals with themes of family relationships, the bond between two sisters, and with their mother. There is also romance along the way as Iris discovers who she is, and how she can save her family.

Whilst I didn’t enjoy Wicked Like A Wildfire as much as I had hoped I did find the premise to be interesting and enjoyed the setting and the beautifully written scenery. Its conclusion was also an intriguing one so I would be interested in reading the second book in which we should see events from Malina’s perspective.

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