Publication Date: March 29th, 2022
Hardcover. 432 pages.
About Wild and Wicked THings:
"On Crow Island, people whisper, real magic lurks just below the surface.
Neither real magic nor faux magic interests Annie Mason. Not after it stole her future. She’s only on the island to settle her late father’s estate and, hopefully, reconnect with her long-absent best friend, Beatrice, who fled their dreary lives for a more glamorous one.
Yet Crow Island is brimming with temptation, and the biggest one may be her enigmatic new neighbor.
Mysterious and alluring, Emmeline Delacroix is a figure shadowed by rumors of witchcraft. And when Annie witnesses a confrontation between Bea and Emmeline at one of the island's extravagant parties, she is drawn into a glittering, haunted world. A world where the boundaries of wickedness are tested, and the cost of illicit magic might be death."
I’m disappointed to say that I did not end up enjoying Wild and Wicked Things nearly as much as I’d hoped or thought I might. The premise was strong and I loved a lot of the ideas associated with the magic–I love plants!–and the setting and atmosphere, but unfortunately the characters and the plot itself just didn’t end up having an execution that worked for me. I also want to point out that there are a myriad of content warnings to consider throughout this book, as it does get a bit dark at times, so do keep that in mind when going into this book.
Annie Mason arrives on Crow Island at the request of her recently deceased father to settle his affairs and to reconnect with her old friend, Beatrice, and while there she discovers that magic of the most illicit sort might be more prevalent on the mysterious island than she expected. Naturally, she finds herself drawn into a twisted, complex, and potentially deadly situation that ends up altering her life in ways she couldn’t have predicted.
My biggest problem while reading Wild and Wicked Things was probably the fact that I didn’t care for any of the characters, to the extent that I truly didn’t care what happened to them because I wasn’t really that invested in their stories or relationships with one another. Annie, Beatrice, and Emmeline were all incredibly frustrating to me and I couldn’t understand or get behind any of their actions. There was so much drama and tension between everyone, but nothing was ever fleshed out to the point that I could understand it–I felt like I was constantly eavesdropping on arguments without ever hearing the full context of what the argument was about, and by the time I figured it out I didn’t care anymore. There was just something about the way these characters interacted that felt so disconnected and frustrating to me, and it’s honestly hard to put my finger on exactly what it was, other than poor communication. I’m not sure if issues with the characters is something other people struggled with or if it’s more of a “me” thing, but it was one of the biggest reasons I couldn’t get into the story and considered putting it down before finishing.
This was a weird book as far as pacing goes because I found myself constantly up and down while reading it. For instance, when I first started Wild and Wicked Things I was enraptured by the first couple chapters and had high hopes for the book. And then, suddenly, I found myself rapidly losing interest and it became a bit of a slog to get through the next couple chapters. Then, once again, something happened and I was re-interested in the story, and so on and so forth for most of the book, which is why I went back and forth on whether or not to DNF it pretty much until I ended up finishing the book. There were many moments of intriguing plot or world-building, but countering that were a lot of moments of poor characterization, confusing plot, a lack of information coupled with weird inserts of information that didn’t fit, and nothing that really did enough to grab me.
One of the most compelling parts of this book for me, however, was indeed the magic itself, and I wish this had somehow been explained more thoroughly or clearly. I loved the idea of the magic being plant-based and some of the elements that went into it, but there were too many confusing elements as well that weren’t explained as if to keep the readers in the dark for storytelling effect, but it didn’t work for me and I ended up not having as much interest and feeling lost instead.
I’d also like to end on another positive point by saying that May’s writing was beautiful and attention-grabbing and is one of the main reasons that I probably had a hard time deciding whether or not to keep reading the book or not. There is something alluring and compelling about her writing that kept drawing me back, and this coupled with the deliciously dark and mysterious atmosphere of Crow Island are what ultimately led me to keep reading this book even when I was unsure about other elements.
Overall, I’ve given Wild and Wicked Things 2.75 stars. I definitely think this book will be a hit for a lot of people, but unfortunately it just wasn’t for me. I would love to see what else Francesca May writes because I thought her writing was lovely and I loved the atmosphere she created, I just don’t think this story worked for my taste.
*I received a copy of Wild & Wicked Things courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*