The Wise and the Wicked
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.

The Wise and the Wicked Details

TitleThe Wise and the Wicked
Author
ReleaseMay 28th, 2019
PublisherHarperCollins/Balzer + Bray
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Magical Realism, LGBT

The Wise and the Wicked Review

  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    This cover? The most beautiful thing I've ever seen. The blessings.Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Youtube | Twitch
  • Jane (It'sJaneLindsey)
    January 1, 1970
    Excuse me, this is a stand-alone and it ends like THAT?
  • Ashley Blake
    January 1, 1970
    I had the honor of getting an early read on this book and oh, oh, the world is going to love this beautiful story.
  • Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
    January 1, 1970
    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 DNFOkay 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 DNFOkay 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.
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  • Cassie Stever
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • The Bookavid
    January 1, 1970
    ahhhhhhhhhh magical realism ahhhhhhhhh russian-inspired ahhhhhhhhhhh psychic sisters ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh i want this so badly!
  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    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?
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  • Jacquelyn White
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    January 1, 1970
    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
  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Kalie
    January 1, 1970
    (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.
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  • Aleksandra
    January 1, 1970
    #ownvoices Russian rep! I'm excited!
  • Karen • The Book Return
    January 1, 1970
    Read this review and more on my blog.The Book Return BlogRuby 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 BlogRuby 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
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  • Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader
    January 1, 1970
    RTC for blog tour.Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for my copy for review.
  • USOM
    January 1, 1970
    (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...
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  • Christina Reid
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Brooke Banks
    January 1, 1970
    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 2019End Date: 5th June 2019a Rafflecopter giveaway Tour Schedule: This review was originally posted on The Layaway Dragon
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  • Jenna (Falling Letters)
    January 1, 1970
    Review originally published 21 May 2019 at Falling LettersOn 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 LettersOn 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.
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  • Nadia
    January 1, 1970
    since we're getting closer to the release date, i would just like to tell you this book has RUSSIAN AMERICAN QUEER GIRLS!!! AND IM VERY EXCITED!!! okay that's all
  • Abi (The Knights Who Say Book)
    January 1, 1970
    i want to read this so badly don;t TOUCH me!!
  • LaRonda (Flying Paperbacks)
    January 1, 1970
    *I received an eArc of this book from the Publishers through Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review*11/19-- This cover? PLEASING TO THE EYE.
  • Erica C
    January 1, 1970
    arc provided by corner bookstore Ruby Chernyavsky, avid Carl Sagan reader and lifelong skeptic, has no use for her magic-touched sisters and aunts. But even she carries her family’s residual gift/curse--she knows who she’ll be when she dies. Rich with everyday culture and dark Russian folklore, Ruby’s tale asks questions about self, family, and above all: When fate says you’ll never be who you want, what would you sacrifice to change it?… This book altogether surprised me. At first, I unfairly v arc provided by corner bookstore Ruby Chernyavsky, avid Carl Sagan reader and lifelong skeptic, has no use for her magic-touched sisters and aunts. But even she carries her family’s residual gift/curse--she knows who she’ll be when she dies. Rich with everyday culture and dark Russian folklore, Ruby’s tale asks questions about self, family, and above all: When fate says you’ll never be who you want, what would you sacrifice to change it?… This book altogether surprised me. At first, I unfairly viewed its personality as a modern teenaged caricature: a child’s voice dressed up in edgy clothes and drinking too much vodka. I mocked its Romeo-and-Juliet fairytale as contrived woke-ness, complete with annoying twist: “surprise! she actually likes his sister!” But just like the parents in YA movies, I had entirely, completely misunderstood this novel. Yes, this teenager is dark. But inside, it is hopeful, a little goofy, and genuinely human, with characters as vibrant as different colors. Despite effort, Podos’ villains aren’t quite morally gray, but the story fascinates despite simple antagonists. And Podos masterfully interweaves lesbian and trans teen problems with tragedies of fate and magical-family duty; her sincerity won out over my (Rowling-induced) skepticism over superficial “diversity” fair and square.
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  • Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔
    January 1, 1970
    I personally enjoy this title much more than The Psychic Sisters of Saltville
  • Elizabeth Mathis
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.Rating: 5/5 PenguinsQuick Reasons: I'm sorry, give me a moment to pick my heart shards back up off the floor; LGBTQIA+ diversity for the win; Russian folklore and magical realism; purple prose; THAT ENDING THOUGH?!?!?!?!?!?!HUGE thanks to Rebecca Podos, Balzer + Bray Publishing, Fantastic Flying Book Club, and Edelweiss for sending a complimentary egalley of this title my way! This in no format altered my read of or opinions on this book. This was the legacy of Solnyshko, Zvyodochka, and Zerkal'tse. Deep green eyes, greatly weakened gifts, and the stories their mother--the granddaughter of the woman in the woods--told them in their beds in the old brick house. Each night, she passed along what diminished wisdom their ancestors had brought with them to their new home, this foremost: that the world has never been very kind to powerful women. My goodness, Penguins, if this book didn't do something to my heart. I blame it entirely on Rebecca Podos's ability to slither between the bones with her colorful, richly painted prose and allow her characters to breathe from the essence of all the things that complete you. I got sucked in from the very beginning, and now I can't quite seem to find a way to suck myself back out, because THAT ENDING!!! As said a few times throughout this read, stories sometimes lie...and I can't quite make up my mind on whether or not that was entirely the point of how this story ends.I really dig the LGBTQIA+ representation in this read. The characters are well-rounded and almost fully fleshed out, though I'll admit to being just a teensy bit overwhelmed at the beginning of this journey. It took me just a moment to fully wrap my head around the fact that I wasn't, perhaps, going to be given all the answers all at once. That I might, just maybe, be required to work a little to keep certain plot lines straight. Not for any BAD reasons, but because there are a lot of secrets hiding between these characters...and that leads to a LOT of unexpected twists (and reader whiplash) along the way. "Stories are living things, Ruby, not just ink on a page. Stories are power. They're born, and they grow with time, and they die off if they're not cared for or fed. They exist to fulfill a purpose. They can be dangerous. And sometimes, they lie." The Wise and the Wicked was wild from start to finish, and I am so very happy that I was given the opportunity to read it! Between the beautifully written characters, purple prose, and lush (albeit often surprising) world-building, my head was spinning by the end of this journey in all the right ways. I'd definitely recommend this read to lovers of magical realism, Russian folklore, and endings that leave a LOT of room for interpretation. You don't know what you don't know until you force yourself to learn it, Penguins...and even then, sometimes, you're not meant to.
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  • OneMamaReads
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars**** Ruby Chernyavsky's time is running out, according to the powers left over from her powerful Russian family. But now, her great-Aunt Polina has defied her Time and lived far passed the prediction. So, can Ruby save herself and her best friend/cousin Cece from their Times as well? What price is she willing to pay for a little bit more life?This novel had everything you could hope for in a Russian folklore tale. Witches, healing powers, feuding families, star crossed love, morally gre 4.5 stars**** Ruby Chernyavsky's time is running out, according to the powers left over from her powerful Russian family. But now, her great-Aunt Polina has defied her Time and lived far passed the prediction. So, can Ruby save herself and her best friend/cousin Cece from their Times as well? What price is she willing to pay for a little bit more life?This novel had everything you could hope for in a Russian folklore tale. Witches, healing powers, feuding families, star crossed love, morally grey characters and powerful women. Ruby and her sisters charm the readers with their sisterly devotion. Each of them is so different, but they are a tight unit. So, when Ruby begins to hold secrets from them, you can tell that she may be going down the wrong path, following the wrong advice, trusting someone who abandoned her.The story started off slowly, but was peppered throughout with stories told to characters, or read in old books. They were whimsical, dark, magical. As well, I loved the Podcast that seemed to mirror the emotions that Ruby was going through, Solving for X-traordinary. The premises for the podcast was fascinating (a girl causes an explosion in her lab, which sends her flying through time, and she must create an explosion again to find her way back), and held to the science interests of Ruby, while also traversing through history and geography. Ruby's fascination with science and Carl Sagan also adds to the strangeness of the tale, as she begins to understand the powers of her family and how unscientific and impossible they seem to be. I like the conflict that happens between her rational mind and her survival instincts.Dov is a good counterbalance to Ruby. He is popular, strong, proud, purposeful. He has a father and a mother, a devoted sister, and he seems to be willing to open his heart to Ruby. His family was very interesting as well, and I liked the idea that different sides tell different stories, and both may be true in a sense, or false. Because both of their families history is so old, it is hard to trust the accuracy.Family is very important in this novel as well. Family can be both a comfort and a noose. They are important, and it is through messages from Polina, Evelina and Ruby that the reader soon discovers sometimes family is not everything you think it is. Often times family members hold the biggest secrets, or do something they think protects others, but really hinders them. Can we be better than our parents, can we be better than our family feuds? What power does a new generation have against generations of tradition? When Ruby begins to put her faith and trust in the right family, they become her strength and her power. ​There is a lot in here about the power of words, of stories. How they are twisted by time or need, their true meaning lost or only grains of truth left. Words can scar, can cut, can mend or heal. Words are strength and weakness, and we often use them as weapons, when they should be used as bandages. Ruby's family passes their history down from daughter to daughter, but is it an accurate history, or a fictional story told in order to placate, hide the horrible truth of their bloodline? I highly recommend this very magical story about a girl trying to slide through her remaining days, who begins to find reasons she wants to fight to live. Only, fighting to live means sacrificing pieces of herself that she can never regain. All magic comes with a price, what would you be willing to pay?I was sent a copy of this ARC by HCC Frenzy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kelsey!
    January 1, 1970
    Review based on an ARC from Edelweiss Plus.I really enjoyed the first part of this story but it was so slow with virtually no plot advancement (I know things *happened* but nothing felt terribly important, if that makes sense) that I started to lose my interest about halfway through, and then the final 30ish pages blew by so fast that it left me scratching my head, wondering what exactly just happened and how all the main action had been distilled to so few pages. The "resolution" was deeply uns Review based on an ARC from Edelweiss Plus.I really enjoyed the first part of this story but it was so slow with virtually no plot advancement (I know things *happened* but nothing felt terribly important, if that makes sense) that I started to lose my interest about halfway through, and then the final 30ish pages blew by so fast that it left me scratching my head, wondering what exactly just happened and how all the main action had been distilled to so few pages. The "resolution" was deeply unsatisfying to me (Kirkus says there'll be a sequel? That make sense.) and I didn't like many of the characters by the end because they didn't seem to have well-rounded personalities, except for Dov. (I really enjoyed him and would have preferred a book told from his point of view.)I've got a LOT of feelings about the ending-- major spoilers ahead: (view spoiler)[I wasn't a fan of the means of revealing the story pieces. Of course the evil mother figure has a monologue where she conveniently gets to explain her backstory and reasons for everything— which felt disingenuine, given what we know of Evelina and her history with her family. Given how manipulative and evil she is portrayed, why would she decide to be honest with her daughter juuuust before a ritual, instead of selling her some believable lie to make her follow-through? And of COURSE Ruby has a last-minute plan to get back-up help that leaves the reader purposely left in the dark until said help arrives. And of COURSE Talia, Dov, and Cece immediately forgive Ruby for using them and/or lying to them, despite it being pretty much all her fault that things escalated to this point. The whole Cece-and-Talia-leave-town-while-Dov-and-Ruby-stayed-behind just felt off— I thought it would make more sense for Ruby to run away while Cece rallies the rest of the family to stand up against Eveline and protect Ruby. ALSO, I'm still mad we didn't get to see the culmination of the showdown between Evelina and Mrs. Mahalel— THAT would have been amazing.As for general plot thoughts, I was reeeally hoping that it would turn out all the family members had similar Times (or at least the sisters) but never knew because they it wasn't something they talked about it-- and it would turn out their Times were actually symbolic endings of the family gifts because once they DID grow closer and recognize the common thread in their Times, they would work together to end the family legacy— that way it would be a critique on the superficiality of family bonds while simultaneously highlighting the power of chosen family bonds. Just sayin'. Maybe it will but that’s not the sense I got upon finishing this book— it felt a lot more magical showdown than family togetherness, though I suppose the two aren’t mutually exclusive. (hide spoiler)]I do think it was well-written overall! The writing style was right up my alley and made it go by fast. I appreciate the overall idea but probably won't be seeking out the sequel.
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  • Jackie
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Claire
    January 1, 1970
    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.*
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  • Steph
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to HarperCollins and Edelweiss+ for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. I have to apologize because I had to stop reading this halfway through the book. I just couldn't get myself into this book at all. I picked it up 5 different times and tried to finish it. I felt like the main character has a very middle grade voice and therefore I had a hard time relating to her story. There were also a lot of details about the family problems and I felt like I was reading a diary that I jus Thank you to HarperCollins and Edelweiss+ for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. I have to apologize because I had to stop reading this halfway through the book. I just couldn't get myself into this book at all. I picked it up 5 different times and tried to finish it. I felt like the main character has a very middle grade voice and therefore I had a hard time relating to her story. There were also a lot of details about the family problems and I felt like I was reading a diary that I just was not interested in. The concept of the story seemed really cool. How all the women in the family see a vision of themselves at death and how they all learn to cope with that. I truly hope other readers enjoy this book! It just wasn't for me!
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