Joint Review: The Wish List by Gabi Stevens

Publisher: Tor
Where did you get this book from: Review Copy from publisher.
Release Date: Out now.

Blurb taken from author’s official website:

When Kristin Montgomery discovers her three aunts are fairy godmothers and she’s next in line for the job, her uncomplicated life disappears like magic. No, not like magic; it is magic. Kristin not only has to deal with burgeoning magical powers, but also a reluctant arbiter, a selfish sprite, and a suave French sorcerer. It’s bad enough there are no books or classes she can take to learn magic, but someone is out to take over the Arcani world.  Kristin has to trust her heart and her instincts to keep herself and the ones she loves out of danger.

Has: I really liked the idea of a fairytale/bewitched premise of the book. It was a welcome change from the usual paranormal fare of vampires and werewolves. However, I do think the execution of this wasn’t that great. I know Kristin was a newbie and as a reader we were learning the world from her eyes, but I hated that it was mostly telling and not showing this new world. And I felt that the worldbuilding was weak due to this.

Lou: The thought of a modern day and young fairy godmother definitely makes for a change, but I also have to agree with you on the execution. I really, really struggled with this book. I found that we didn’t really see Kristin’s journey of becoming a fairy godmother. And I struggled also with Kristin’s character. I didn’t feel that there was any personality to her, or any emotional development as a character. As you said, there was a lot of telling, but never showing. I didn’t get the sense of what made Kristin tick, what she loved, what she liked. Her personality seemed to be missing, except when she got angry with Tennyson, the hero of the book.

Has: I think the time when she was thrown into the mix with the older forgetful fairy Godmothers, and them not supporting her was also a cliché too. I was pretty frustrated with this because it would have been more interesting with them guiding her instead of showing up much, much later in the book. I found that Tennyson becoming her guide didn’t add any tension to their romance and it felt forced. And his character wasn’t as developed too, there was nothing that stood out for me either.

Lou: Again, this is what I struggled with in the book. There didn’t seem to be a lot of character development for most of the characters. Tennyson was grumpy, he was a scholar, and he was attracted to Kristin. Again, I feel there was no emotional depth. And then when Lucas enters the fray, as a triangle of sorts, that was so predictable, that I knew straight off the bat what his character was going to be.

Has: Oh I agree! This also didn’t endear me to Kristin’s character. For such a sensible person she made mistakes in trusting the wrong people, and although she figured things out later in the book, it was pretty obvious from the beginning who the bad guy was.

Lou: That really bugged me about Kristin. Why was she telling – basically a stranger – about what she was, and what was happening to her, and telling that person what Tennyson was explaining to her. And while we get the backstory of the Arcani world, and the baddie, and how they came to be, I felt the worldbuilding and the actual paranormal aspect was weak. It was simply, wave your wand, and things are magically done instantly.

Has: Exactly and there were no real repercussions and when there was, it was don’t use magic when you’re angry or being weak. I felt that Kristin’s ‘I hate you, but I really like you’ reaction towards Tennyson was also tedious. When she slept with him for the first time and then she was like oh my god what did I do? And then it was back and forth constantly with each other. I felt it didn’t add to the romantic tension – what little there was of it. It was annoying and frankly I didn’t like both characters that much. Zack and Callie, the side characters, had more development and personality.

Lou: See, I didn’t even feel that Callie, Kristin’s fairy friend, and Zack, Tennyson’s human friend, brought anything to the story. I didn’t see the point of their romance as the romance wasn’t shown at all. Everything – in the whole book – happened in such a short space of time, and it all felt rushed – with Kristin learning about being a fairy godmother, from her learning shortly about the world, her learning and using her powers super fast, and the rocky but fast relationship with Tennyson. Add I knew who the baddie was when he was first introduced, and he’s not what I would call a real baddie.

Has: Yup I agree about that speed of her learning her powers. Also, her being a Rare one. It was never really fully explained or shown what that entailed. I found the baddie to be a cardboard baddie – and again clichéd. And why did the bad guy want her so badly? Especially when it was shown that he didn’t have to use her really, when his main objective was the Godmothers themselves.

Lou: I think it was a means for dangerous things to happen to Kristin, that enabled Tennyson to be with her all the time guarding her, which means their romance could develop. While the love scenes were done well, and there were hints of emotion as the story went on, overall, everything just fell flat for me.

Has: I agree with you about the love scenes, but there was no real build-up of tension between Kristin and Tennyson and I found both of their characters almost like caricatures and clichéd and so was the bad guy for that matter. The idea of a light hearted tone and magical world just didn’t fulfil its promise, and I really wanted to like it because the premise sounded fun. But I really struggled to finish this book and it was almost a DNF for me. But I rate this 2.0 stars as I felt the book picked up pace towards the latter end.

Lou: It was nearly a DNF for me also, and I really wanted to like this book as it looked to be a fun read. I think the worldbuilding of the Arcani has great potential to be expanded upon, and the role of the Godmother which was to grant wishes, but there was no real emotion from the characters IMO, and everything felt really rushed. I would give The Wish List 2.0 out of 5 stars also.

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