Society of Wishes
by Elise Kova
Series: Wish Quartet #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy, paranormal, magic, dystopia
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR. Josephina Espinosa makes her living as a hacker-for-hire in the Lone Star Republic, a remnant of the fractured U.S.A. That is, until the day she and her best friend are gunned down in a government raid. With her dying breath, Jo uses magical lore passed down from her grandmother to summon a wish-granter. Her wish? To save her friend’s life. Except wishes have costs, and for Jo, the price is the erasure of her entire mortal existence. Now, as the most recent addition to the mysterious Society of Wishes, Jo must form a new “life” alongside the seven other members, one of which being her savior himself. Living as an occupant of the Society’s lavish mansion should be quite the perk, but while it is furnished with everything its inhabitants could possibly need, it lacks one thing—freedom. Her otherworldly identity crisis takes a backseat, however, when Jo learns that the friend she sacrificed everything for is headed down the same path to ruin. Jumping in head-first, Jo uses her newfound magical abilities to protect him, only to realize that the ripples of her actions have far-reaching consequences. When the Society’s aloof leader Snow decides to give her a taste of his own ancient magic, Jo discovers that there are threads woven into the tapestry of her new reality that reach far beyond the wishes she is now required to grant. Ones that, if tugged on, could mean the unraveling of the world itself.
I received a free copy for an honest review.
Let me start off this review with a little story.
Elise Kova, the author of this book released the first ARC version for this book in December 2017. I also received that version, but before I got a chance to finish it, she updated it to a newer version. She actually reviewed the feedbacks carefully, enough to entirely upgrade and almost re-writing the entire book.
I want to praise her for this because her action is a great role model for many writers out there: don’t be afraid of reviews. They can be intimidating, but they are there to help. Use it to your advantage. This was the whole point of ARCs. The only reason it’s given out in “advance” is so that the reviewers can maybe point out possible adjustments just in time for the author to fix and improve.
I know there are other authors out there who does this (I’ve witnessed no more than three for me personally though), but I just want to give this a shout-out because how much respect I have for her for doing this, and I feel like this is a great example for other authors to look up to if they ever feel uncomfortable reading reviews. Elise Kova was already one of my favorite authors, but this specific event just made me love her more.
Just like how Elise is busy improving her book from all the feedback she got, Society of Wishes is basically a story of someone constantly trying to fix her mistakes through time, magic, and dimensional manipulation. Society of Wishes dives into a type of story-telling that has been proven many times as the downfall of many artist and creators due to how tricky it is: the concept of time and worlds. The key to writing a good urban fantasy story with contents like this is simple: clear explanations that allow readers to understand, and to make your story/series arc ten times more obvious because it would not be running in the normal time flow and order.
This concept also corresponds to other genres. For example, genres such as espionage and mystery must be very careful of their story pace because the genre itself already required a slower pace than normal. Due to the fact that truths and hints can only be unraveled one layer at a time in order to maintain the mystery factor and to not give away everything too quickly or easily.
In this book though, the story arc was a little bit too weak for me, it was not really clear. I first suspected that when I already went over the half of the book but still don’t know what the book is really about. But I confirmed it after I finished the book and still felt like I don't know clearly what the story arc is, and what is the core problem that the story should've revolved around.
Normally, after I finished a book, I can clearly visualize an arc (literally an actual physical arc, like a hill with bullet points on it, leading up to a clear climax) that shows how the story is built up to that one core problem of the story. This problem is not bad enough for me to say that the author is completely off the mark, but it’s just something I feel (and is really having trouble explaining, so I’m really sorry if this is not as clear as I had hoped).
However, this can be viewed as a good thing and a bad thing. My reviewer side clearly sees this as a negative factor, but if I look at this point from the perspective of a reader that just want to enjoy a story, good or bad, I actually like this. It’s because this story focuses so much on introducing the characters and explaining the world that caused the story to prioritize less on a single core problem that stories usually revolves around. But because there’s not core problem and this book focused so much on introduction, I can just relax and enjoy the world of this book, and not have to worry too much on some world-ending problem. In fact, I’ll go ahead and say that the whole purpose of this book is to just get the readers warm up for the series.
Either way, there is one clear thing both my reviewer side and bookworm side agrees: this is one hell of a very enjoyable book. This is while all things aside, I actually really love this book (and its idea), and I'm very excited to read and continue the journey of this series. Elise did not disappoint.
My technical side (reviewer side) may give this book three and a half stars, but because I enjoyed this book so much (and yes I am kind of biased toward Elise Kova deal with it), I'll still give this book our stars.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elise Kova is the USA Today bestselling author of the Air Awakens series, Loom Saga, and Wish Quartet. In her past lives, she has graduated from an MBA program, lived in Japan for a bit, and worked for a Fortune 500 technology company. However, she finds herself much happier in her current reincarnation as full-time author. When not writing, she can usually be found playing video games, drawing, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media. She’s happy to call Saint Petersburg, Florida, her home, but is always looking forward to her next trip.