Wick

Title: Wick

Publisher/Author: Megan Derr

Pages: 223pp

Price: $15.99 / $5.99

Hollowick is a prince of the realm. Forced to hide his magic, he reluctantly accompanies his sister on her engagement trip to a neighboring kingdom; there, he meets Fenwick, who just might offer Hollowick the home and acceptance he so desperately craves …. Tokiwick is a scholar. Abandoned by his family for his refusal to bend to their political ambitions, he enjoys his solitude. When his old friend Hollowick asks him to look over an ancient and enchanted manuscript, Tokiwick agrees, unaware that the soldier sent to escort him will challenge his determination to remain alone, and break through the wall he has built around his heart …. Abused by a cruel professor at the elite Terista Academy, Lyrawick wants only to escape. When the opportunity presents itself, he rescues a little girl from the same fate and flees to safety, unaware that a ghost from his past is waiting for him …. A fearsome fire mage, Creawick has pushed away everyone that he cares about; that is the only way to keep them safe while he struggles to bring down the corrupt Terisa Academy. But when his son is kidnapped, the very family he has driven away are the only ones who can help him …. Starwick is dying. Intercepting a curse that was meant for the Crown Prince, he has only weeks to live. Unless, that is, he can find an ancient artifact. And the bastard prince Tyrwick is determined that Starwick will live, whether he wants to or not ….

There is very little that Megan Derr has written that I have not enjoyed. Her retold fairy tales are particular favorites. But Wick is far and away my favorite, so far. It is filled with highly appealing characters, unrequited love, passion, treachery, magic, and — oh yes — talking unicorns.

Seriously, the lusty gay black unicorn Pence has to be one of the greatest examples of literary trolling I have ever read. I laughed out loud when he appeared on the page, and kept laughing for a good five minutes.

The loosely interlinked short stories build a clear picture of the characters and the world they inhabit. More than a century ago, the Empire was torn apart by civil war and split into separate kingdoms. Scars remain from that war, including hatred and suspicion directed at certain kinds of “wick.” In the world created by Derr, magic is referred to as wick; when that power manifests, the individual adds -wick as a suffix to their given name. I was concerned at first that this would be confusing, but such was not the case; the names are different enough and the characters are well developed enough that I had no problem telling them apart.

Fair warning, though: there are repeated references to child abuse. Though it is never shown on the page, the effects of the abuse are shown, including physical injuries. Additionally, Creawick’s fire magic has left him deeply scarred, which is discussed in the story. Some readers may find this problematic and troubling.

Wick is a terrific fantasy-romance collection. I look forward to the next book, Dualwick, which will be out later this year. Highly recommended to fans of Jordan L. Hawk’s Hexworld series, We Seek No Kings by T. Thorn Coyle, The Tales of Inthya series by Effie Calvin, and The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune.

[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]