Monday, August 25, 2014

Review: The Fourth Wish (Lindsay Ribar)

The Fourth Wish
Title: The Fourth Wish
Series: sequel to The Art of Wishing
Author: Lindsay Ribar
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Release Date: July 31, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy
Rating: Older Teen (sexual situations, sensuality, some language, minor violence, bullying)
Told: First Person Singular (Margo), Past Tense
Format Read: ARC (from publisher)
Find It On: Goodreads


Here's what Margo McKenna knows about genies: She's seen Aladdin more times than she can count; she's found a magic genie ring and made her three allotted wishes; she's even fallen head over heels in love with Oliver, the cute genie whose life she saved by fighting off another genie. But none of this prepared her for the shock of becoming a genie herself.

Everything Margo's taken for granted--graduating high school, going to college, hating math, performing in the school musical, even being a girl--is in question. Just at a time when she's trying to figure out who she wants to be, Margo is forced to become whomever her master wants. But Margo is also coming into a power she never imagined she'd have. How will she reconcile the two? And where will she and Oliver stand when she's done?

*          *          *

Why I Read It: I absolutely loved the first book, The Art of Wishing, so I couldn't wait to get my hands on the sequel.

Series: This is the sequel to The Art of Wishing, and completes the duology. You definitely have to have read TAOW before reading this book as it picks up immediately where TAOW left off. You can find my review of The Art of Wishing here.

Writing: Such an easy read - Lindsay's style makes me feel like a speed-reader! She has a mastery of description, pace, and her dialogue is superb.

Setting: The real world, but with genies. I think we were (and always have been, actually) in New Jersey? This came as a surprise when I realized it well into this book, but if it's not essential to the story I tend not to notice (I can be a bad reader like that ;).

Story: To my great disappointment, the story was a rollercoaster of frustration for me. I don't think I agreed or liked any of Margo's decisions, and when they were particularly disagreeable I had to put the book down and walk away for a while. As with the first book, I didn't agree with the ending, which really didn't surprise me by the time I got there. Both Margo and Oliver felt like completely different characters from the first book, and I didn't like who they were in this book at all.

Characters: Margo was selfish. Period. She wanted everything her way, on her schedule. It was only when her independent boyfriend resisted that she altered herself to fit him so she wouldn't lose having him all to herself. As mentioned above, this new personality led to no end of frustration for me. If she had stopped to give some thought to not only those around her but the person she had been in the first book, she would've seen the perfect solution to all her problems without doing harm to not only everyone around her but herself as well. And Oliver...I did not enjoy discovering the "real" Oliver. I loved Margo's Oliver in the first book (definitely book boyfriend material), but the "ancient genie with different masters" Oliver just wasn't for me. I understood him, and he was plausible, but he pushed Margo even further in the wrong direction and for it I just couldn't like him.

Romantic Relationship: They'd been together all of a few weeks, and (spoiler) sure she'd killed someone to save him (end of spoiler), but she focused her life around him more than was healthy. We're talking New Moon unhealthy here. While he was a new kind of bad influence, essentially he was the same bad boy rebel that most mothers rightfully warn against, and I just couldn't approve of him and what he did to her - and made her do.

Bullying: A lot of hot-button topics come up in this book, but one that I'm not seeing thrown around is bullying and I feel it warrants mentioning - and not in a good way. I did not like how the Ryan situation went down, and especially ended (spoilers, so I shall be vague). Don't get me wrong he was a first class d-word, but he was basically your average male teen driven by the brain in his pants and I don't think he deserved the level of bullying he received. Considering Margo essentially started the whole mess and did him wrong, when nothing came of it and she didn't learn the important lesson she should've - and the fact that it didn't seriously mess Ryan up when it really should have - I felt the whole situation was not portrayed or handled especially well.

Conclusion: As much as I adored The Art of Wishing, and as much as I wanted to adore this sequel, I just couldn't. It rubbed me the wrong way from all directions, and the changes to both Margo and Oliver's personalities were not good ones. Lindsay's writing was this book's only saving grace, and my love for the first book was the only reason I persevered with this sequel. I will continue to recommend The Art of Wishing to anyone who will listen, but will also be recommending they treat it as a standalone and skip The Fourth Wish.

Read It Again?: Sadly, no

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