By: Jenny Gardner
Weathering the Wicked by C. Penticoff was a quick entertaining read. From the beginning, the author takes care to make the sibling interactions realistic. The twins’ struggle for identity is captured in an interesting light. Many novels focus solely on a strong twin connection, but author Penticoff makes this story more realistic with squabbles, as well as differing personalities. Suddenly, a mystery is afoot, as only June remembers her twin after an unfortunate fight. Her journey to discover a new magical world is underway!
The characters within this novel are fantastic. The author portrays a duality in the twins. June’s sister January is stuck in her personality. The Wicked Sorcerer Murdolf uses those negative personality traits to coerce her. January had a certain maturity in the beginning, but was combative and critical. That combative nature gives the Murdolf a place to plant a seed of darkness–hoping to utilize her to take over the land.
On the other hand, the author takes care to continually develop June’s confidence. Her courage comes forth with her magical abilities. Readers see her change from a flaky, flighty, argumentative sibling, into a reliable wizard, ready to rescue her sister, the stolen princess, and all of Folklaria.
Growing up isolated in a forest, Ryder’s personality is interesting. He’s scared to make any changes and immediately says no to every proposed idea, but will then try those same suggestions. His choice to follow June and Alexis sets the true journey on its way, together seeking answers about those they’ve lost. Once the king and queen enter the story, Ryder loses some of his personality. The mentorship between Jeremiah and Ryder also felt a bit forced at first. However, it slowly began to fit more as Ryder’s character started to develop further. His personal discovery leads to some needed growth that makes him more dynamic by the end.
The only way this story could be better is with more build up. June finds Alexis very quickly after her sister disappears. She is easily convinced to follow Alexis, where she learns of Folklaria. Though this lapse of buildup is explained by fate and “the great spirit,” more skepticism would have been beneficial at this early point. Additionally, June seems to have a bit of a sheltered existence for someone from Washington state. Has she never known women to breastfeed in public? Does she not understood meditation, nor has she encountered it before? It would make more sense to see that reaction from the sheltered Ryder, who grew up in the wild away from the world. From June, it seems odd.
The point of view swaps from character to character throughout the novel. It’s a fun way to see the different occurrences all over Xaris, especially during the initial Folassel festival. This festival is our first introduction to Folklaria, and what a wonderful introduction it is! The author weaves creative elements into the celebrations: new marvelous creatures like unicorns, fairies, and the like. We are introduced to more tales of the land, while the story hints towards the beginning of something special happening within June. The addition of characters like Pixie Roxi and Witch Doctor Destiny allow more of Folklaria’s history to be relayed. Doctor Destiny is a fantastic character! Her adorable clumsiness while creating potions, shock at mortals visiting Xaris, and sarcasm is hilarious.
The climax of the story was intense! It was a fun back and forth, with deception, as well as battle elements at the castle in The Dark Territory. The resolution resulted in more deception, twists, and turns. With a cliff-hanger for the ending, an urgency was created to continue the series!