Book Review: Wink, Poppy, Midnight

23203106

3star

Title: Wink, Poppy, Midnight

Author: April Genevieve Tucholke

Series? No

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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Book Depository


Firstly, let me just get it out of my system and gush about that cover! Now, I don’t consider myself superficial – but I 100% purchased this book based on the merits of its stunning cover alone. The typography, colouring and embellishments on it are all A+++ *satisfied sigh*

“Revenge. Justice. Love. They are the three stories that all other stories are made up of. It’s the trifecta.”

WinkPoppyMidnight

Ahem. What about the content, did you say? I know this book has been met with extremely mixed reception – with people either dismissing it as pretentious nonsense or revering it as a masterpiece. I am firmly on the fence regarding this (I know, neutrality is a bit boring – boo!). On the one hand, I found the vivid writing and fairy tale imageries enchanting. On the other, the plot is overly convoluted – with its ultimate execution falling short of the author’s ambitious plans.

Everyone loved me and I loved myself and I got my way and did what I wanted and I still left people feeling like they were lucky to know me.

The characters in Wink, Poppy, Midnight are certainly memorable. Of the three protagonists, the most contentious figure is undoubtedly the Machiavellian Poppy. Poppy has all of the trappings of the stereotypical Mean Girl – she’s alluring, she’s domineering, she’s a gun at emotional manipulation. In fact, Poppy takes that caricature and turns it up to the nines – with her narration constantly belittling lesser mortals for their stupidity, while being constantly assured of herself. Her wanton ego-trip and unabashed callousness made for some gripping chapters. Yet, Poppy’s preoccupation (borderline obsession) on a boy dampened my enthusiasm for her character arc. Poppy’s personal development is entirely hinged on her male companions in this novel.

How could something so soft and supple and flawless as Poppy’s skin hide a heart as black as hers?

Then there’s Midnight, who plays the straight man – caught between the devious Poppy and the eccentric Wink. Thank goodness for Midnight, or else this book would make absolutely no sense. Poppy has the penchants for megalomaniac plots and long forays into the past, while Wink parallels every single event into a fairy tale. Between the two female characters – we get a plot that’s dense in metaphors and symbolism – without Midnight to decode these events I would have given up on the book. However, Midnight is a frustratingly passive character – who falls from one emotional manipulation into the next. It’s hard to connect with him as a person, and he got very little development throughout the novel.

“All good Heroes are scared, if they know the evil they face.”

Finally, there’s Wink – her chapters alludes to fairy tales and obscure tomes. Wink is completely engrossed in the fictional world, constantly seeking out characters to fill out the positions in her life: the hero, the villain, the monster. What initially starts as quaint and whimsical narration quickly begin to grate on my nerve – in the words of Sansa Stark: Life is not a song. Wink provides much of the thematic elements and magical realism edge to the novel, yet her brand of narration keeps her emotions at a firm arm’s length from the reader. I found it hard to empathise with her internal conflicts.

The kissing was supposed to come at the very end. After the monster, and the fight. After the glass coffin and the pinprick of blood.

The writing itself was elliptical and ornate in the best possible ways, especially when we deal with Poppy’s or Wink’s point of views. Each character had a distinct narrative voice, and I would have quickly identified them even without the chapter headings. Although the majority of the book’s events are mundane in nature, the proses imbued each scene with a sense of magic. Some may call it pretentious, but I adore this sort of writing – and will be back to devour whatever April Genevieve Tucholke releases next.

The best Heroes had a bit of evil in them, to make the good shine all the more for being next to it

As for the plot, it was part mystery, part fairy tale – coerced by Wink and her mysterious ways. The book keeps you guessing about the characters and their respective roles in the tale. There is a pervasive sense of unease throughout the book, and the enigma gradually takes the novel to a darker place. However, the final reveal requires several leaps of the imagination. Due to the preposterous suppositions I had to make in order for the plot twist to work – I felt the book lost some of its magnetic charm towards the end.

I felt the book’s themes intended to culminate in a profound and startling revelation about the nature of stories. However, it missed the mark by a long shot – leaving many readers either confused or discontent. I sat there, waiting for the moment of impact – but it never came. Wink, Poppy, Midnight ultimately feels incomplete.

Wink, Poppy, Midnight is one beautifully written riddle filled with memorable characters. Personally, I didn’t like the book’s answer to the puzzle it proposed – but it might work for you?


 

Tell me guys, do you like clear cut endings or ones which leave you to ponder? Have you read Wink, Poppy, Midnight? What did you think?

29 thoughts on “Book Review: Wink, Poppy, Midnight

  1. I haven’t read this one. Same as you though, I would buy it just because that cover is so freaking pretty!

    I think that endings that want to make you think are really hard to pull off. There is a very fine line between leaving you with different options for meaning and leaving you frustrated and disappointed.

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    1. I hope you end up enjoying it, even if not, you’ll always have a pretty book on your shelf -which isn’t the worst thing in the world 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Both Kynn and Nereyda mentioned how much they disliked this and detailed what went on in this book to me and I don’t think it would be for me unfortunately. The writing sounds really lovely though, but that’s not enough to want me to pick up the book. And the fact that it felt incomplete? I hate open endings/lack of resolution as much as I hate love triangles and cheating in books!
    Lovely review, Aentee!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think you’ll like it Nick so best to steer clear. The writing saved it for me even though the plot was ultimately a little pointless?

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  3. Unfortunately, I am one of those people who wasn’t that fond of Wink Poppy Midnight. >.< I did like that part with the three of them in the Roman Luck House though. That one was intense! Though by the time I finished the book, I had no idea what to feel, or what I was supposed to get from the book, or if I understood anything at all. xD Great review though, Aentee!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw sorry to hear that. That part with the Roman Luck house made me extremely uncomfortable so I guess the book achieved its goal 120% haha.

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  4. I am on the side of masterpiece. I loved this book. I didn’t find the story confusing or convoluted. It did keep me guessing and everything I thought I knew what was happening I was wrong but I think that is how the story is supposed to go.. I love unreliable narratives . I do love the cover too. the cover and the title just drew me in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad to hear that you enjoyed this book- I personally didn’t think it was too confusing either but just anticlimactic because Poppy did everything so Leaf would come back? boo!

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  5. I haven’t read this one but I want to really badly! It’s sounds like such a unique and special book, and it looks like it would fit my tastes completely! I’m all for the weird and fairytale-ish vibes 🙂

    I’m really glad for this review! I’ve heard so many great things, and so many bad Br I’m glad that this one looks a lot on both. I’m so excited for this one but will definitely proceed with caution 😉

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  6. I was originally interested in this book, but now I’ll probably put it further down the priority list. Don’t get me wrong, it still sounds good! But I am worried about the claims of “pretentious nonsense”. As you know, I’m very hard on my YA, and if there are legitimate reasons for those kinds of reviews, trust me to be able to see them too!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You know, I think I was okay with it. UNTIL THE END. The ending made it worse in that I had no idea what the point of everything else was. But I do agree that the writing was absolutely gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The writing was so disappointing ESP cos all of Poppy’s plan hinged on her seeing Leaf again. She deserves better even though she’s utterly sociopathic!

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  8. For me, the ending was the only disappointment in an otherwise incredible book. I mean, I just loved how fairytale-esque it was. But yeah, all the build-up was a bit of a let-down. The cover is beautiful, but hello, have you seen your graphics??? Please design book covers :’)

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  9. I love this cover too, Aentee. Thanks for you thoughtful review, it’s one of the most thorough reviews on this book that I’ve read. I’m still on the fence about this book…

    As for you question about endings, I guess for me it depends on genre. When I pick up a fluffy book, I want something light and entertaining; it this case I want clear cut ending. When I start more serious and ambiguous book I prefer realistic ending; sometimes HEA can take something from the story.

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  10. That cover really IS gorgeous. It’s a shame that the inside didn’t quite live up to it for you, Aentee!

    This books sounds really … odd. I don’t know if I will pick it up, because even though I DO love me some flowery prose from time to time, if there isn’t anything really going on, I don’t think beautiful writing would be enough to keep me going.

    As for endings, I am a fan of clear cut ones. I like to know what happens to the characters I’ve read about, and how those things come about. Even if it’s not realistic, I like to feel like I have read the book for a reason. Sometimes when a book is TOO open ended, I wonder what the point of it even was.

    Lovely review, dear ❤

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  11. I haven’t, but Kynn has and oh my goodness, I’m not bothering with this one despite how beautifully lyrical it is. I need books with substance and beautiful writing although lovely, it just doesn’t cut it with readers anymore. I’m all for weird and wonderful reads, but it just sounds like it had so much potential and did nothing with it at all. I must admit though, I find you’re graphic even more gorgeous than the cover Aentee ❤ Wonderful review.

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  12. That is definitely an award-winning cover. However, I really didn’t like the author’s previous book, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea – it was extremely slut-shamey and problematic. From the reviews I’ve seen of this one, I don’t think it will be my thing either.

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  13. What is it with this book? Everyone seems to love it or hate it…I think your review was the first “middle-ish” review I’ve read so far. I keep thinking about getting a copy, but then I read another negative review and figure I’ll wait. Honestly, though, your review made me consider it again, because you listed the positive AND negative parts about it, which was great.

    Also, that cover? Yes! I love it too!

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  14. I am incredibly intrigued after your review of the book, and you described each of the characters and their reading experiences perfectly Aentee! I’ve got this one from the library and I can’t wait to find the contrast and juxtaposition behind such fascinating characters. Can’t wait to pick it up!

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  15. I kinda loved this, but kinda didn’t? It WAS a great book, though. Poppy was so badass creepy. Like, Chanel from Scream Queens. One of my main faults with the book was Midnight. He was so annoying and whiny. Wink and Poppy were so cool and the book could’ve been solely about them, It felt incomplete to me, too. We were missing SOMETHING. Darling review, Aentee! ❤

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