Limited Wish by Mark Lawrence

(8.3/10) Entertaining, cerebral, and binge-worthy.

Limited Wish, book two of the Impossible Times trilogy, is a highly-enjoyable and heady sci-fi adventure with heavy emotional beats. Although this book takes a bit longer than One Word Kill to have its full scope be revealed, the mind-bending paths that we’re being led through becomes a twisty and challenging puzzle that deepens as the story progresses. Exploring the implications of the characters' actions and their ripple effects through various timelines is as impressive as it is complex. Yet Lawrence does an admirable job interpreting these rule-breaking time-travel theories and making them quite clear for the reader to follow. 


The book itself is a paradox in a sense, as it is simultaneously a light and heavy read. Romance, role-playing games, and challenges at school help to shape Nick’s coming of age tale, yet it also asks the reader to contemplate advanced mathematics and physics theories, time loops, paradoxes, universal energies, and the potential existence-destroying possibilities that stem from it all. Although Lawrence outlines some of the bigger concepts in as clear a way as possible, I still recommend spending a bit of extra time to think about and absorb each new fold before continuing. Like any good book, you get out of it as much as you put in, and I found myself pausing and doing a bit of extra research to consider some new angles of where the story might be headed. And if any book makes me want to research math and physics on my own time -- for fun! -- then that’s a pretty damn good compliment to the author. 

Limited Wish shares a fair amount in common with its predecessor which, considering the plot, is entirely expected, but also serves as a bit of a detriment. Once again, the D&D game emulates Nick’s real-life dilemmas… or perhaps his dilemmas are emulating the game. A few of the story's beats feel familiar, which may be an unfair dig at a story that involves time loops and paradoxes. But it's a small gripe when weighing it against how damn entertaining this story is. These books are relatively short, but make the most of their pages by creating strong characters that leave a lasting impact on the reader, and a furious pace that will force you to want to read this story in just a sitting or two. With only one book to go, and many more questions raised than answered, I can't wait to see what Lawrence has in store for the conclusion.

Adam Weller, 8/10

Limited Wish is the sequel to One Word Kill. Like its predecessor, this novel involves twisty plots revolving around quantum theory and time travel and I loved how Lawrence kept the ambiance that I loved from the first novel but managed a plot that felt different and had its own share of twists and tangles.

Much like in One Word Kill, Lawrence excels at getting us inside the head of Nick, our protagonist. If anything, Nick feels even more authentic in this novel. He may be a mathematics prodigy, but he feels like a real teenager. Although fantastic events have taken over his life, Nick still has many of the same struggles and concerns that any high school or university student would experience. It’s this relatability that really helps the novel to shine, I think. Lawrence also gives us some wonderfully evocative D&D sessions. Anyone who has even played D&D and then tried to describe a session to someone knows how hard it can be to translate the excitement of playing the game into a description of the game. Lawrence manages to do this regularly, creating D&D sessions that are fun and enjoyable to read about. That alone deserves praise. Of course, the plot is also a lot of fun. This time we get to see Nick struggle with how paradox fits into his (fairly tidy) understanding of time travel. It’s a wild ride and even at the end of the novel after a few fun reveals, I still have some questions in terms of how this whole paradox thing actually works, but then - that’s kinda the point, isn’t it? I really enjoy books that keep me thinking long after I’ve finished them, and Limited Wish is definitely that sort of novel. If you enjoy cerebral sci-fi I think you’ll very much enjoy this one!

There’s obviously a lot that worked for me. If there is anything that didn’t work for me, it was that I felt like some of the friendship and camaraderie that made the first book so much fun was lacking in this one. The characters did have quite the same level of one-for-all, all-for-one that we were able to enjoy in One Word Kill. I also felt like, while the plot was a lot of fun with plenty of twists and turns and science-y mystery, there wasn’t much character growth for Nick or any of his friends.

In the end, Limited Wish might not quite measure up to One Word Kill, but it’s still a wonderful sci-fi read with fun characters and a plot that keeps you thinking long after you’ve put the book down for the last time. Highly recommended.

Calvin Park, 8.5/10

Reviews by and Adam Weller

Our interview with Mark Lawrence

Interview by Timy Takacs and James TivendaleWhat is your favorite fantasy creature and why?I’m far from sure I have a favourite fantasy creature. I’m not really a creature kind of guy. I’ll say lizardma [...]

Read interview

12+

Limited Wish reader reviews

8.3/10 from 1 reviews

Write a reader review

There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?

Your rating out of 10

All reviews for Mark Lawrence's Impossible Times series

One Word Kill

Impossible Times #1 written by Mark Lawrence

In January 1986, fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he’s dying. And it isn’t even the strangest thing to happen to him that week.Nick [...]

Published: 2019

Our rating: 9.2 | positive reader reviews

15+

Limited Wish

Impossible Times #2 written by Mark Lawrence

One choice. Two possible timelines. And a world hanging in the balance.It’s the summer of 1986 and reluctant prodigy Nick Hayes is a student at Cambridge Unive [...]

Published: 2019

Our rating: 8.3 | positive reader reviews

12+

Dispel Illusion

Impossible Times #3 written by Mark Lawrence

Sometimes being wrong is the right answer.Nick Hayes’s genius is in wringing out the universe’s secrets. It’s a talent that’s allowed him to [...]

Published: 2019

Our rating: 9.1 | positive reader reviews

12+

More Mark Lawrence reviews

Red Sister

by Mark Lawrence

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. [...]

Series: Book of the Ancestor #1
Published: 2017

Score: 98

Our rating: 9.5 | 3 positive reader reviews

15+

Grey Sister

by Mark Lawrence

In Mystic Class Nona Grey begins to learn the secrets of the universe. But so often even the deepest truths just make our choices harder. Before she leaves the Convent of S [...]

Series: Book of the Ancestor #2
Published: 2018

Score: 95

Our rating: 9.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+

Bound

by Mark Lawrence

This is a 16,000 word short story, primarily featuring Nona, Ara, Kettle, Regol. It should be read between Grey Sister and Holy Sister. [...]

Series: Book of the Ancestor #2.5
Published: 2018

Score: 80

Our rating: 8.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

12+

Holy Sister

by Mark Lawrence

Nona Grey’s story reaches its shattering conclusion in the third instalment of Book of the Ancestor.THEY CAME AGAINST HER AS A CHILD. NOW THEY FACE THE WOMAN. [...]

Series: Book of the Ancestor #3
Published: 2019

Score: 96

Our rating: 9.6 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+

Prince of Thorns

by Mark Lawrence

Before the thorns taught me their sharp lessons and bled weakness from me I had but one brother, and I loved him well. But those days are gone and what is left of them lies [...]

Series: Broken Empire: Book 1
Published: 2011

Score: 97

Our rating: 9.0 | 7 positive reader reviews

15+

King of Thorns

by Mark Lawrence

To reach greatness you must step on bodies, and many brothers lie trodden in my wake. I’ve walked from pawn to player and I’ll win this game of ours, though the [...]

Series: Broken Empire: Book 2
Published: 2012

Score: 98

Our rating: 9.7 | 1 positive reader reviews

15+

Emperor of Thorns

by Mark Lawrence

The path to the throne is broken – only the broken can walk it. The world is cracked and time has run through, leaving us clutching at the end days. These are the day [...]

Series: Broken Empire: Book 3
Published: 2013

Score: 98

Our rating: 9.8 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+

Prince of Fools

by Mark Lawrence

The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire fear her as they fear no other. Her grandson Jalan Kendeth is a coward, a cheat and a womaniser; and tenth in line t [...]

Series: Red Queen\'s War #1
Published: 2014

Score: 94

Our rating: 9.4 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+

The Liar's Key

by Mark Lawrence

The Red Queen has set her players on the board… Winter is keeping Prince Jalan Kendeth far from the luxuries of his southern palace. And although the North may be ho [...]

Series: Red Queen\'s War #2
Published: 2015

Score: 95

Our rating: 9.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+

The Wheel of Osheim

by Mark Lawrence

All the horrors of Hell stand between Snorri Ver Snagason and the rescue of his family, if indeed the dead can be rescued. For Jalan Kendeth getting back out alive and with [...]

Series: Red Queen\'s War #3
Published: 2016

Score: 100

Our rating: 9.9 | 1 positive reader reviews

15+

The Girl and the Stars

by Mark Lawrence

Only when it's darkest can you see the stars.East of the Black Rock, out on the ice, lies a hole down which broken children are thrownOn the vastness of t [...]

Series: The Book of the Ice #1
Published: 2020

Score: 95

Our rating: 9.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

12+

Books you may also enjoy

The 10,000 Doors of January

by Alix E Harrow

In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut. [...]

Series: NA
Published: 2019

Score: 101

Our rating: 10.0 | 1 positive reader reviews

12+

The Unspoken Name

by A K Larkwood

A. K. Larkwood's The Unspoken Name is a stunning debut fantasy about an orc priestess turned wizard's assassin.What if you knew how and when you wi [...]

Series: The Serpent Gates #1
Published: 2020

Score: 101

Our rating: 10.0 | 1 positive reader reviews

12+

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen

by Alan Garner

When Colin and Susan are pursued by eerie creatures across Alderley Edge, they are saved by the Wizard. He takes them into the caves of Fundindelve, where he watches over t [...]

Series: NA
Published: 1960

Score: 98

Our rating: 9.7 | 1 positive reader reviews

12+

Skallagrigg

by William Horwood

Unites Arthur, a little boy abandoned many years ago in a grim hospital in northern England, with Esther, a radiantly intelligent young girl who is suffering from cerebral [...]

Series: NA
Published: 1987

Score: 100

Our rating: 9.6 | 4 positive reader reviews

12+