Title: Wicked as They Come
Author: Delilah S. Dawson
Genre: Steampunk/Paranormal Romance
Series: Blud (Book 1)
Publication Date: March 27, 2012
Format: Paperback, 416 Pages
ISBN-10: 1451657889 (Pocket Books)
ISBN-13: 978-1451657883 (Pocket Books)
Reviewed by: Kiwi
Have you ever heard of a Bludman? They’re rather like you and me—only more fabulous, immortal, and mostly indestructible. (They’re also very good kissers.)
Delilah S. Dawson’s darkly tempting debut drops her unsuspecting heroine into a strange faraway land for a romantic adventure that’s part paranormal, part steampunk . . . and completely irresistible.
When Tish Everett forces open the ruby locket she finds at an estate sale, she has no idea that a deliciously rakish Bludman has cast a spell just for her. She wakes up in a surreal world, where Criminy Stain, the dashing proprietor of a magical traveling circus, curiously awaits. At Criminy’s electric touch, Tish glimpses a tantalizing future, but she also foresees her ultimate doom. Before she can decide whether to risk her fate with the charming daredevil, the locket disappears, and with it, her only chance to return home. Tish and Criminy battle roaring sea monsters and thundering bludmares, vengeful ghosts and crooked Coppers in a treacherous race to recover the necklace from the evil Blud-hating Magistrate. But if they succeed, will Tish forsake her fanged suitor and return to her normal life, or will she take a chance on an unpredictable but dangerous destiny with the Bludman she’s coming to love?
Quick & Dirty: Magic and mystery and vampires, oh my!
Opening Sentence: I was the one who found Mrs. Stein’s body two weeks ago.
I am fairly new to the steampunk/urban fantasy type of paranormal books, but I found this one quite different and rather interesting.
One portion of this book is set in modern day USA, the rest in the parallel world of Sang, circa 1904. In this world, things are somewhat different, for there are several species of bloodsuckers, or bludsuckers as they are referred to in this universe. These nasty things come in every variety too, bludbunnies, bludstags, and most disturbingly, bludrats the size of housecats. *shudder* Also, this world contains all of the elements that make this a steampunk novel, the clockworks, the wardrobe, etc.
In our world, the heroine Tish Everett is a home health care aide, who also cares for her invalid grandmother. When she attends the estate sale of a previous patient, she is drawn to a specific volume on a set of bookshelves, and the locket contained therein. When she receives an urgent page she runs from the house, inadvertently taking the locket with her, not knowing just how special that locket is. You see, the locket acts as a portal of sorts, sending her between worlds when she lays her head down to sleep. When she wakes up in an alternate world, it seems as if it is a dream, but in reality her whole life has been shifted on its axis. And in this new world, she becomes Lady Letitia Paisley, fortune teller. It seems her travel to this new world has given her the power of glancing, the ability to see the past and/or future of anyone who’s bare skin she comes in contact with. Good for the business of being a carnie sideshow, bad when knowing another’s secrets can get you in trouble. But also in this world she has the love and protection of a good man, one willing to give her almost anything she wants.
Criminy Stain is a bludman with the heart of a poet, the hands of a magician and a dream of long lasting love. In the past he had sent out an enchanted locket with a spell to find him the perfect mate. When the locket plops Tish basically right into his hands, he falls instantly in love. The locket had worked, and Tish was everything he could ever want. There is one slight issue, she craves her home world, and resents this new world, and its strange inhabitants. Wooing her is going to take some work, and a lot of magic.
When Letitia’s locket is stolen by a man desperate to return to his world, Criminy promises to help her find it, a journey that will be risking both their lives. For this is no ordinary man, he has risen up in the ranks to magistrate, and is also running a secret organization whose goal is to eradicate the species of bludman entirely. Taking it a bit far for a lover scorned, if you ask me. In the end, Tish finds a way to balance her life in both worlds, caring for her grandmother in one, loving her man in another.
Like I said, I found this book rather interesting, and only put it down to sleep. I’m so excited to know there will be another installment.
“I don’t know what you’ve done,” the old man shouted in his deep Southern drawl, all Sangish affectation forgotten. “But I’ll kill you for it!”
“You have to get over the wall,” Criminy grunted as his belly hit the branch by my boots. He held out a hand to me, and I took the locket from his black-scaled fingers and shoved it down the tight neck of my gown.
“Come on,” I begged, grasping his hand to pull him up. “You’re almost here. We can do it.”
He chuckled sadly and looked down.
And that’s when I saw the crossbow bolt through his calf, pinning him to the heavy branch below.
“You can do it, Letitia,” he said. “Just get over the wall and go to Antonin. I’ll find a way. I’ll find you again.”
“You only have to last another minute,” I said frantic and unwilling to abandon him. “The old man—“
And then I heard a thwack, and a crossbow bolt bloomed from his throat.
Blood spattered over my face and my dress, but I was already in shock. His eyes went wide with surprise. He looked down at the metal point dripping with his blood, then fell slowly backward. It was almost graceful, until the bolt in his leg stopped his downward motion. His body jerked around it and spun, leaving him hanging upside down by the arrow’s shaft.
For only a moment, he floated in space, his hair blowing in the breeze. Then the arrow broke, and he fell to the ground with a nasty thud.
Goodwill cackled in triumph.
The Blud Series:
FTC Advisory: Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books provided me with a copy of Wicked as They Come. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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