Book Review: Wicked As They Come
Published By: Pocket Books
Publication Date: March 27, 2012
Page Count: 395
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Genre: Adult - Paranormal, Steampunk
I'm guilty. I admit it. I totally judged this one based on the cover. It screams paranormal romance so I didn't even bother giving this one a second glance. Fate intervened when I went to a panel at DragonCon a few months ago and heard Delilah S. Dawson speak about this series. I was intrigued by the world of Sang. Who doesn't want to read about a world full of vampire like beings and animals that thirst for blood? Seriously, how was I supposed to resist a book in which cute fluffy bunnies are something to be feared? You heard me - they're called bludbunnies and they could pick your bones clean in a matter of seconds. I also liked that Dawson mentioned that she used history and turned it on its head to help create Sang and its inhabitants. As someone who loves paranormal novels and history, I couldn't avoid this one any longer. I did purchase the kindle copy so people didn't judge me based on the ridiculous cheesy cover.
Please do not let the cover send you running for something else to read. I promise it's not a straight up romance novel. Yes, it's an adult story so there are a few intimate scenes, but they are not the driving force of the story. They also don't occur until the relationship has been strongly established and it makes sense to the plot. I'm not a fan of "romance novels" but I loved every moment I spent in this world.
The novel begins in our world as Tish Everett is going through her daily monotony. She escaped an abusive relationship and has returned home to work as a home nurse for the elderly and invalids. Tish spends her days making people comfortable as they struggle with health concerns. The job comes with its share of grief and joys, but Tish looks forward to getting to spend time with her ailing grandmother each day. She longs for something more, but she isn't sure she is ready to put herself out there again after her last controlling relationship. Tish will soon learn that change happens whether we want it to or not when she discovers a beautiful ruby locket at the estate sale for one of her former patients. The locket is bewitched and transports Tish into the land of Sang.
When Tish first arrives in Sang, she soon meets Criminy Stain, a handsome and charismatic Bludmen. Bludmen are what our world thinks of as vampires with a few minor differences. Criminy is very much alive and sunlight doesn't burn him to a crisp. The main similarity between the vampires I've always known and the Bludmen is that they need to feed on blood to survive. The entire world of Sang runs on blood currency. Tish finds herself in the middle of a brewing genocide in which the Pinkies (aka the humans of Sang) are attempting to eradicate their world of the Bludmen. Adventure ensures as Tish and Criminy work together to stop a mad man from killing off Criminy's entire species.
I loved the fast pace of this novel. It was nice to lose myself in the world of Sang and not think about the troubles and sorrows of real life. Dawson has created a fabulously dark world full of blood, steampunk elements, and fascinating creatures. The combination of the characters and the setting truly make this gem sparkle.
I loved Tish. She's stubborn and independent; she doesn't want a man to make her choices for her. Tish can also kick a little butt when its needed. I found her gumption to be admirable and I coveted her Sang wardrobe - well, except for the pumpkin dress. Criminy was also delightful. His saucy sense of humor kept me in stitches and I found his protective side to be endearing. I thoroughly enjoyed the banter between Tish and Criminy.
I am excited to read the other novellas and novels in this series. I hope to work them into my reading schedule sooner rather than later. If you enjoy adult novels with a healthy dose of the paranormal, you must check out this series. The Steampunk touches make the world of Sang one not to be missed. This one played out in my mind like a Tim Burton movie - dark and foreboding, but with a sense of hope skirting the edges.
One Last Gripe: Tish had some whiny moments that made me roll my eyes.
Favorite Thing About This Book: The unique world of Sang - LOVED it
First Sentence: I was the one who found Mrs. Stein's body two weeks ago.
Favorite Character: Criminy
Least Favorite Character: Tabitha
When nurse Tish Everett forced open the pesky but lovely locket she found at an estate sale, she had no idea she was answering the call of Criminy Stain, from the far off land of Sang. He’d cast a spell for her, but when she’s transported right to him, she’s not so sure she’s ready to be under the spell of another man. (It didn’t go so well last time with controlling, abusive, domineering Jeff.) If only Criminy wasn’t so deliciously rakish….
Half the inhabitants of Sang are Pinkies—human—and the other half are Bludmen, who in Tish’s world would be called vampires. But they don’t mess with any of the bat/coffin/no sunlight nonsense. They’re rather like you and me, just more fabulous, long living, and mostly indestructible. (They're also very good kissers.) But when the evil Mayor of Manchester (formerly Bludchester) redoubles his efforts to rid Sang of the Bludmen once and for all, stealing Tish’s locket in hopes of traveling back to her world himself for reinforcements, Criminy and Tish must battle ghosts, sea monsters, wayward submarines, a secret cabal, and thundering Bludmares to get the locket back and allow Tish to return home…but has she found love with Criminy? Could she stay in Sang forever?