“This place,” Keen said slowly, shaking her head, “is wack.”
I am always excited when I find something unique and I ended up absolutely relishing Ms.Dawson’s first book in the Blud series, Wicked as They Come. A strange new paranormal romance with hints of steampunk and fantasy, where the world is a scary, blud filled mirror of our own. A place where vampires are bludmen, humans are called pinkies and even what we would normally think as cuddly animals are in fact scary creatures. Wicked as She Wants is the second book and I couldn’t wait to dive back in and explore this most interesting world filled with fantastical creatures.
Ahnastasia, blud princess of Freesia, wakes up absolutely famished after being drained, stuffed in a suitcase and shuffled from place to place for the last several years. She has no idea where she is or how she even came to be in a suitcase, but she can smell blood and hear the strains of music as she tears her way out of the offending luggage. The first person she spies is Casper Sterling, the maestro, drunkenly playing the piano in an old blud bar. Casper, once the most renowned musician in Sangland, has fallen on hard times and exists in a drunken, blud addicted half-blud life playing in the worst parts of London. Ahna soon finds that Casper and his pinkie sidekick Keen are her only hope of reaching Freesia and reclaiming her family’s throne.
He flicked his hair out of his face, and when his eyes met mine, something in my middle flipped sweetly. “It’s endearing how often you threaten to kill me. That’s practically flirting to you, isn’t it, darlin’?”
Ahna, Casper and Keen have to travel a long way to reach Freesia, through the air and over land. This story is told from the first person POV and initially Ahna is a scary, bloodthirsty creature looking down on everyone she deems beneath her royal person. She’s cold and rude and unwilling to give thanks to Casper and Keen for helping her out. As this trio journeys toward Ahna’s hometown they encounter many strange beings and get into several situations that require all of them to get out safely. Casper is a beautiful, talented man who by standing up to her and keeping his charges safe slowly gains Ahna’s respect. At one point they are stuck on the only floating brothel airship and Ahna is suddenly surrounded by pinkie’s everywhere she looks. She must keep what she is under wraps and pretend to be something she isn’t in order to reach the end goal. Her thinking starts to evolve, and she does things she never thought she could.
As he unlatched the breast-shaped window, I groaned. “Please, not that.”
“It’s a big window off the back of the ship. It’s the best shot we have of getting out of here alive and not in chains. How much do you want to win?”
“Enough to jump through a nipple.”
Casper is a much more complex character than Ahna. While she is all fire and violence right from the beginning, I couldn’t get a fix on Casper’s personality. He is alternately strong and vulnerable, humorous and depressed. Keen lightens the mood with her humor and humanity, fighting with these two every step of the way. The three of them make an interesting team. Each character has something to learn, while Ahna is embracing her softer side, Casper must come to terms with losing his humanity. Keen is the glue that holds them together. They become a family while battling unicorns, jumping off airships and fighting an evil witch for Ahna’s throne.
Ms. Dawson is a gifted storyteller. She has filled the Blud world with extraordinary creatures. Created an alternate world where Strangers end up in a different dimension with bludmen and women considering them food. Every work of art and music has it’s twin and anything you encounter is the same but different. This series defies genre classification, I would recommend it to any reader of any genre. I am very much looking forward to the next book in the series that releases next year. Final Grade- B
“I have wanted you since the first moment I saw you. Even half dead, you were more alive than any woman I’ve ever met.”