Wicked As They Come (Blud #1) by Delilah S. Dawson
Publisher: Pocket Books/March 27th, 2012
Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance/Steampunk
Kind thanks to Pocket Books for providing a review copy
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?
Tish Everett is a home care nurse who’s just escaped a bad relationship and is settling in to her work, caring for her sick grandmother, and enjoying her new found freedom. When she spots a beautiful locket at an estate sale, it seems to call to her, and before she knows it, she’s walking out the door with locket in hand. Inside is the picture of a rackish young man, and the romantic in Tish is delighted. Delight soon turns to confusion when he wakes up that night in a whole other world; a world of magic beyond Tish’s wildest dreams, and also home to the mysterious man in the locket, Criminy Stain. Her future is inexplicably tied to his, and he’s more than determined to make Tish his own, but is she willing to leave everything she loves behind?
Wicked As They Come is cracking good fun! I fell in love with Criminy Stain right away. He’s sly, roguish, devastatingly handsome, and he thinks Tish is the bee’s knees. There’s destiny involved here, and while Tish is concerned about her life back in the real world, she can’t help but be enchanted by Sang and its inhabitants. Criminy’s caravan certainly enchanted me, with its eccentric performers and clockwork animals. Not everything about Sang is magical in a good way, though. Most animals are bluds (the bludbunnies are a good example-cute, yet deadly), and Tish’s status as not only a Stranger, but as a Pinky forces her to cover herself head to toe to keep her scent from driving the bluds into a frenzy. Tish also discovers she has a rather unique talent when Criminy puts her to work as his resident fortune teller, and in the process, she finds out just how much the Bludmen and Bludewomen are hated by the humans of Sang, and also sees a possible future for herself that is anything but magical.
When her locket is stolen, she and Criminy will have to travel to the city to get it back, and what follows is an adventure you won’t soon forget. We’re talking vicious sea creatures, submarines, beautiful bludmares, evil Coppers, mermaids, ghosts, and unlikely (and charming) allies. And kissing, can’t forget the kissing. The tension between Criminy and Tish is delicious, and the author stretches it to the breaking point, with juicy results. Wicked As They Come is a rollicking, steampunk tinged ride down the rabbit hole, if the rabbits had vamp teeth and liked the taste of human flesh, and you’ll find yourself thoroughly charmed by this wonderful, rich, and dangerous world that Ms. Dawson has created. I couldn’t get enough of Wicked As They Come, and absolutely can’t wait for the next book! Very highly recommended!