Title: Wickedly Dangerous
Author: Deborah Blake
Series: Baba Yaga #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Mythology, Paranormal romance, Witches
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
5th sentence, 74th page: No matter ow long she lived, she could never get used to the callous disregard with which so many humans treated the natural world.
Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them…
Older than she looks and powerful beyond measure, Barbara Yager no longer has much in common with the mortal life she left behind long ago. Posing as an herbalist and researcher, she travels the country with her (mostly) faithful dragon-turned-dog in an enchanted Airstream, fulfilling her duties as a Baba Yaga and avoiding any possibility of human attachment.
But when she is summoned to find a missing child, Barbara suddenly finds herself caught up in a web of deceit and an unexpected attraction to the charming but frustrating Sheriff Liam McClellan.
Now, as Barbara fights both human enemies and Otherworld creatures to save the lives of three innocent children, she discovers that her most difficult battle may be with her own heart…
I love old mythologies and fairy tales. If you gave me a book about ancient mythologies, I would read it page to page before coming up for air. So, when I found out about a book that took the Russian fairy tale of Baba Yaga and gave it a modern twist, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy. I love when authors are able to take a myth or spiritual understanding of the world that stems from the past and use it in today’s modern context, and Deborah Blake did this brilliantly well. She created a world and series that drew me in from the first moment, and I can’t wait until the next book comes out.
Admittedly, this is a paranormal romance. Aside from the witchcraft and Otherworld influence of the fae, it is very much a boy meets girl, girl meets boy, they fall in love story. Sometimes this can feel a little competitive, but not so in Wickedly Dangerous. Barbara is a prickly and unsociable heroine, Liam a damaged and confused man, both unwilling to commit to each other. And although you just know that they will eventually end up together, the trials and tribulations along the way kept me constantly turning the pages in an agony of fascination. There’s just something so satisfying about two completely damaged people finding happiness in one another.
Having said that, the romance really wasn’t the main part of the story. There was just enough heat between the main characters to raise the stakes, but not enough that the story became boring and irritatingly sappy. It was the mystery of the missing children and Barbara’s power and willingness to solve the puzzle that drives the story.
Even as someone who doesn’t have kids, the idea of missing children is horrifying. There’s something about preying upon the young and innocent in society that is particularly spine tingling. It’s the primal fear for us, we’re programmed to protect our young, and when they go missing or are stolen, we have done something drastically wrong. This, combined with the villain of the story (who was not in the least who I expected), created a fascinating retelling of the role of Baba Yaga in today’s society, and an amazing book to boot.
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