By Deborah Blake
Part of A Baba Yaga Novel [sic]
Penguin Random House/Berkley
E-Book and Mass Market Paperback
Sep 02, 2014 | 352 Pages
E-Galley provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own, except as noted.
About Wickedly Dangerous
FIRST IN A NEW SERIES!
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 faithful (mostly) 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… http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/315656/wickedly-dangerous-by-deborah-blake/
I am a little embarrassed by how very long it took me to sit down and read this book. I can’t remember why I requested it on Net Galley, but since I am trying to work through an immense backlog of things it feels like I requested yesterday, I finally dug in my heels to read it.
The word that kept coming to my mind as I read was “glib.” Everything was described superficially: the world, the characters, the story behind Baba Yaga. Before I began blogging I had never heard of Baba Yaga, a creature from Russian Fairy Tales who lives in a hut that moves on giant chicken legs. I suppose that with the internet, learning about everything is only a search away, but when I sit down to read a book I don’t feel I should have to learn.
And, I realize in the start of a series there is a lot to set up and then you have to have a plot besides! So, it is a balance.
There wasn’t anything I objected to in the book, but it just didn’t feel too special to me. But there are moments, such as Baba Yaga’s kind treatment of a deputy searching for her missing child, and her treatment of a child that are tender.
I also felt there was too much “telling,” and not enough justification for a set of characters who help Baba Yaga. They just don’t do enough to be there and their history or legend in relation to the main theme is not given.
The relationship between the Baba Yaga and the Sheriff is nicely developed, and his character is very sympathetic. Baba Yaga in the persona of Barbara Yager is jaded, world-weary, aloof and sometimes hostile. Later in the book, she feels more real and becomes a more sympathetic character.
The book is supposed to take place in Upstate New York, but it feels like a strange cross between New England and the rural Southern US.
It’s not a bad book, it just didn’t “do it” for me until close to the end of the book where I felt Blake got much more in touch with her characters and their motivations.