Tuesday 8 May 2012

Wicked as They Come by Delilah S. Dawson (Blud #1)

Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Steampunk, Romance
Publication Date: March 27th 2012
POV: Female - First-person, Past tense
Smut-O-Meter: 7 out of 10
My Rating: 5 out of 5


When nurse Leticia 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?


This was incredibly unique and surprising. Leticia is a home care nurse coming out of a long-term abusive relationship and she is not looking for anything serious. But someone else is. Someone is looking for someone just like her. She is strangely drawn to a ruby necklace she finds at an estate sale of a deceased patient, and without really understanding why, she steals it! That night she wears it as she falls asleep, and she wakes up in a strange magical land.

She is found by a caravan gypsy king named Criminy Stain. He is a Bludman. In a world called Sang, Bludmen are born, and besides drinking blood, their only similarities to vampires are their strength and longevity. When Leticia asked him if he was a vampire, and explained to him what a vampire was, he was rather insulted to be compared to something dead. He is very much alive and lives life to the fullest. It is a very strange world Leticia finds herself in, with Victorian dresses, magic, and clockwork pets, and where she suddenly has the power of a seer. And most confusing of all, is when Criminy tells her that she has been brought there for him.

He had his heart broken once when he was younger. Now he is 130 years old and still alone. So he put a spell on the necklace to go out and find him his perfect mate. But he never anticipated that she would resist. He just assumed that if she was perfect for him, he would be perfect for her. She is drawn to him of coursehe's like a wickedly delicious version of Mr. Darcybut he is not the kind of man she ever actually imagined herself with. He's just a secret fantasy. And at first that is what she thinks he is, a dream. Criminy is extremely forward and honest about his feelings, but Leticia refuses his advances. Then her necklace is stolen and she is stuck in his world. Together they must chase down the rich and powerful man who stole it and stop his plot against the Bludmen. On their journey they have to fight ghosts, blood thirsty bunnies, jealous backstabbing mermaids, and commandeer a submarine.

The world this book created is extremely unique and vivid, but my favourite part is the characters. Criminy and Leticia are not your usual hero and heroine. They have some of the familiar traits, but Leticia was really a damsel. She is brave and clever and kind, but she is not strong and never did any of her own fighting, and she cries rather easily. But I really enjoyed her character because she felt so real and genuine. And her and Criminy complemented each other perfectly. Criminy has a viscous side, like any blood drinking creature would, vampire or not. But he is not dark and mysterious like you might be expecting. He is vibrant, exciting, and open, always making Leticia laugh with his magic tricks and crooked smile. They are an amazing couple. Criminy loves her so openly and freely, and I can see theirs becoming a truly epic love. I am sad we don't get to see it as the future books in the series are each about a different couple.

Although this is an adult book and there are a couple of sexy scenes in it, it was not overly emphasized. I am very glad that this is one of few adult PNRs I've read where the sex does not overshadow the romance.

“He was an animal. He was terrifying. And he was beautiful. I realized that I was biting my lip, that my hand was wound into the ruffled fabric at my chest. Something in me was drawn to the carnage. Like so many women before me, I was a slave to the caveman brain, that deep old part of my DNA that whispered that ferocity would keep me safe and fed and alive and that I should most definitely find the fiercest creature around and hump it.”

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