Monday, April 29, 2013

Review: Wicked as She Wants by Delilah S. Dawson

Wicked as She Wants by Delilah S. Dawson
Series: Blud, Book 2
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Steampunk/Paranormal Romance Wicked as She Wants Cover
ISBN: 9781451657906
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Delilah S. Dawson Reading Order

Ahnastasia Feodor, Blud Princess of Freesia, is used to the finer things in life: palaces, stunning gowns, the fresh blood of Pinky servants, and the like. Which is why she’s at a loss when she wakes up in London, in a suitcase, and nearly drained of blud. To her shock, Ahna learns that she’s been missing for four years and most of her family has been murdered by the gypsy sorceress Ravenna. Weakened in a strange land far from home is no way for her to reclaim her crown. As much as it galls her, Ahna needs help, and it comes from an unlikely source.

Casper Sterling was once the most celebrated musician in Sangland. But the Stranger from another world has lost his way…and is rapidly losing his humanity. His only connection to his home world is a fellow Stranger, a scrappy teenager named Keen. Neither he nor Keen fully trust Ahna, but nevertheless Casper agrees to help the princess on her quest and Keen tags along.

On their journey from Sangland to Freesia, Casper and Ahna will have to face pirates, assassins, dangerous beasts, and more. But more threatening than any foreign danger is the attraction they feel toward each other. Ahna’s used to getting anything she desires, but this time what she wants may be out of her reach. For even a princess cannot command the heart of the Stranger who has stolen hers.

Return to the world of the Bludmen in Wicked as She Wants. Delilah S. Dawson’s paranormal spin on the legend of Grand Duchess Anastasia is both creative and fascinating.

Ahna’s a princess and her upbringing makes her more than a bit spoiled. Though she starts out Wicked as She Wants a bit of a brat, to have her be otherwise would make no sense. I loved seeing the growth in her character over the course of the story. Ahna goes from being a selfish young woman to the mature ruler she needs to be. Her transformation would not have been possible without her time with Casper and Keen. The two of them help her to see the world beyond the one Ahna has always known. Casper in particular brings out the softer side of Ahna. Readers who enjoyed the first Blud book, Wicked as They Come, will remember Casper as the charming musician from our world who didn’t get the girl. In Wicked as She Wants, Casper isn’t the same man he once was. He’s changing, though into what I won’t spoil. Casper’s personality is less lively for most of Wicked as She Wants, which was a pity. I missed the energy of the Casper I first met and I was relieved that by the end of the book Ms. Dawson brought forth the “true” Casper, a hero I could adore.

Wicked as She Wants is undeniably clever, but it was a bit of an uneven read for me. The first half of the book was a bit slow and it lacked the energy of Wicked as They Come. Though it wasn’t bad — not by a long shot — the biggest spark of life in the first half of the story came from a cameo made by Criminy and Tish. That being said, the second half of Wicked as She Wants was fascinating. As Ahna and Casper became more of who they’re meant to be, the story picks up, gaining momentum until it hits the final, tension-filled third act. The latter half of Wicked as She Wants was everything I hoped the book would be. There’s a lot of buildup to Ahna’s battle against the Rasputin-like Ravenna, and though I won’t spoil what happens, I will say that Ms. Dawson “brings it” when it comes to the climax of this plotline.

The world of the Blud series is bloodthirsty, exciting, and incredibly unique. I finished Casper and Ahna’s story a well-satisfied reader and my only complaint is that I now have to wait (im)patiently until the next Blud book comes out. Bring on Wicked After Midnight!