Guest Reviewed by Ami
Title: Wickedly Dangerous
Author: Deborah Blake
Series: Baba Yaga #1
Heroine/Hero: Barbara Yager/Liam McClellan
Genre: M/F Urban Fantasy
Length: 352 Pages
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Available at: Berkley, Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: 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…
Wickedly Dangerous, first in a new series by Deborah Blake, brings forth the retelling of Baba Yaga, a child-eating witch of Russian folklore. Baba Yaga, in Blake’s world, is not the name of a single woman but more of a job title. Baba Yaga maintains balance of the natural world — they are like the agents from the Otherworlds — sometimes being helped by three (gorgeous!) Riders. Barbara Yager is one of the Baba Yagas in the United States. She comes to Clearwater County after sort-of being ‘summoned’ to help find missing children. But Barbara (or Baba) also finds that something is troubling the state of nature in that small town.
I was truly curious when I received the summary of this book. I must admit that the idea of a Baba Yaga retelling was the one that interested me the most. I’ve read several urban fantasy series over the years, and I didn’t think I ever read one regarding Baba Yaga. I really enjoyed what Blake did with the folklore; not that I know much about it, being that I am an Indonesian, Russia is a bit too far from my country *laugh*. But I liked it — this book offers an enchanted Airstream trailer, a white pit-bull that is really a dragon, a bunch of magical beings, and even a trip to the Otherworlds!
Barbara is a wonderful protagonist. After being Baba Yaga, Barbara feels that she is a bit out-of-touch with her human side — so reading how she struggled with her feelings with Liam McClellan, the Sheriff who became Barbara’s love interest, was fun to read. Liam is also a pleasant hero. He is not the kind of domineering Alpha man who usually crowds this genre. In fact, he is kind, dedicated to his job, and pretty much having an open-mind after being presented with the fact that the cloud-haired woman he is interested in is actually a witch with a dog-like dragon. Liam also has quite a heartbreaking backstory, which includes an ex-wife. I was a bit sad with the event that happened with the ex-wife, but I guess it was the right resolution for her.
I must say that this series pretty much falls in the ‘light spectrum’ of urban fantasy — it doesn’t have the ‘life or death end of the world’ kind of situation. The mystery is not heavy and complicated. It doesn’t take long for Barbara to find out who is behind the missing children. The story is then more about how Barbara and Liam try to get out from muddy situations, as the villain tries anything (including magic and manipulation) to be able to achieve their intention. And since this series features a different Baba Yaga for each book (the second one is coming in December), the story is wrapped up with satisfying closure to the mystery and romance.
Wickedly Dangerous is a fast-paced book with an entertaining chemistry between Barbara and Liam and some really cool secondary characters (my favorite was Barbara’s pit-bull-dragon Chudo-Yudo!). It didn’t take me half-way through this book to know that I would be lining up for the next one.
Overall Impression: I really liked it!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*