Release Date: March 27, 2012
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Publisher: Pocket Books
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When nurse Tish 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?
And down the rabbit hole I went. This is what Alice probably felt like when she followed the white rabbit down to Wonderland. Instead of crazy Queens, Mad Hatters, weird tea parties and an even weirder cat, I met Bludmen and all sorts of strange creatures in Delilah S. Dawson's WICKED AS THEY COME.
I'm going to make this brief because I know a lot of you, fellow UF/PNR/Steampunk readers, have read this but it's sooo good for me not to share my two-cents. And hopefully I can persuade other readers who have yet to dip their toes in this world pick the series up too.
WICKED AS THEY COME is a wicked fantasy novel, it has a time travelling/parallel universe feel to it which I absolutely loved! The heroine, Tish Everett, is a geriatric nurse here in our world. She went to an estate sale and found this ruby locket that has some kind of magical potion in it that transports her to Sang when she sleeps. Once in Sang, she met the gorgeous Bludman, Crimminy Stain, gypsy king and carnival master extraordinaire. Turns out the locket is enchanted and Trish is "fated" to be in Sang to help Crimminy make his land safe again for Bludmen and restore order in their world. What followed next was a crazy back and forth between here and Sang, a fevered romance between Trish and Crimminy, and a race to beat a madman's quest for genocide and absolute power.
The world building for Sang is a-frickin-mazing, it's one of the best Steampunk worlds I've ever read! It's sort of like our world with minor tweaks to accommodate them supernatural/magical creatures and gizmos. The world of Sang is light on the Steam but heavy on the Punk. The names of places, creatures and characters are wonderfully fantastical, it's equal to fairytale nouns. Like I said it reminded me of Alice and Wonderland in that the world is familiar but still ingenious. Plus how often do you read about a Bludman, gypsy king for a hero? Crimminy Stain is like a vampire, he drinks blood, and so does most of Sang, and has pointy fangs. He can withstand the sun, has a long life but isn't an apex predator like your typical bloodsucker.
I would burn down the world for you. Your world or my own. I would rip down the entire city with my bare hands without a second thought. I don't need to taste anything else. I don't need a comparison. - Crimminy
Crimminy Stain and Tish Everrett. Bonnie & Clyde. These two are funny and cute together and I loved how there's no insta-love or even insta-crush between the two. It was a gradual romantic development and although they're an odd couple, Crimminy and Trish sure are an interesting one and a good fit at that. The HEA is pretty great as well, not only did they accomplish their task but Tish, managed to have her cake and eat it too!
Blud features a different couple with every volume and though I would've loved to read more of Tish and Crimminy, I am anxious to dive back to the series and do more exploring. DSDawson's characters are beyond animated, they're different kinds of otherworldly with all sorts of interesting backstories I'm sure the succeeding books will be as magical as WICKED AS THEY COME. So if you love fantasy books with a great dose of romance and plot, give Blud a shot, I guarantee you'll like it if not love the series as much as I (a lot of other readers) do.