Release Date: September 2, 2014
Genre: Paranormal Romance
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.
I had wicked good time reading Deborah Blake's WICKEDLY DANGEROUS, the first book of her brand new UF series, Baba Yaga. It was fresh, funny, and very entertaining, I certainly took my time reading this one and I can't wait to read more of Baba Yaga. Barbara Yager, one of three Baba Yaga's, launches the series and it'll be tough to top her book.
WICKEDLY DANGEROUS is fae influenced with missing children abducted into the Otherworld to keep fae company. One of the human parents summoned Barbara to help them find the kids and it took some time to peel the layers of deceit and wade through the distractions as Barbara's nemesis was cunning and quite the actress. It was eventually resolved in the fae Court with the proper rewards and punishments rendered to the deserving parties. Of course there's HEA too, it won't be a fairy tale without it right?
I love the plot and pace of WICKEDLY DANGEROUS, its character driven and the world building woven through Barbara's reminiscing, interactions with other characters, and conflict and resolution. Also DBlake didn't make things too complicated, she kept it light and familiar (the fae court was like Wonderland slash A Midsummer Night's Dream). Now I am not well versed in the original lore about Baba Yaga so I can't attest to the myth's authenticity but I did enjoy DBlake's version of it. Although Barbara can turn herself into a crone, she's far from the surly, scary, and mischievous witch I expected her to be.
WICKEDLY DANGEROUS is romantically light, it was more of an insta-crush for Sheriff Liam McClellan and Barbara than anything. There was a lot of flirting between the two but as they were so intent in the case, they didn't really make time for anything naughty. I actually like this better as it's more believable IMO as opposed to the usual PNR where the world is falling, the heroes are semi-functional and yet they have the time and energy to squeeze a few quckies in. Liam and Barbara kept things PG and I found their flirting cute, Barbara lays it heavy when she wants to while Liam is kinda awkward in the dating department which I found endearing.
Now I almost forgot to mention Chudo-Yudo, the dog who is sometimes a dragon. Adorable might not be applicable for this huge pitbull but I have no other words to describe him. I am loving this trend in books where pets are secondary characters too, here's to hoping that the next Baba Yaga books will have endearing familiars too.
My beef lies in the conflict resolution, it felt too "happily ever after" for me, so convenient and tied nice and pretty. I find it a little inconsistent with the overall edgy tone and feel of WICKEDLY DANGEROUS, I was hoping for a Grimm Brothers ending than a Disney one. And though it's expected that Barbara and Liam will be a couple, I was also hoping for a bit more, it felt like their HEA was fast tracked a few steps were skipped.
Despite these small critiques, like I said I had a blast with WICKEDLY DANGEROUS. This brand new PNR series is promising and fascinating and I'm already excited for the next Baba Yaga adventure.
Top 5 Fun Facts about Baba Yaga
FUN FACT 1: Like the witches of other cultures, Baba Yaga’s preferred method of transportation is an implement commonly used for household labor, though unlike the witches of the West, who travel upon a broom, she chooses to ride in a mortar, steering it with a pestle, and using a broom to sweep away the tracks that she leaves.
(In WICKEDLY DANGEROUS, her mortar and pestle have been transformed into a classic BMW—much more practical for the 21st century.)
FUN FACT 2: Baba Yaga lives deep in the forest in a hut with a personality of its own. It can move around because it is up on giant chicken legs. If you come upon Baba Yaga's hut in the forest, you'll likely just see the back side of it. If you try to walk to the front and aren't paying attention - if you look away for just a second or blink - the chicken legs will have again turned the backside of the hut toward you. The hut does not reveal its door until it is told a magical phrase: "Turn your back to the forest, and your front to me."
(Barbara’s hut now looks like an Airstream trailer, but it definitely has a personality, and sometimes makes the front door disappear, just for kicks.)
FUN FACT 3: Baba Yaga is sometimes shown as an antagonist, and sometimes as a source of guidance; there are stories in which she helps people with their quests, and stories in which she kidnaps children and threatens to eat them. Seeking out her aid is usually portrayed as a dangerous act. It is said she ages one year every time she is asked a question, which may explain her reluctance to help. This effect, however, can be reversed with a special blend of tea made with blue roses.
(Barbara doesn’t like to answer questions, but that’s mostly because she finds them annoying. Her coffeemaker magically infuses everything it makes—which isn’t always coffee, even if that’s what she wants to drink—with the essence of blue roses.)
FUN FACT 4: Baba Yaga rules over the elements. Her faithful servants are the White Horseman, the Red Horseman, and the Black Horseman. When she is asked who these mysterious horsemen are, she replies: “My Bright Dawn, my Red Sun, and my Dark Midnight.”
(You will meet the three riders in both the first and second Baba Yaga books. They won’t be what you expect. You might want to bring beer.)
FUN FACT 5: Baba Yaga has a fire-breathing dragon named Chudo-Yudo as her pet, who helps her to guard the Water of Life and Death.
(Chudo-Yudo isn’t exactly a pet, but he does guard the precious Water of Life and Death. The Chudo-Yudo in WICKEDLY DANGEROUS is disguised as a huge white pit bull. He hardly ever eats anyone these days…that we know of.)
Author of seven non-fiction books from Llewellyn. Circle, Coven & Grove: A Year of Magickal Practice (2007), Everyday Witch A to Z (2008), The Goddess is in the Details (2009), Everyday Witch A to Z Spellbook (2010) Witchcraft on a Shoestring (2010), Everyday Witch Book of Rituals, and The Witch's Broom. I am also the author of the Baba Yaga series from Berkley Romance, including Wickedly Magical (novella), Wickedly Dangerous, and Wickedly Wonderful.
I live in a 120 year old farmhouse in upstate NY with five cats, and run an artists' cooperative shop when I'm not writing.
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