Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wicked Awesome

Yesterday, Delilah S. Dawson stopped by and did a fabulous interview with me about everything from sex to steampunk. It was a great interview and I beseech you to go read it right now. Delilah is outrageously funny, smart and badass. You owe it to yourself to check it out. Don't make me sic the bludbunnies on you!

Delilah's latest book, Wicked As She Wants, came out recently and I'm here to tell you how completely and utterly fantastic it was. It's another adventure in Sang, the beautifully dark and dangerous world that is currently one of my favorite fantasy places to dream of living in (and dying in. I don't think I'd make it too long. But it would be worth it!). If you haven't read the first novel (WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? DO YOU HATE AWESOME?), here is a quick break down: Sang is a tilted, skewed, steampunk-fied version of our world. The continents are the same, albeit with different names, and there are skewed versions of things we all know and love, like Jane Austen novels and Shakespearian plays. There are people in this world who drink blood, but they aren't traditional vampires. They're called Bludmen (and Bludwomen!) and they don't fear sunlight or garlic or crosses. In some places, like London, they are persecuted by humans (referred to as "pinkies"). In other places, they are royalty... which leads us to the events of Wicked As She Wants.

Join me under the cut for a review of Wicked As She Wants, or else a bludunicorn will spear you like a kebab.

Wicked As She Wants reunites us with Casper Sterling, a jaded and tortured musician that has found himself trapped in Sang after slipping into a coma in our world. Back there, he was a celebrated concert pianist and lover of fine art and music. He sings "Hey Jude" and obsesses over Walt Whitman poetry. It is an understatement to say he is not happy in Sang. Sure, he has enjoyed fame for playing music that no one has ever heard before, but it doesn't bring him joy. He spends more and more time drinking and killing time.

That's before he meets Ahnastasia. Ahna is a Freesian blud-princess (equivalent to our Russia) and she's been kept in a piece of luggage for almost four years. She wakes up when she hears Casper at his piano, manages to wrench herself free of the luggage, and lunges at him for blood. Some things never change, and the Tsar of Freesia and his family were murdered by an evil sorceress. She has beguiled Ahna's brother and taken over her country. Despite getting off on the wrong foot, Casper forgives Ahna for trying to drain him dry and agrees to help her return to her rightful place on the throne. As you may have guessed, Ahna is the Sang version of our Anastasia, but with fangs, claws and an iron will. She is completely amazing.

Delilah S. Dawson and murderous unicorn
Ahna doesn't allow herself to dwell on what happened to her and her family. She wants revenge and she doesn't care what she has to do to find it. She's exceptionally strong and doesn't take shit from anyone. She's a fascinating character and one I delighted in reading about. Casper is his usual self, a smooth mix of tortured artists and charming Southern gentleman. He's sarcastic, secretive and handsome as all get out. Add into the mix a young orphan and thief named Keen that Casper has taken under his wing, and you have a tight group who have to face adversity together and weather some crazy adventures.

On the way to Freesia, this ragtag group encounters a flying brothel in a zeppelin, bloodthirsty unicorns, and their own demons. It was a nail-biting adventure, with peril at every turn. Would they get back to Freesia in time to save the country from the grips of a mad sorceress? Would Casper and Ahna acknowledge their love? Would Casper defeat his demons or succumb to them?

It was glorious. I loved every single second of the story. I was on the edge of my seat. It was a spectacular roller coaster full of zany characters, bludthirsty animals and stunning displays of daring do. It built on the momentum of the previous novel and e-novellas and became this breathtaking adventure that ended way too soon for my liking. I could have happily read another five hundred pages with these characters.

The novel was gorgeously written; with tight action scenes, suspenseful cliffhangers and a will-they-or-won't-they love story that kept me guessing. My heart was in my throat as I read the last chapter. What a thrill-ride! The world around me ceased to exist whenever I opened the book. I'm still overwhelmed by how awesome it was.

If you like strong female characters who don't take shit from anyone, handsome and tormented musicians who have dark secrets, and murderous unicorns then this book is for you! If you don't dig those things, well, we can't be friends.

Wicked As She Wants is the second book in the Blud series. The first, Wicked As They Come, is on sale for $2.99 so you have nothing to lose! Go and read them! If that isn't enough Sang for you (and it isn't, trust me, you will need more), check out the equally as wonderful e-novellas in the series as well; The Mysterious Madam Morpho and The Peculiar Pets of Miss Pleasance. The next Sang books are due out early next year (which is far too long!). 
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