Rating (out of 5): 5 stars
Note: While this review is free of spoilers for All Things Wicked it makes references to people and places from the prior two novels. If you’re new to the series, please read our review of Blood of the Wicked.
The more I read the Dark Mission series, the more apparent is is: Karina Cooper does paranormal romance/urban fantasy crossover right. In the third book All Things Wicked we’re brought back into the bowels of Old Seattle. The dilapidated and crumbling buildings. The damp and the cold. The dark secrets buried amid the earthquake ruins a city just built over.
It’s dirty, violent and cut-throat for Caleb. He suffers the scars from burning the majority of the Coven of the Unbinding back in Blood of the Wicked. It’s been a year, he’s avoided the other witches. A year since he lost his gift. A year with Juliet’s sister’s memories. And then the one girl he promised to save — Juliet — shows up wanting to kill him, to turn him in to as a traitor. This is a man who wants to be punished. He’s aware of the horrible acts he’s committed and promises keep him from telling anyone his real motivations. He thinks it better that others hate him, than be allowed to bring destruction to more lives.
Basically, he’s an egotistical asshole who wants to take care of everyone but does it in the most asinine ways purposefully making others angry. He’s that guy. I’m sure if you remember Caleb from the earlier book, you’re thinking: “This guy is the hero? WTH, Karina?” Within 50 pages I was sold. Tortured soul types work for me, and honestly Juliet needs it. She’s lost, too.
Both want to feel in control and purposefully push the other’s buttons just to get the emotional reaction. Their relationship isn’t built on trust, but mutual prodding. And that’s the big hurdle for the two to cross in order to reach a happily ever after. Getting inside your significant other’s head is difficult if they won’t communicate. Imagine if that person flat-out lied. Caleb has no problem saying he just wants Juliet’s body. Telling her this even when his mind is calling her his Juliet. Life-and-death stakes force these two to move forward and forge a real relationship instead of one built on how others perceive them.
The hero/heroine character development in this one gutted me. I flitted from “I will punch you, Caleb” to “kiss him! Kiss him!” to “You asshole” to “Really, Juliet? You’re the smart one.” back to “Kiss him! Kiss him!” It’s not a straight line to love. It’s painful and complicated and oh so worth it. (And angry sex is hot. We all know it.)
Big secrets including details on the Coven of the Unbinding, Jessie, Juliet, the Mission, even Matilda are revealed in this one. Not everything can stay buried in that trench.
I give credit to any author who can make a murderer into a hero. Cooper does this beautifully in All Things Wicked while staying true to her characters. It’s certainly my favorite of the three Dark Mission novels, and a must-buy.
Sexual content: Sex scenes, including a borderline dubious consent scene