Reviewed by: Jannelle
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it does make references to previous books in the series.
Bella Young is one of three Baba Yagas in the United States. That is, Bella is one of the three witches tasked as a protector, with a history stemming from Russian folklore. Each of the women work in a particular region of the country and Bella is happily enjoying the lonely, and seemingly peaceful, Black Hills of Wyoming. After being assigned the task of discovering the whereabouts of the three Immortal Riders, she begins to wonder if the mysterious fires she has encountered in the surrounding forest are connected to their disappearance.
Quite surprisingly, Bella soon finds assistance from Jazz, a runaway teenager, and Sam, an ex-firefighter with a tragic and complicated past. With the help of her dragon-turned-forest-cat Koshka, Bella and her motley crew work together to discover who is behind the Immortals’ disappearance and forest fires.
The connection between Bella and Sam is instant. While it takes them both a while to act on their feelings toward one another, you can’t help but anticipate and enjoy the time they have together in the interim. Because Wickedly Powerful also shifts point of view to encompass Sam (as well as many other characters), I believe it helped me find a deeper appreciation for his character that I might have overlooked otherwise.
Aside from Bella’s familiar/animal companion Koshka, Sam was my favorite character. He had that whole tortured-and-mysterious thing going for him. Blake could have created a stereotypical (and still mega-hot) male protagonist to accompany Bella in the series; however, Blake created a still mega-hot male with a complicated romantic history and a facial scar as symbol to his gruesome past. And with all of that, Sam is compelling, sexy, and incredibly thoughtful. He’s ‘tortured soul’ enough to not be whiney or damaged-beyond-repair.
Wickedly Powerful reads great as a standalone. As someone who has not read the first two books in the series, I can honestly say that I was not left in the dark about any aspect of the novel. Of course, there are times when you come across characters from the previous installments (like the other two Baba Yagas, of course), but any information that is relevant to this installment is said outright, and not implied.
The natural way the story flowed, subtly adding plot lines from previous books in the series and expanding on them, was expertly done. Even though it was one of the other Baba Yagas’ mentor that played the role of villain in Wickedly Powerful, (a storyline from a previous novel in the series) I never felt like I had to read the previous novels to play catch up. Though I will say that after reading this installment, I will definitely be picking up the first two books.
My only grievance with Wickedly Powerful deals directly with the pace of the story—it was not my usual fast-paced storyline. That being said, it moved at a pace that was right for the story. It wasn’t pushed forward, at a standstill, or filled with unnecessary scenes that just add action with no plot functionality behind it; everything was purposeful and I kind of didn’t miss the fast-paced goodness… kind of.
Overall, Wickedly Powerful was a fantastic read with a healthy mix of both paranormal romance and urban fantasy that fans of either genre will be sure to love. Whether you’re a fan of the series or it’s new to you, you can either start with this one or with the first book in the Baba Yaga world, Wickedly Dangerous.
Sexual content: sex