Monday, May 13, 2013
Review: Wicked as She Wants (Blud #2) by Delilah S. Dawson
The second book in the darkly tempting Blud series, featuring a vampire princess who embarks upon a dangerous journey to claim what is rightfully hers.
When Blud princess Ahnastasia wakes up, drained and starving in a suitcase, she’s not sure which calls to her more: the sound of music or the scent of blood. The source of both sensations is a handsome and mysterious man named Casper Sterling. Once the most celebrated musician in London, Sangland, he’s fallen on hard times. Now, much to Ahna’s frustration, the debauched and reckless human is her only ticket back home to the snow-rimmed and magical land of Freesia.
Together with Casper’s prickly charge, a scrappy orphan named Keen, they seek passage to Ahna’s homeland, where a power-hungry sorceress named Ravenna holds the royal family in thrall. Traveling from the back alleys of London to the sparkling minarets of Muscovy, Ahna discovers that Freesia holds new perils and dangerous foes. Back in her country, she is forced to choose between the heart she never knew she had and the land that she was born to rule. But with Casper’s help, Ahna may find a way to have it all. ~ Goodreads
While I enjoyed Wicked as They Come (Blud #1), I thought the leading man of that story, Criminy Stain, was a bit much. Almost too kooky and it was Casper Sterling who caught my attention. He was on the losing end of a love triangle and the brilliant musician has descended into a world of addiction and womanizing as Wicked as She Wants begins.
It's Casper's haunting music that lures the starving vampire Ahnastasia to him. I absolutely loved Casper and Ahna's first interactions. This is definitely not love at first sight…or even lust. Ahna's hungry and she wants Casper's blood. Now. As a former princess who has been trapped and left for dead in a suitcase for several years, she wants to regain her strength and her rightful place in her land of Fressia. She's all…"I will see your head on a platter!" but he just laughs her off knowing he holds all the cards for the time being. The cards being the blood Ahna so desperately needs. She can spew her haughty princess attitude all she wants but the fact is she has no energy to follow through just yet. Casper agrees to help bring Ahna back to her homeland to reclaim her kingdom with an orphan named Keen tagging along.
Casper doesn't have a whole lot left to live for in his life but Ahna refuses to throw him a pity party and instead forces him to embrace the choices he does have rather than mourn the loss of the ones he doesn't, while Casper and Keen teach Ahna to think of more than herself and how her actions effect others lives. What I loved about this book is that they grew from their adventure but it never once turned into a sap filled love fest. The dialogue is snappy and snarky. The love is there but they stay true to themselves and their personalities at all times. These are not warm, cuddly characters and I loved them for it.
I'm curious to hear how people feel about Anastasia. She was raised as a vampire princess and that she is better than everyone else. She's a vampire and a predator. Ahna embraces that. Servants and humans are there to please her or to be her food. Her attitude does evolve over time but she never fully loses that sense of superiority. She begins to love Casper but that doesn't get in the way of what she feels she has to do to rule her kingdom. I prefer to think of her as a strong woman who accepts her responsibilities and learned to be a better leader because of her experiences with Casper and Keen. She is a different kind of heroine though and I'm sure some people will find her abrasive. Personally, I found it refreshing.
This book is a bit darker than the first in the series. While it still has a few steampunk elements, this installment is more character driven with a paranormal feel.
One thing I was really depressed about was the lack of Casper's POV. We learn a few things through his conversations with Ahna but he just brushes over the details of his past and if you didn't read the first book you wouldn't even know all he's been through.
We also don't learn too much more about the world building this time around. That didn't really bother me because as I've said Wicked as She Wants is a very character driven story. This could be read as a stand alone but if you don't read the books in order I think you're missing out on quite a bit. Easy solution though….read Wicked as They Come first! lol
Final thoughts: Wicked as She Wants is a darker, character driven sequel to Wicked as She Comes. I enjoyed the rough around the edges Casper and his pairing with the haughty Ahna. The snarky dialogue is fast and furious without a lot of unnecessary flowery sentiments which was even funnier when it came from the young orphan Keen. There is a great dynamic between he three of them. The only thing that would have made this book better for me would have been Casper's POV. I absolutely adored Ahna but I felt like this should have been a bit more about his journey as well. Even so - I highly recommend this one.
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Source: Provided by the publisher, Pocket Books, for my honest review
Buy the book! Wicked as She Wants (Blud)