Wickedly Wonderful (Baba Yaga #2) by Deborah Blake

Wickedly Wonderful - Deborah Blake

Beka Yancy is the youngest of the three North American Baba Yagas.  Her mentor has recently retired to the Otherworld and Beka finds herself dealing with an environmental disaster that leaves her mystified.  Not only are the selkies and merpeople dying but the fish have disappeared from the ocean leaving the local fishermen all struggling.  Beka has vowed that she will solve this problem but despite a number of dives, she has absolutely no clue what is happening.  If that were not enough, Kesh,  the prince of the selkies and a local fisherman named Marcus are both vying for her attention.  Beka doesn't know which way to turn and even starts to wonder whether or not she is cut out to be a Baba Yaga.

I originally picked up this series because while the Baba Yaga is a very old myth, she has not appeared in many fantasy novels.  I was very excited to see what Blake would do with this awesome witch.  Unfortunately, in Blake's Baba Yaga series, the Baba Yaga, is simply a name for a powerful witch and many of the things that make the Baba Yaga, the Baba Yaga are missing from this series.  No longer is the Baba Yaga an old crone, no longer does she fly in a mortar and pestle and no longer does she live in a cabin which is made mobile by chicken legs.  Even the dragon chudo yudo has been turned into a Newfoundland dog.

Wickedly Wonderful is essentially a paranormal romance; however, while the romance between Marcus and Beka features largely in the story, it never overwhelms the mystery of why the ocean has become polluted.  Beka is steadfast in her search and never stops working towards her end goal, even though she is constantly battling with the taciturn Marcus, who is not found of hippie people. Because of the way that Wickedly Wonderful is written, we know from the beginning who is responsible for the pollution and his motivation and simply wait for Beka to figure it out.

Beka is very different from Barbara, the protagonist in Wickedly Magical and Wickedly Dangerous. Barbara, being older than Beka, is very confidant and sure of her magical powers.  Beka spends much ofWickedly Wonderful doubting her abilities despite constant assurance from Chudo Yudo.  Beka is supposedly so insecure because she was raised without any positive reinforcement from the retiring Baba.  My issue with this is that Beka is almost a 30 year old woman and while she might reasonably have some doubt in her abilities, I think it went a touch too far.  There is also the issue of Beka's naiveté.Everyone who interacts with Kesh for instance, almost immediately says that they don't trust him, yet Beka has several meals with him and even makes excuses for his behaviour.  Beka only questions Kesh's behaviour when he gets into a testosterone pissing match with Marcus over her. I like that Beka declared that she is not a commodity to be owned but I would have liked her to question Kesh's motives more, particularly after learning that Kesh was on the outs with his family. Beka just seems to keep making the same moves though it is not progressing the case that she is investigating and I found that to be extremely frustrating. 

 

 

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Source: http://www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2015/07/wickedly-wonderful-baba-yaga-2-by.html