Bella is one of the three Baba Yagas in charge of the United States. When she feels an urge to head to the forest in Wyoming, Bella is originally unsure if she is there to investigate the missing Riders, or to deal with the sudden fires that are occurring. Growing up as a Baba Yaga in training was hard for Bella and she found that never really fit in with humans and therefore now enjoys spending time by herself with her companion Koshka, a dragon disguised as a cat. The stakes her high but despite all Bella has to do, she finds herself distracted by the handsome but deeply scared, former hotshots fireman Sam Corbett. If that were not enough, when Bella finds Jazz, a runaway teen living rough in the forest, Bella realises that she cannot just leave the girl to fend for herself. Can Bella somehow handle it all?
By now, the Baba Yaga series has become pretty predictable. When Bella meets Sam and Jazz, there's never any doubt that all three of them will end up together living as a family. It's always only a matter of how it happens. That beings said, when Bella's fellow Baba Yagas show up to look for her, I was expecting Deborah Blake to bring on the awesome. I feel very much at this point that we were due, particularly given that this book was written largely by the numbers. Unfortunately, to say the big showdown was anticlimactic is to be kind. Blake didn't bring the epic and seemed rush to wrap everything up in a neat little bow, so that she could move onto writing about the Riders.
I liked watching Jazz and Bella bond; however, I wished that the bond had not occurred over the fact that they are both orphans and come from a history of abuse. I suppose at least for Jazz, there was no other way to have her living in a forest withput adult supervision. The issue for me is that suffering is used too often as a shortcut to characterization. The same issue occurred with Sam, with his PTSD, survivor's guilt and scared face. I never felt like I got to know Sam as a person and he really became was his loss and fears. The only good thing I can say is that while woo woo was used to cure Sam of his lung damage and scars, at least Blake had Sam acknowledge that dealing with his PTSD was going to take some time.
The antagonist is Brenna, a former Baba Yaga the queen had forced to retire. We met Brenna inWickedly Wonderful; however Blake did a good job of explaining to readers where Brenna's anger stemmed from and her history with the Baba Yagas. If you have not read any of the other books in this series, you will not have any trouble following along with Wickedly Powerful. Brenna, is not pleased to have been forced to retire and she is further enraged that this means the loss of the Water of Life and Death, which slows down the aging process of the Baba Yagas and strengthens their powers. As her hair begins to go grey and bones begin to creak, Brenna is driven to kidnap the Riders and torture them until they lose their immortality so she that she can become what she once was - powerful.