Baba Yaga, Book #3
By Deborah Blake
Author’s Website: http://deborahblakeauthor.com/
Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them…
The only thing more fiery than Bella Young’s red hair is her temper. She knows that a Baba Yaga’s power without strict control can leave the people she cares about burned, so to protect her heart—and everyone around her—the only company she keeps is her dragon-turned-Norwegian-Forest-cat, Koshka.
But when Bella is tasked with discovering who’s setting magical fires throughout Wyoming’s Black Hills, she finds herself working closely with former hotshots firefighter Sam Corbett—and falling hard for his quiet strength and charm.
Sam may bear the scars of his past, but Bella can see beyond them and would do anything to help him heal. Only before she can rescue her Prince Charming, she’ll have to overcome the mysterious foe setting the forest fires—a truly wicked witch who wields as much power and even more anger than Bella…(Goodreads)
Wickedly Powerful is the strong third installment in the Baba Yaga urban fantasy series, and it is an entertaining read with scorching hot main characters.
Bella Young, along with her Baba Yaga sisters, is supposed to keep the balance between the mundane (human) world and the Otherworld. Bella is generally responsible for middle-America (her sisters care for the west and east coasts), and her gift is fire. Though every summer brings wildfires to the Wyoming Black Hills, this year they seem to be of magical origin, and the Queen charges Bella with finding the responsible party and to stop him/her. In addition, the three immortal riders are missing, and Bella needs to find them, too. Bella is used to keeping her distance from people since her emotions are sometimes accompanied by fire that she cannot control, but she is drawn to former hotshot firefighter Sam Corbett. Sam carries some baggage of his own, physical scars and he is plagued by PTSD and survivor’s guilt. He is the only fire fighter on his team to survive a terrible blaze, and he spends most of his time alone, high in the watch tower keeping an eye out for forest fires. Though he finds Bella beautiful and compelling, the ghosts of his past refuse to let go. To add to the mix, Bella comes across a runaway teen, Jazz, in the forest and takes her in. With the help of her guardian dragon who is disguised as a Norwegian Forest Cat, Bella sets out to stop the mad wickedness in the forest.
I find Deborah Blake’s Baba Yaga series to be a wonderfully different take on witches and paranormal fantasy. I knew nothing about the Russian fairy tale witch until I started reading this series, and the modern spin and details Blake brings to the tale are original and fun. I always enjoy the guardian dragons, and it is great to see Koshka take his dragon form during the climactic scene this time around. I like Bella. Her backstory is sufficiently complex to make her interesting and compelling. Sam is my favorite part of the book, though. His wounds, both physical and emotional, are heartbreaking. To me, his very existence is brave and gripping. The pair’s chemistry is believable, and I could not help but root for their happy ending.
The villain this time around will come as no surprise to followers of the series, and she is delightfully nasty. She just begs to be despised, and readers will cheer when she gets her comeuppance. However, if there is anything negative to say about this story, it is that the climax is disappointingly anticlimactic.
I think fans of paranormal romance and urban fantasy will find Wickedly Powerful to be a satisfying read and a welcome addition to a unique series. I recommend it to fans of the genre.