When I picked up Deborah Blake’s Wonderfully Dangerous, I didn’t know much about Russian folklore but I did know about the Baba Yaga.
Who I thought was only an equivalent of the fairy tale trope for old, evil hags/witches, I learned was actually also a spirit of good. So Baba Yaga is not entirely evil, and though capable of benevolent deeds, she was more or less an anti-hero. Or who folklorist Vladimir Propp called a figure that was part villain, part fairy godmother/donor.
Anyways, in this series Baba Yaga is a title. Meaning there’s more than one Baba Yaga in this world where this series is set. Specifically it’s an Otherworldly title for human female witches who are keepers of the peace between the Otherworld and Earth and its elements: the heroine of Wonderfully Dangerous is Barbara “Baba” Yager (haha! Get it) and she’s on her latest mission to help keep the peace.
You see children are going missing in hero Liam McClellan’s town and Baba has been called by the family of one of the missing victims. So naturally Liam and Baba team up to solve the magical crime.
After reading a good 1/3 of the book I realized that the novel was not an Urban Fantasy but a paranormal romance. Seriously, I started reading this and got the vibe of UF because the romance isn’t super strong. Also FAIR WARNING: the romance is what I would classify as sweet.
The book does have swear words (“bitch’ and “fuck” being one of the two I can think of right now), but the sexy times between Baba are few and far between and if it isn’t behind closed doors, it’s implicit through euphemistic language. So don’t expect hot and heavy from this adult PNR.
Yeah, back to the romance though…there wasn’t all that much going on. When Baba and Liam were on the page together, I definitely felt the attraction/chemistry. But there were a few chapters where Liam dropped off the face of the plot—seriously. It was all from Baba’s perspective and she wasn’t thinking all that much about Liam, too.
Also there were a lot of coincidences. See I have this problem with magic. I mean I get why it’s called magic in this context—it’s meant to make life easy and all that stuff. Still I hated how easily Baba would solve problems with a twitch of her fingers or something like that.
It was frustrating. There always seemed to be a bloody loophole where all things magical were performed—Ugggggh.
If this book had a little less magic, a little more detective, I would have liked it all the more. Thankfully the Russian folklore elements and the characterization were great and I was rooting for Liam and Baba in the end (particularly where Baba sets down roots).
So hit this one up if you’re looking for a sweet romance quasi-PNR. 🙂 And check out the second book in the series, Wickedly Wonderful, as well. 🙂