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Blood of the Wicked: A Dark Mission Novel Mass Market Paperback – May 31, 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
Book 1 of 6 in the Dark Mission Series

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Editorial Reviews


4 and 1/2 stars! “An electrifying, very promising start to the new Dark Mission series. Cooper’s world has endless possibilities in her alternate universe where witches...are hunted down for their murderous ways. The characters and plot are expertly woven in with action and steamy romance.” (RT Book Reviews)

“Dark, bloody, and violently descriptive, this steamy romance takes readers on an emotionally wrenching, sometimes gruesome journey into a grimly fascinating futuristic world that will draw readers in and leave them wanting more. Compelling and mesmerizing, this is a stellar start to this new series.” (Library Journal)

From the Back Cover

When the world went straight to hell, humanity needed a scapegoat to judge, to blame . . . to burn.

As an independent witch living off the grid, Jessie Leigh has spent her life running, trying to blend in among the faceless drudges in the rebuilt city. She thought she was finally safe, but now she's been found in a New Seattle strip club—by a hard-eyed man on a mission to destroy her kind.

A soldier of the Holy Order, Silas Smith believes in the cause: trawling the fringes of society for the murderous witches who threaten what's left of the world. Forced into a twisting web of half-truths and lies, he has to stay close to the most sensuous and electrifying woman he has ever seen and manipulate her into leading him to the witch he has to kill: her brother. Silas doesn't know that Jessie's his enemy, only that he wants her, needs her, even as he lies to her . . . and must protect her until his final breath.

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Product Details

  • Series: Dark Mission (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (May 31, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062046853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062046857
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,210,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kelly (Fantasy Literature) VINE VOICE on June 20, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I can be a sap sometimes, and I confess that a good love story can move me to tears. _Blood of the Wicked_, however, made me cry for all the wrong reasons.

_Blood of the Wicked_ is the first in the Dark Mission paranormal romance series by debut author Karina Cooper. It appears that each installment will be self-contained and focus on a different couple. The setting is an alternate future: witches existed and were known to exist in the story's past, and then when disasters struck the world's cities, the witches were blamed for the cataclysms and are now hunted and burned. In New Seattle, built on the ruins of today's Seattle, we meet our hero and heroine.

Silas is a witch hunter on the trail of a violent coven. To that end, he seeks out Jessie, the sister of one of the coven's witches, Caleb. He finds her tending bar in a strip club and, to make a long story short, the two end up hunting Caleb together. Silas intends to capture Caleb and have him executed, while Jessie believes her brother is innocent and plans to save him instead. But Jessie has a secret: she is also a witch, and if Silas finds out, it will mean a death sentence.

Cooper's writing is for the most part very good. New Seattle and the alternate history are interesting, and Cooper skillfully depicts the wet, cold, bleak, chaotic world her characters live in. You don't even realize how well she describes it until the characters reach a beautiful, wholesome sanctuary that is the polar opposite of the city, and until they are thrust back into New Seattle after that brief idyll. Some of the geographic descriptions and fight scenes can get a little confusing, and Cooper has a few "pet words" that she overuses ("roil" comes to mind), but overall the prose works well.
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I really wanted to love this book. The prequel novella Before the Witches was awesome. It left me wanting more. I thought Blood of the Wicked would be cut from the same cloth, but it had a very different feel. Don't misunderstand... the book isn't bad. I liked it. But I didn't love it.

The story is set about 50 years after a series of cataclysmic events changed the face of the world. Many blame witches for the near-armageddon. And they are persecuted relentlessly. Jessie is a witch in hiding. Silas is a witch-hunter, determined to find Jessie's brother, Caleb. He targets Jessie, not because she is a witch (he doesn't know that she is), but to help track Caleb.

Silas and Jessie are undeniably drawn to each other. He has been hardened by his life, and is worn down physically and emotionally. He's been off the job for 14 years, doing other things. (And it's never really clear to me how "The Mission" got him to come back to find Caleb.) He thinks all witches are evil and with the exception of Jessie, it looks like he's not entirely wrong. You would think that because he's the heroine's brother, Caleb is really a good guy who has been unfairly targeted. You would be wrong. He is horrible. But Jessie doesn't know that. Just as Silas is using her to track his prey, she is using him, hoping to find her brother and save him.

I think my biggest problem with this book was that I found myself confused by some of the world building. I understand that a new Seattle was built above the rubble of the old, and only the upper class live above ground. After a time, I figured that city below ground was the remnants of the Old Seattle (?
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I really enjoy stories with heroes who have to redeem themselves (as long as they truly manage it). I had concerns about this book being another depressing post-apocolyptic urban fantasy. Instead, I found myself far too enthralled with the characters' conflicts, the action, the plot, the world-building, the sexual tension, smoking hot (not tender) love scenes, and most of all, the author's voice. Her style, and this particular plot premise, aren't going to work for everyone, but they did for me. I wish Amazon had a Gold Star I could give it.
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Silas Smith, and agent of the Holy Order, is looking for Jessie Leigh's brother Caleb, who is at the top of the Witches to Be Executed for Crimes Against Humanity list. Not a list I'd want to be on. I'm just sayin'. Jessie's on the run and has no intentions of being captured by the Order. Caleb vanished a year before, leaving everything and everyone behind, and Jessie hasn't seen him since. When Agent Smith eventually tracks Jessie down, he can't deny his attraction to her. Agent Smith is a witch hunter, and Jessie is a witch, so why in the heck is she so attracted to him too? It's definitely not a match made in heaven, especially since if Silas knew Jessie was a witch, there would be hell to pay. Jessie can't believe Caleb could be involved in the brutal murders that the Order has been tracking, and will do anything to protect her brother. It's a race against time for Jessie and Silas to find the truth, because a prophecy has foreseen Jessie's death, and her secret may get her killed.
I loved Blood of the Wicked. It's categorized as Paranormal Romance, and there are certainly some steamy scenes (very steamy), but the action takes front and center, and I really enjoyed the author's rendering of a post apocalyptic Seattle. Seattle has been built up in layers since earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, and all manner of "natural" disaster, supposedly caused by witches, nearly destroyed the earth. Humans have rebuilt, but vast wastelands still remain, and the lower levels of Seattle remain full of danger. Ms. Cooper provided just enough world building to whet the appetite, but she has plenty of material to mine in future novels. Jessie is smart and tough, but is still very vulnerable from years of living off the grid to avoid persecution.
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