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Blood of the Wicked: A Dark Mission Novel Mass Market Paperback – May 31, 2011
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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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Actual rating; 4.5 Stars
Blood of the Wicked by Karina Cooper is the first book in the Dark Mission paranormal romance series.
POV: Third, alternating
Jessie is a witch in hiding. Silas, a witch hunter, is looking for her because he thinks she can lead him to her brother. Her brother, Caleb, is believed to be a member of an evil coven that is killing people. Silas doesn’t know Jessie is a witch. When he finds her, they have a strong sexual attraction for one another. Jessie knows they are enemies, but she can’t stop her body from responding to him. She has to lie about being a witch because Silas is trained to kill all witches. Silas knows Jessie will hate him once he finds and kills her brother, but he can’t stop himself from getting involved either.
Caleb is collecting power so he can kill the coven leader. He plans on taking over the coven. He is not the brother Jessie knew. Still, Jessie is determined to find him and save him from Silas.
The pacing is good. There is enough action and danger to satisfy readers of other genres.
Jessie is tough in some ways, but soft in other ways. She’s a well-rounded character. Silas is likeable too. He’s a lot like Jessie, except he is prejudiced. He can’t help it; he’s been taught that all witches are evil. This is his main obstacle in this story.
The book is well-written. I didn’t see any glaring errors.
I liked how Jessie and Silas are basically using each other at first, but fall in love anyway.
It was refreshing to see a heroine and hero who get physically hurt. They didn’t have any super powers or magic to make the pains go away.
Really, not many. The only thing that bothered me was the last quarter of the book. I got confused about what was going on, especially concerning the ritual. I didn’t understand why the coven leader wanted Jessie. I also didn’t understand what the ritual was for or why it got screwed up. I probably should have gone back and re-read this part, but I didn’t have time.
Overall Assessment: I enjoyed reading Blood of the Wicked. This is a series I will continue to read.
Strip club bartender Jessie Leigh is a woman who is a master of disguises and, more critical to her continued survival, running. Jessie is a witch, but her power does not lie in combat or destruction; her gift is sight. She can "see" events that are going on in the present without being at the location. She has been trying to track her younger brother Caleb, a witch who can see the future, but he has somehow managed to block her sight. He left her a year ago after a cryptic prophecy that would ultimately result in her death - a prophecy that begins to unfold the night a soldier of the Holy Order comes into the club searching for her.
Silas Smith has reluctantly re-entered the fold of the Holy Order of Saint Dominic, a zealous organization that capitalized on the post-apocalyptic chaos and established itself as the power in the new world. Retired for fourteen years after a failure he never forgave himself for, an old colleague has brought him back into the fold to track a killer who has murdered multiple women in brutal ritual slayings - Jessie's brother Caleb. He intends to use Jessie to track her brother, and isn't afraid to lie or cheat to attain his goal. He doesn't know that Jessie's a witch, and the anticipation of the exposure of that secret is a fun build up that does not disappoint at the revelation.
The initial attraction between these two is purely driven by outside events. Near misses, murder attempts, frustration, and fear cause Silas and Jessie to come together in a sort of frantic affirmation of life and emotion. There is physical attraction, but they are very much using each other in the beginning. The emotional bond develops later, with hardened, cynical Silas seeing Jessie as "sunshine" and Jessie seeing, with her gift and her heart, what drives and motivates Silas.
Blood of the Wicked is probably one of the darkest paranormal romances I have ever read. It was similar to my reaction after watching the first television episode of The Walking Dead - I was taken aback, shocked and horrified in some areas, but completely riveted by the characters and plot. The writing was compelling, and the imagery is some of the most graphic I've read. It's a fresh new angle in the highly congested paranormal romance genre.
Four and a half stars.
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For me to put it down..