You may remember Delilah S. Dawson from a guest post she wrote on this blog back in March, titled HOW TO WRITE BITCHES. Delilah also has a fantabulous tumblr blog chronicling the wisdom of her 4-year-old son.
But this post is about a book I just read. Delilah wrote it. It’s called Wicked As They Come. I will avoid major spoilers.
If the cover art didn’t tip you off, this is a romance novel. Anybody who knows me will tell you that this is Not My Kind Of Book. I read a romance novel about ten years ago, as a joke. It was called The Very Virile Viking. My wife and I wrote a joke review of it in our college newspaper. It was readable, but infuriating. I won’t go into too much detail, but when the author sets up a huge action scene with confrontation and intrigue, and then during that scene our point of view is back home with the kids, fretting with the “protagonist” until the big burly man comes back and gives us a paragraph of sanitized after-the-fact exposition, I threw the book across the room.
You now understand the source of my continued disdain for these books. It was simply porn. Devoid of an interesting plot, rushing through the details until they get to the overly ridiculous humping chapters. I understood their popularity, but they were not for me.
And then I became friends with Govneh. She introduced me to books and authors that I’d never heard of. I’ve done reviews of two of them. They were the type of book I read, and I was quite entertained. And then Delilah’s book was mentioned. And she said she liked it. It was a romance novel that had substance. I took the plunge and bought it.
Within the first few pages of Wicked As They Come, you’re thrown into the world of Sang after finding a mysterious locket. Sang is similar to our world in many ways. The names of cities are similar, sometimes identical. The towns are very much like Victorian England. There are rats scuttling about the dark places of the cities. There are deer and bunnies in the meadows outside of the towns. But Sang is much different in many ways too. The cities have two kinds of inhabitants, Pinkies and Bludmen. Pinkies are their slang for normal humans. Bludmen are the vampires of the world. Yes, it’s got vampires. They live together uneasily in close quarters. The rats are even vampiric! Bludrats are what they are called. They will swarm and drain you dry. The animals in the wild are vampiric, too! Delilah created Bludbunnies! They try to nibble at your ankles and you just punt them away.
To be completely honest, it was the bludbunnies that hooked me. I needed to know more about this world. As I kept reading, the protagonist, Letitia (a stranger in this world), and her beau, Criminy Stain (a native Bludman), weave a truly interesting adventure. There’s danger out there (it can get real bad if even the bunnies can eat you). There’s a mystery to be solved (how and why did Letitia find herself in Sang?).
Letitia, known as Tish in our world, has been through some rough patches in her life that continue to haunt her. She’s faced with a daunting choice, and I’m really happy with how and why she chose.
I can’t write a review without touching on the scenes we all come to expect. You know what I’m talking about. Right? Anybody? Don’t just sit there with that dumb look on your face. I’m talking about the full-on Barry White oooohhh myyyy sexy lovin’ scenes. And Delilah wrote some doozies. After one in particular, I sat in alone in my house and said, “Goodness.” I typically don’t talk to the house, but I thought it ought to know.
The story concludes with some loose ends, which I’m sure are picked up again in the second book of her series, Wicked As She Wants.
I’m going to be honest. I hesitated before picking up Wicked As They Come. Not because I cared if anyone knew I had read a romance novel (we all know men don’t read such things, right?), but because I was afraid it would be just like the other pointless romance crap. I didn’t want to have to struggle to finish it. I didn’t want to have to write a bad review.
Thankfully, I get to write a very very positive review. Not only did I not hate this book (which was my best-case prediction before I picked it up), but I actually thoroughly enjoyed it. Delilah S. Dawson wrote a fantastic book. It was an honest to god good story. The characters were actual people. The choices Letitia had to make were truly difficult. I can’t ask for much more out of a book. It’s why I read books.