books

Deborah Blake

Books

Baba Yaga: Wickedly Dangerous (2014), Wickedly Ever After (2016)

 

 

Baba Yaga

 

Wickedly Dangerous (2014)

Wickedly-DangerousIt’s no secret that I love folk and fairy tales, and since I first read about her hut on chicken legs, I have loved Baba Yaga. She’s a witch who is sometimes wicked, but sometimes not.

Nobody insulted her house. Not even in the old days when it was a wooden hut running around on oversized chicken legs.

Kinda like Loki, now that I think about it, except she’s not a trickster. She just does what she believes right, and sometimes if she things you’re in the wrong, the consequences aren’t something you’ll like.

Anyway.

I was very excited when I saw there was a new supernatural fantasy series starring Baba Yaga–hooray!

I was less excited when I saw the cover. This is a fantasy, and somewhat of a mystery, but it is also a romance.

So…. yeah. I don’t really think babushka & romance. Not that babushkas don’t deserve romance, because they totally do. But they’re not generally romance fodder, babushkas.

Plus, I think that having a babushka as a heroine would have been AWESOME.

But, no.

So, yeah, there is kissing and boinking. I skimmed those parts.

Aside from not being a babushka, I actually quite liked Baba Yaga–or Barbara Yager as she calls herself in modern America. And really, it’s not like there isn’t a tradition of Russian witches looking however they damn well please. (OK, well, maybe I’m basing that all on Night Watch, but still, it seems fair and reasonable.)

It turns out Baba Yaga is a job title, and there are multiple women who fill the role across the world, although there are only three working in the US. Which makes sense since there aren’t that many Russians that migrated to the US.

(Now I want to know the Baba Yaga : Russian emigre ratio, and how it is determined–and by whom.)

So, Barbara Yager is called to the middle of nowhere, where three children have gone missing. The town–like many rural areas of the US–is at odds over fracking. If you don’t know what fracking is, you’re very lucky. Baba Yaga seems to have the same opinion as I do of fracking–long term destruction for short term benefits.

No matter how long she lived, she could never get used to the callous disregard with which so many humans treated the natural world. Perhaps because their lives were so short, and therefore none would be around to reap the disastrous harvest of their shortsighted choices.

And she meets a handsome sheriff. (Of course she does.) Who has a tortured past. (Of course he does.) But is a relatively nice guy despite having all that hanging over him.

So how was the story? I quite liked Baba Yaga, and enjoyed her resistance to modernity.

“You never saw Star Wars? Ghostbusters? Casablanca? You never saw The Princess Bride?” Good grief. That should be against the law. He should arrest her, just on general principle.

I also liked how her… tools aren’t really the correct term, but how her hut and her mortal and pestle have changed to fit in.

And interesting story that I enjoyed, despite the romance.
Rating: 7.5/10

Published by Berkley

Wickedly Ever After (2016)

Wickedly-Ever-AfterBarbara Yager–one of the Baba Yaga in north America, has been married in the eyes of the mundane world, but in order to share her long life with her husband, she must be hand-fasted by the queen of faerie.

This is a novella that follows Wickedly Dangerous and it was fun and amusing.

Not for the first time, Barbara wished that the Otherworld could just get cable TV. It would probably prevent a lot of trouble.

“You should have seen it when it was a hut on chicken legs. Sometimes when I was a kid I’d go to sleep in Russia and wake up in Poland.” She thought about that statement for a moment. “Of course, the border moved around a lot, so occasionally that was politics, not magic.”

It’s a fun story, and I enjoyed it. I’m not sure if you want to read this if you haven’t read the first book, solely because this novella gives away some of previous story, but if you’re not sure if you’d enjoy the writing and characters, this is a good way to dip your toes in to see what you think.
Rating: 7/10

Published by InterMix