Wicked as She Wants is the second full-length novel set in the world of Sang, an alternate/parallel universe to ours. In Sang, places are similar and have similar names, but the world is completely different. Bunnies will kill you. Unicorns are real. There are bludmen. Bludmen are vampire-like creatures who can be quite dangerous, but not always.
I’ll be honest and say that I picked this book up expecting to hate it. I was quite angry with Casper after his terrible behavior in The Peculiar Pets of Miss Pleasance and began to see him as a whiny nuisance rather than as the dreamy musician that I had met in earlier novels. Also, I had hoped for more Criminy and Tish in the caravan. I picked this series up initially because I wanted to read about the clockwork caravan (and the author was so very nice at a signing) but I kept reading because the writing and stories were so engaging. So I began to read…begrudgingly…but I began to read.
I was only a few pages into the novel before I was completely enthralled. I did not like Anha and was uncomfortable at first with the novel being written from her point of view. It was supposed to be Casper’s book, right? Even though I was mad at him, he is still enchanting. I read a few reviews that gave this book a low rating because it was not written from Casper’s point of view. So I gave it some thought before slamming down the gavel of judgement. The book would not have been nearly as good if it was Casper telling the story. By putting the narration in the voice of Anha, Dawson was able to let the reader fit the pieces of the story together in a way that would not have been possible otherwise. A large part of this book is figuring out why Casper has changed so much from Wicked as They Come to now. I don’t think it could have been done any other way and been nearly as effective.
I am still not a huge fan of Anha. I understand her a little better now though. I really hoped she would get shoved off the airship at times…
Speaking of airships, remember how I said this novel is not set in the caravan? Instead, a significant portion of the novel takes place aboard an airship brothel. Yes, you read that right. An airship brothel. How awesome is that? One of the things I love about Dawson’s writing is that her imagination and descriptions are so incredibly rich. She can take a relatively small number of words and totally transport the reader to the location she has imagined. In fact, there is a scene that takes place on Ruby Lane that has become my bookmarked passage for how to do description the right way. You’ll know it when you find it. It gave me goosebumps.
Overall, I give this book a great rating. I was angry with the characters and really didn’t like some of them, but I think that was the point. I can’t know for sure unless she tells me, but I think that is what the author was going for. I think we were supposed to be mad at Casper and want to figure out what his problem was. I think we were supposed to dislike Anha, especially at first. If that’s the case, then she pulled it off brilliantly. Bravo, madam.
This post originally appeared at http://www.theenchantedalley.blogspot.com in 2013