Saturday, June 23, 2012

Blood of the Wicked by Karina Cooper (Dark Mission Series)

Blood of the Wicked (Dark Mission Series)

Publisher's Blurb
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.

Review:  This novel grabbed me from the beginning. The setting is about 50 years in the future, after planetary catastrophes caused massive destruction.  A religious order has risen to power after blaming witches for the destruction, and a new Inquisition is the norm.  Witches are hunted and slaughtered, and the religious order called the Mission has unlimited power.  The story starts with Mission agent Silas Smith, a ruthless, experienced witch-hunter, going into a seedy dance club in the gritty lower levels of New Seattle tracking a lead to find Jessie.  Jessie is a witch on the run and she knows Silas is a hunter the second she lays eyes on him. She's been on the run since her mother was murdered, and over the last several years she practically raised her brother Caleb, teaching him to hide and survive.  Jessie is resourceful, smart, and desperate to find Caleb who disappeared a year ago, after telling Jessie not to try and find him.  Caleb's gift is seeing the future, and his last vision before he left was of Jessie's fiery death.
Silas doesn't know Jessie is a witch, though, and he plans to find her and use her to get to Caleb, who has been linked to several ritualistic and sadistic deaths in New Seattle.  When Silas captures Jessie, she agrees to help him find Caleb, planning on using the hunter to get to her brother.  But while both Silas and Jessie are plotting to use each other, they are also shocked to discover an intense attraction between them.  They are soon hunted by the coven that wants Jessie for her powers, betrayed by a traitor in the Mission, and closing in on Caleb, forcing them to depend on each other.

What sets this book above many others out there is the incredibly rich imagery in the writing.  Cooper's writing is like a rich, elegantly woven tapestry - the images jumped from the page and into my mind's eye, and as I read I was in the bar, on the run, chased through the destruction of the lower city, and I would swear I could see, smell and taste everything.  Which was pretty damned awesome when it came to the sex scenes.  Hot, intense and breathless are apt descriptors for their first time.  At the same time she is steering the reader along a very well-crafted plot, as we discover clues that Caleb may not be the innocent younger brother Jessie believes him to be.

Rich, exciting, dark and sexy, Karina Cooper is now on my must-read list.  I've already bought Lure of the Wicked, the second Dark Mission book and will review it soon.

For more information visit the author's website at

All Things Wicked (Dark Mission Series) Tarnished: The St. Croix Chronicles No Rest for the Witches: A Dark Mission Novella Lure of the Wicked (Dark Mission Series) Before the Witches

For more information visit the author's website at

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