Wednesday, October 5, 2016

ARC Review: Dangerously Charming by Deborah Blake

Series:     Broken Riders #1
Pub. Date:Oct. 4, 2016
Length:304 pages

The Broken Riders series is a spinoff from Deborah Blake's original Baba Yaga world. I haven't read about the Baba Yagas yet, but I'm definitely going back to investigate. I just love the world full of faery/fairytales that Blake has built.

Mikhail Day was the White Rider, a sort-of helper to the Baba Yagas  (from Russian fairytale). But Mikhail and his two Rider brothers were captured and tortured by an evil witch and, as a result, lost their immortality and Rider abilities. Now Mikhail has retreated to a tiny cabin deep in the woods to lament his losses and wallow in guilt. He's not quite alone, he does have a magical steed that can appear as a motorcycle or a horse. How cool is that!?! Mikhail was a good hero... handsome and chivalrous, but one of the broken ones that you want to fix up with your healing love. (No eyerolls please, you know what I'm talking about.) Mikhail's insecurities were a bit much at times but, by the end, he was coming to terms with reality.

Jenna Quinlan was a run-of-the-mill human, albeit one whose family had been cursed by a vindictive faery many generations ago. As a result of the curse by the faery Zilya, the Quinlan women must give up their first-born child to be spirited away and raised in the Otherworld (aka Faery). Jenna is determined that the curse will end with her and has taken every precaution against pregnancy (aside from abstinence). In spite of her many precautions, Jenna is knocked up, rejected by the baby daddy, and on the run to a cabin in the wilderness. (See the meet cute on the horizon). Jenna was a good heroine as well. I liked that she wasn't always the damsel in distress... she could kickbox her opponents and wasnt afraid to go questing in the largesse of pregnancy.

The relationship between Mikhail and Jenna was not instalove, or even instalust. If I had one complaint about the story, it would be that there was a lack of chemistry between our main characters. Mikhail has a weakness for the damsel in distress, and Jenna is still smarting from the baby daddy drama. They fall into bed a time or two on their quest, but I didn't feel any grand passion or undeniable pull between them.

So what did I like about the story? The quest! I loved the quest to solve the riddle, and I loved loved loved the faerytale world and all its inhabitants. There was a dragon disguised as a pitbull named Chudo-Yudo. A magical steed named Krasivaya. Lizards wearing topcoats, the King and Queen of Faery, witches, shamans, and weird frightening fae creatures. It was like a Disney script for adults. I will totally keep reading about the Broken Riders, as soon as I go back and read the Baba Yaga series so I get the full scoop on this fantastical world.

I received an advanced copy of this book from Berkley via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.