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Joint Review – The Wicked (The Elder Races #5.5) by Thea Harrison

The Wicked cover image
Publisher: Samhain
Publish Date: 2 July
How we got this book: ARC from the publisher

The adventure of a lifetime might just end in turmoil, but when it includes meeting your future mate, who gives a hoot?

A Novella of the Elder Races

For a librarian with a focus on rare magic books, Olivia’s new job is a dream come true. She has been hired as part of a team to help manage the safe transportation of the collection of books owned by the Vampyre sorceress Carling Severan. The fact that the library is located on a mysterious island in an Other land only heightens the adventure.
Head of security for the expedition, Sebastian Hale is tired of his rootless life of adventure and finds himself attracted to the calm, beautiful librarian. But he is living a personal nightmare. He has been hit with a curse that is slowly taking away his sight, and he doesn’t know if he will survive the results.

But the powerful feelings growing between them, along with Sebastian’s inner turmoil, take a backseat when they learn there is a traitor lurking among their expedition team. With Elder Races politics and a priceless library on the line, they’ll have to rely on each other to survive the experience.

Warning: When a librarian who likes to nest meets an owl Wyr who has always lived for adventure, their romance won’t just be fly-by-night…
The blurb came from the author’s website.

1. Thoughts on the Hero

MinnChica: I really liked Sebastian. He was a strong and steady hero, very Alpha without being a jerk. I liked his take-charge attitude, toward his job, his life, and Olivia. Despite the fact that he was dealing with some crazy changes in his life, he seemed to be pretty resigned to what was happening to him, and how his life was possibly going to change in the future. Although things looked bleak at times, Sebastian always seemed to be ready to charge forward, and live to the fullest. I loved that about him.

Has: I also loved Sebastian, not only I liked how he was portrayed, which had that quiet and brooding intensity. The moment he sees Olivia, and later with their first conversation was full of tension which was heightened due to his demeanor. I also loved the fact he was a hero who was short, without losing the alpha factor and that was refreshing because it is rare to read a romance especially a paranormal alpha hero who isn’t over 6 feet. Sebastian’s ‘curse’ was also fun to explore, I liked how that helped to give him a touch of vulnerability, although I wished this was expanded more because I felt it was glossed over a bit.

E: Sebastian was a lot of fun. He was a predator and therefore relatively Alpha but he was also suffering from a nasty curse. This particular curse if it continued would limit his ability to function in both shifted and human form and render him dependent upon others. A huge change for a person whose very life was centered around his unique abilities. Even with his personal struggles I loved how Sebastian didn’t have any issues setting his eyes on Olivia and deciding that there would be wooing. I also liked how he appeared a bit more “normal” than most alpha heroes but retained his sense of intensity. He didn’t have any issues dealing with Phaedra either. *grin*

2. Thoughts on the Heroine

MinnChica: I thought Olivia was so sweet and wonderful. It was obvious she had a tender heart and cared so much for every single person she met. She was soft and came across as very reserved, and yet Sebastian seemed to be able to bring out a level of confidence in her too. I loved her interactions with the other characters, especially Phaedra . They had some great moments together, working at becoming friends.

Has: Olivia was the perfect heroine for Sebastian because she was patient and observant. I also loved the little touches of humour when she was teleported into the meeting by Phaedra who forgot her luggage and then called the Djinn a ‘dimwit’. I really liked how Olivia came out of her shell when the attraction between Sebastian and her became tangible and I loved the scene when they shared their first kiss.

E: Olivia was also a lot of fun. It took a bit for her to emerge from her shell but when she was annoyed or feeling comfortable the little accents of her personality emerged. As both MinnChica and Has mentioned earlier I felt her interactions with Phaedra were great! I also admired how she maintained her professionalism despite a sometimes hostile working environment. I also had a huge soft spot for Olivia because she loved books and collections and some of my most numerous childhood memories come from time spent in libraries. She also provided a great foil for Sebastian because she was gentle but stubborn enough to keep him in check when necessary.

3. Favorite Scene

MinnChica: With a novella this short, it can be really hard to find a favorite scene, as they all have to be good and packed with meaning and substance. I think for me there were a series of moments that made up my favorite parts of the book, and that was the growing friendship between Olivia and Phaedra. From Phaedra transporting Olivia the very first time, mid-hug with Grace, to their short and funny chit-chat in the bathroom, to Phaedra’s overprotecting nature. Those were just a few key moments throughout the story that spoke volumes to me.

Has: Although I loved their first kiss, the climactic scene in the end was my favourite because it was suspenseful, tense and it really pushed Olivia and Sebastian’s feeling to the fore. I liked how Sebastian kind of lost his cool resolve but Olivia kept her cool head. It really summed up how they worked together as a couple and I would love to see more of that in the future.

E: Wow so many good scenes. I think I am going with an early conversation between Sebastian and Olivia when he said that he needed to be convinced that the two women, Olivia and Phaedra, were not going to cause problems on the trip. I thought that conversation showed Olivia’s complexity and cemented Sebastian’s interest in her as he discovered some unexpected depths.

4. Dislike about book

MinnChica: I think for me the thing I didn’t like about this book was the length. I would have loved to learn more about some of the books Olivia was packing away, and the business and friendship between Sebastian and his crew. I think Harrison does a wonderful job with secondary characters, and I would have liked to know more about Bailey and Phaedra. Unfortunately, given the length of the novella, that just wasn’t an option. However, that being said, the story itself was wonderful.

Has: I agree about the length – I think it was short, but I was satisfied with the romance and although I wanted more about Sebastian’s curse and how he dealt with it because I felt it wasn’t really in depth. However despite the restrictions of the length of the novella in not going into detail. I really liked how it ended.

E: My main complaint is really petty. I wished the humor that was evident in the first part of the book revolving around Phaedra continued throughout the book but I can see that necessity for seriousness and Phaedra wasn’t the star. I guess what this boils down to is that I really hope Harrison writes a story for Phaedra.

5. Any other misc. thoughts along with grade

MinnChica: All in all I liked this Elder Races novella. While it didn’t have an item or theme to link together with previous (or future) novellas, it was still a wonderful story. I liked Olivia and Sebastian and their romance was so sweet. I do wish Harrison would have spent more time growing their relationship on the page though, as it felt like a lot of their bonding moments were done behind the scenes.
I give The Wicked a B

Has: Overall, I really liked this installment, although it was short in length and there was some plot points that was glossed over, the romance was sweet and with a lovely touch of intensity. There was also some great scenes of humour which has become a fast trademark of Thea Harrison’s style. I can’t wait for Phaedra’s story because she is fast becoming a very fun and interesting character.
I also give The Wicked a B.

E: I was super excited to hear that Harrison was going to start fitting in Elder Races novellas again. They are great to get a taste of the “ordinary” people and flesh out the world. I also enjoyed seeing a glimpse into the lives of some of my other favorite characters and how they were settling into a different existence. The contrast between Sebastian and Olivia was perfect because the contrast also provided compliments. I did figure out who the bad guy was in the very beginning but I did not expect the reason why. My reason was a bit more simplistic so it was great to see the twist that appeared and validated my enjoyment of the story to that point.
I am also giving The Wicked a B.

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By E_booklover

E is addicted to books. She discovered at an early age that not only were they her transport to far off worlds, adventures, and exotic cultures, but that she ran into far fewer objects if she walked while reading then if she wasn't reading. She reads across several genres, such as: romance, western,mystery, SF/F and its derivatives. She isn't too picky except for good characterization, settings she can imagine, and a story that flows logically... umm so ok -- she wants a good story. Have any to recommend?

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