I am reviewing a new-to-me series that takes an old Russian myth for a modern twist on a paranormal investigator of sorts. It is unique and fresh, see if this is of interest to you.
Copyright: Sept 2014 (Berkley) 352 pgs
Series: 1st in Baby Yaga series
Sensuality: Sex scene - be warned
Mystery Sub-genre: Paranormal Amateur Sleuth
Main Characters: Barbara Yager, Poses as an herbalist and researcher
Setting: Modern day, clearwater County on East Coast somewhere
Obtained Through: Personal purchase
Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, this series portrays Baba Yaga like the Dread Pirate Roberts, a title that is bestowed on a witch raised to assume the mantle. Babas keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world and the "otherworld". They are fierce witches who you don't want to cross. Barbara Yager, raised to be a Baba since she was rescued from a Russian orphanage by the previous Baba, poses as an herbalist and researcher. She travels where she is called upon, with her dragon-turned-dog in an enchanted Airstream. She also has a motorcycle and wears black leather.
Barbara, or Baba is summoned to find a missing child. Turns out three children have gone missing where only a few seconds give an opportunity for abduction without leaving a trace. Barbara believes it is something "otherworldly" that is abducting the children. To complicate matters, the community is in an uproar over a hydrolic fracturing (fracking) company barging in and pushing its agenda on the small town, so emotions are running high and an outsider isn't very welcome. Barbara has never been interested in human males much, until she meets...the local sheriff Liam who is desperate to find the children before another goes missing and sparks fly.
Barbara/Baba has two sides to her personality, a "kick-ass rather than reason" side and a sensitive side that empathizes with others. In this story her human side, that she had buried as the Baba, is challenged to connect with people. Sheriff Liam McClellan is likeable and slightly damaged and can't stop thinking of Barbara. There are three dragons who aid the Babas in human form: Mikhail Day is dressed all in white and blond hair, Gregori Sun is dressed in red leather and Asian, and Alexei Knight is a giant man dressed all in black. They each ride a matching motorcycle and are fearsome. Chudo-Yudo is a small dragon disguised as a large pitbull dog who is Barbara's companion.
This has some good world-building as the "otherworld" is described and the cause-and-effect relationship between the this world and it add tension to the story. The plot is well done, providing a serious motivation for the kidnappings and many interferances to ratchet up the tension. This keeps the pages turning.
The climax was unique and well thought-out. All loose ends are tied up and Barbara must decide what she wants from her life after this. The next book will involve another Baba in another part of the U.S. so this is a complete book in itself although it piques the interest for the next Baba tale.
An old Russian myth is breathed new life and given a modern spin. Barbara Yager makes a determined and fearsome investigator seeking out the kidnapper of three children. This story takes paranormal and leaves out the typical for dragons and other mythical creatures to come out and play.
Rating: Excellent - Loved it, it had a good grip on me! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list
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