The mesmerizing and highly anticipated sequel to Something Red transports readers to the harsh and enchanting world of thirteenth-century England, where a group of unlikely heroes battles an ancient evil.
In the critically acclaimed historical fantasy Something Red, the young warrior Hob, his mentor Jack, the mystical Irish queen Molly, and her powerful granddaughter Nemain travelled far and wide, battling shapeshifters, sorceresses, warrior monks, and otherworldly knights. Now, a new type of evil has come to reside in a castle by the chilly waters of the North Sea. Men disappear and are found as horribly wizened corpses. Warriors ride out and return under a terrible spell. Only Molly, with her healing powers, can save the people from a malevolent nobleman and his beautiful, wicked wife. As all are drawn into battle, the young Hob and his adopted family must vanquish the dark powers before they themselves are defeated.
There is nothing like a medieval road trip! In The Wicked, Douglas Nicholas’ second book in the series that began with Something Red, a band of travelers once again encounters a malevolent force in the European woods. Through a combination of smarts, sorcery, and teamwork, will they be able to defeat the evil that is threatening them?
The same cast of characters from Something Red is present in The Wicked, and it really helped that I had read that book first. Molly, a practitioner of the ancient ways, her granddaughter Nemain, her paramour Jack, and the young Hob all travel together. They serve as musicians and Molly is a naturalist and healer. On this trip, they make their way to Castle Blanchefontaine where they meet the friends that they helped save in the first book. While speaking to Sir Jehan, they are introduced to Sir Odinell, a local landowner. A new neighboring lord, whose soldiers seem odd and who is causing difficulty for Sir Odinell, has troubled him. Molly agrees to look into the problem, and what she finds pits her and her friends against a new, otherworldly evil force.
I enjoyed this book much more than Something Red. First, knowing the general setting and the “rules” of this medieval world helped. I was not surprised that the travelers spent so much time on the road, and I enjoyed the lyrical descriptions of the natural world. I was also able to enjoy the characters more this time around. I felt like they were old friends, and it was easier for me to follow their personalities and their gifts this time around. Even the supporting characters were, in some cases, people who were in Something Red, and the continuity made for a good reading experience for me.
I found the plot of this second book less tedious than the first book. I daresay, I enjoyed this one. There were surprises, suspense, and growth in the characters. Having said that, I am not sure what my experience would have been had I not read the first book in the series. The events in that book are referred to in this one, and I think you would miss a lot if you did not read Something Red. There is a third book in the series that I am looking forward to reading. There seems to be prophecy to fulfill!
Recommended to people who like medieval, mystical settings. Thumbs up from me!
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Regina