Wicked Never Sleeps: an introduction to the Sixth Borough of New York

What is this about?: This is an introduction to the paranormal borough of New York, where witches, goblins and werewolves and other paranormal creatures live in harmony. Sort of. Throw in the Mayor’s murder and a new drug hitting the streets and it’s the perfect combination to introduce readers to Dani DeMarco — former detective, and now pizzeria owner. And maybe detective again.

What else is this about?: This is sincerely some fabulous worldbuilding right down to the enchanted furniture who talk. LaManna has created a glorious world I would definitely like to know more of — however the romance is the equivalent of knocking readers on the head with a hammer and yelling OTP RIGHT HERE PEOPLE OTP YOU KNOW WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN. (a threesome with the hot werewolf might save this ridiculousness, but I’m not holding my breath)

Blurb

Welcome to Wicked.

Wicked—the paranormal sixth borough of New York—is home to witches and goblins, werewolves and necromancers, elves and vampires…and former Detective Dani DeMarco. Dani’s busy with the grand opening of her family’s pizza parlor, when a knock on the door leaves her face to face with the stunning, yet lethal vampire in charge of the NYPD’s supernatural branch—Captain Matthew King.

There’s been a high profile double homicide in the Sixth Borough, and Dani’s peculiar talent is the only hope to untangle the web of lies and magic connecting the dead victims. As the case spirals into a pulse-pounding chase, Dani’s not sure what’s worse: the fact that a ruthless killer has his sights set on her, or that her feelings for New York’s most infamous vampire have returned…

All is fair in love and war, but passion is downright Wicked…

Wicked Never Sleeps is fun. It’s a world I would gladly get lost in over and over for the worldbuilding that Gina LaManna creates within the Sixth Borough.

Dani DeMarco and the Sixth Borough

Dani DeMarco has retired from the force, and opened a pizzeria. She is a witch, someone who can see spell residuals, which helps her identify just what went down at a murder scene, which in a paranormal borough kinda handy when the murder weapon is a spell. 

However, her replacement has disappeared, and one of her four brothers, Nash, appears at her grand opening with her former lover and captain, Matthew, to ask for her help in solving the mayor’s murder. Dani agrees and so begins our introduction to this world.

As Dani and Matthew begin their investigation readers are introduced to the politics of the Sixth Borough, the drug problem that exists, as well as the numerous nameless women who are being killed and no one seems to be interested in solving their murders, not unless they’re found with the mayor dead in a hotel. 

Realistic and contemporary issues, I thought, which made this all the more interesting.

The investigation takes Dani and Matthew to a shifter bar, where they meet Gray, a werewolf who seems to be involved in the case though they can’t figure out how. And then Dani meets Willa, a cheery spellslinger and receptionist who she manages to get fired from her job with a mayoral candidate — the only mayoral candidate still alive.

It’s characters like this, along with the enchanted furniture — I’m not even kidding, Dani’s fridge is pissed she hasn’t shopped in so long, and Carl, her couch seems to be a hoarder of lost things. Look, think Disney with a grittier edge, but it works — that make this whole world work. I loved every one of the secondary characters in this, and yes, that includes the Orc that is Matthew’s boss and Captain.

Dani is smart and accomplished, and very good at her job, even though certain events have caused her to doubt that.

Which brings us to frigging Matthew. 

Matthew King and the Curse of the OTP

There is no doubt that the book series is going to end up with them together (unless he dies, which a girl can live in hope) because rightaway the book establishes, he’s an alpha vampire (mind you he’s the only vampire in the city, so what’s the point of hitting us over the head with his alphaness?) and Dani is the love of his long undead life.

No really, he’s spent hundreds of years never loving anyone as much as he loves Dani, because they’re fated, mated blah di blah. 

Essentially, there is no romantic interest that will stand in their way because it’s fate that they are going to be together,

Give me strength.

The book drops hints about Dani’s past, the mistakes that caused her to leave the force and instead of letting Dani come to terms with what she did or didn’t do, and giving her character the responsibility of bearing the consequences of her actions, Matthew takes it all on himif he hadn’t done X to Dani, the whole situation would not have happened, and she would not have left the force

That does Dani’s character such a disservice and annoyed me no end — because the book is so damned good otherwise. Even Matthew and Dani’s relationship is better without his incessant alphaness, and all this OTP nonsense — because they are passionate, they do love each other but they both recognise they have issues apart they have to deal with … and yet the book tells us over and over, they’re it for one another so where’s the emotional impact of any of their characterisations when it comes to choosing to be apart to be able to come together at some point?

This is probably why the werewolf, Gray is miles healthier than anything Matthew is #TeamGray baby.

Gray is in love with a woman, Lorraine. She isn’t THE love of his life, she’s not fated to be his mate, or mated to his fate or whatever — but he loves her. He mourned her death and he sought revenge for her loss, AND he was healthy enough to realise he may be attracted to Dani, but there’s no way anything is going to happen because the woman he loved died. 

That right there makes Gray miles more interesting a character than Matthew, and obviously no chance as a legit love interest for Dani, because what’s the point of anything given how hard the book hits readers over the head with how Dani is Matthew’s?

Honestly. I can’t with this book. I talked myself out of reading the next in the series three times while writing this review — and I WANT a good urban fantasy to sink my teeth into.

12 Comments

  • Silvia says:

    Nope, I’m gonna pass on this one . . . I hope you find the good urban fantasy you’re so waiting to sink your teeth into, Verushka!

    • Verushka says:

      the worst thing about this, is that everything else in this book? I absolutely enjoyed. Instead of letting these two find their way back to each other, or work on anything it’s all: fated to be, blah blah blah.

  • Such a shame you didn’t enjoy this book. At surface, it seems to tick all the boxes for me (and yay, pizza!), but reading your in-depth review makes me revaluate my opinion, and this is definitely not for me.

    • Verushka says:

      Everything else in this book, barring the way the romance is handled, is genuinely, fun and interesting with some seriously good worldbuilding. But given how closely they work together, and that Matthew has his own chapters in the book, there’s no respite from having the inevitability of them shoved down my throat. That is just bleh.

  • Jen Mullen says:

    I love good urban fantasy, but think I’ll join Silvia in giving this one a pass.

  • Okay, I equally want to read this and don’t want to read this after your review! I love world building and I love urban fantasy. In fact, I don’t read enough of it because I feel like I could love it even more. But the romance sounds annoying as hell. And when I did read Twilight years ago I was soooo Team Jacob and this reminded me of it so much. Plus, are you really an alpha when you are the only one? I thoroughly enjoyed your review though and haven’t ruled out picking this one up!

    • Verushka says:

      LOL, I am looking forward to your review then, Barb. I hate how inevitable this romance is because everything — from the worldbuilding to the banter and the characterisation (outside the romance) is so enjoyable. But bc Dani and Matthew work so closely together, there was no escaping it.

  • Lark says:

    You had me until you wrote the words “alpha vampire” and “love of his long undead life”. I just can’t do it. 🙂

  • Ugh, this is such a bummer. Sounds like the whole Matthew/Dani thing ruins what could have otherwise been a pretty amazing series. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one. I think it’s one I might have picked up otherwise, but I think your review has saved me from reading a book I’d probably end up wanting to fling out the window, lol.

  • Despite the fated romance this sounds so good, and I see the ratings for the next five books are solid. Damn. I am adding this to my wishlist because that issue aside; the rest sounds pretty dang good.

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