“Appearances can be deceiving.”
The dark and mysterious Remington utters these words to our heroine, undoubtedly with the smirk he seems born to. Not only is he a swoon-worthy rogue, but his assessment is all too accurate. The theme that runs deeply throughout this Young Adult novel is that nothing is as it seems.
These Wicked Delights is a stand-alone contemporary fantasy by the truly wonderful Jessi Elliott, author of the Twisted series and co-author of the Charlie Travesty books. Here, Elliott makes her move from New Adult to YA, and she does so without flaw. These Wicked Delights still has all the flirtation, romance, and riveting tension that we love from her other works, and yet feels right at home in this magical, young adult tale.
When eighteen-year-old Emery Leclerc is taken from her home by a man who claims she has magical powers, she isn’t sure who to call first: the police or the psych ward.
After discovering that the magic running through her veins is the reason her parents died years ago, Emery wants nothing to do with it. She’d like nothing more than to return to her boring, small-town life. But left unchecked, her newly awakened abilities prove dangerous. She must learn to control her magic or risk having it consume her—and dying before making it out of high school would seriously suck.
Unfortunately for Emery, learning magic isn’t as easy as her new housemates make it seem. As her frustration grows, she learns that, while she may not want her magic, there’s a Wielder who does… and the hauntingly familiar and wickedly charming Remington will do whatever it takes to have it. As Emery battles him, she struggles to unravel the truth about her magical block and the undeniable pull she feels towards her enemy.
They say the truth will set you free, but for Emery, it could be the very thing that kills her.
One of the things that amazed me most about These Wicked Delights, as is the case with all of Elliott’s work, is the ease and effortlessness of her writing style. She has a talent for hooking the reader right off the bat and not letting them out of her grasp. I have to admit, I don’t read many Young Adult novels these days, as it’s not my preferred genre, but I devoured this book in a single night.
I correct myself.
A single sitting.
I couldn’t believe it when I realized I was on the last chapter!
These Wicked Delights is an easy and truly enjoyable read, and it perfectly captures the confusing and transformative experience of becoming an adult. Even with her incredible abilities, Emery has a true sense of relatability about her. You can’t help but empathize with her on every page, on every step of her wild and emotional journey.
As much as I adore Emery, my favourite character is, unsurprisingly, the tall, dark stranger that we should probably avoid. The guy who is so wrong, but feels so right. Sue me, I have a type! To be fair, it was Elliott who introduced me to Damon Salvatore, so she really shouldn’t be that surprised at finding out Remington is my favourite character in These Wicked Delights.
Remington is everything I love. He’s mysterious, he’s sarcastic, full of charm and wit, and he is so much more than he seems. I wouldn’t dare drop a spoiler, but I will say it is a true gift to watch his layers slowly peel away. Every interaction he has with Emery is sure to leave you either giggling or shivering. Sometimes both.
Elliott’s true talent is romance. This woman knows how to build tension like nobody else! I would say that it’s the relationships in this book that makes it so hard to put down. The dark magic is fantastic, of course, adding plenty of suspense and wonder to every chapter. But Elliott clearly understands that magic alone is not enough to carry a contemporary fantasy. Take away the magic, and you still have an enticing novel full of characters that you genuinely want to know more about. And that is the true test of a good story. It isn’t about the dazzling sparks, but the raw heart. And Elliott does a great job with this.
All in all, if you like Young Adult, contemporary fantasy, and are in the mood for an enthralling enemies-to-lovers tale with a little darkness and a lot of sass, then you’ll definitely want to add These Wicked Delights to your shelf.
These Wicked Delights is out now.