Book Review: Something Wicked by Carol Oates

Henry has spent most of his time as a vampire in self-imposed isolation, but when a cult becomes determined to awaken the first vampire and a women who seems to be in the middle of it all comes crashing into Henry's life, something compels him to protect her... all while fighting his dark desire to drain her. Henry, his long-time friend Dougal, and Ari will have to figure out what the cult is planning if they want to save her.

Book Review: Something Wicked by Carol Oates | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, vampires
Title: Something Wicked
Pages: 300
My Rating: 4 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


This was a very atmospheric, moody, somewhat dark tale of a vampire’s life after being turned and his struggle against the darkness trying to overtake him.

One of the things I loved most was the writing itself. It was beautiful and lyrical, and it worked really well with the feel of the book.

I also liked that somewhat dark aspect that I mentioned. I say somewhat because it didn’t feel emotionally dark, and the parts that took place in the present weren’t that dark, but Henry did have a dark past. He was very much a brooding, tortured hero, but for good reason. Not only did he slaughter his whole family, he became so desperate to get his humanity back that, ironically, it caused him to lose his humanity when his search for a cure became a true obsession and led to him becoming Jack the Ripper.

But that, the whole Jack the Ripper thing, was another thing I liked. It was really fun and a nice touch. At first it seemed it was only going to be a one-sentence mention, but then further into the book it was explained a lot more and we got to see bits from when he was living in London and actually committing the murders (there were kind of dual storylines, one in the present, one in the past). So the author did include things from the real murders, like the prostitutes, the organ removal, and the letters.

The present wasn’t quite as interesting to me in the beginning and middle since it felt very slow-paced and was hard for me to really stay focused on (one of my only complaints), but the pacing did match the atmospheric feel, and the story picked up and surprised me in a great way near the end.

Then there were the characters. I did like Henry because I like brooding, tortured heroes, but Dougal really stole the show for me. The descriptions of him, the little mentions here and there of the things he did, the ways he acted—all filtered through Henry’s mind since it was from his POV—were just perfect. It was brilliant writing, and he was just an entertaining, endearing, and really well fleshed out and described character.

Even better though was the friendship in this. Dougal had seen Henry at his absolute lowest, lower than you can even imagine, yet he was always there for him, always wanting to help, and not willing to leave him.

There were only a few things I didn’t like about the book. I mentioned already that it was a little too slow-paced for me. I was also bothered by the instalove at first, but that became a little more bearable by the end. Last but not least, I also didn’t like Ari throughout most of the book. I grew to like her more by the end, but it aggravated me that she was keeping secrets when lives were at stake and Henry and Dougal were trying to help. And she was kind of a jerk sometimes, especially to Henry.

Overall though, despite the slow pace and few things I disliked, the beautiful writing did a wonderful job of setting the mood, the Jack the Ripper aspect was fun, Dougal was an amazingly well-written character, and I enjoyed reading Henry’s story.


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  1. Bookworm Brandee

    Another one added to my tbr! I’m going to have to create a shelf dedicated to you and your recs, Kristen. You know this one will score for me since it has a broody, tortured hero. I also like stories with strong bonds between characters so Henry and Dougal’s friendship will also score. And that Jack the Ripper element? Yeah, another score! I don’t know about the slow pace but if it’s part of the atmosphere I may be able to handle it. Mostly though, I’m really curious about Henry and his life as a vampire! πŸ™‚

  2. AngelErin

    I added this one to my wishlist! On your “recommended for” section it’s like you’re describing what I like 100%. lol! I definitely need to try this one and I don’t mind slow paced when it works for the overall atmosphere of the novel. Fantastic review and I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Rowena

    I haven’t read a vampire book in I don’t even know how long. One of these days, I’m going to pick up a book that you review since you’re reviewing some interesting ones. A lot different from the more popular paranormal books and authors out there.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Well I definitely think you should read a vampire book immediately, but I may be a little biased since I love them πŸ˜‰ But let me know if you read one that I reviewed! I’d love to see your thoughts πŸ˜€ And yeah, I do read mostly self-pub and indie books. Doesn’t get me the most followers, but it’s what I enjoy!

  4. Lola

    I love it when a book can pull off atmospheric well, there are few books that i think really fit that description. Not sure if I would like that type of writing, but it does seem to fit the book well. I like how you mention which type of dark the book is, I feel that would be very helpful for people like me who don’t mind some type of darkness, but do mind others. That is ironically that he wanted to regain his humanity so much he lost it, it does make me feel bad already for the character with what he has had to go through.

    It sounds original how here a vampire is Jack the Ripper and how you get to see a bit surrounding that topic. I have read a few books that did something with Jack the Ripper, although not a lot. I like how you mention Douglas steals the show, he sure sounds like an interesting character. Even though there were a few small things you didn’t like it sounds like it was a good read for you overall. Great review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I don’t think I read a lot of atmospheric books, so maybe I’m less critical of it? I did like the writing though. And I’m glad my mention of what type of darkness is helpful πŸ™‚ I also figured people like me who *do* like emotionally dark books might be disappointed if they thought this would be one of them. The loss of humanity thing was definitely ironic, and I did feel bad for him.

      I loved the Jack the Ripper thing! I’ve not read a lot of books that involved Jack the Ripper either, but I liked how, in this one, he actually *was* Jack, rather than the MC just trying to find Jack or figure out who he was or fight him or whatever. And Dougal was such a fun character lol. Thanks!

  5. Greg

    A vampire who becomes Jack the Ripper- that’s a good premise. See I would have thought too that they would be antagonists, but he actually IS Jack the Ripper. Nice. Plus a cult. I like me a good cult whenever possible.

    Nice cover too with the blood and the fingernails.