I'm not sure how to go about rating this one.
I enjoyed it quite a bit, but the story itself had some problems that required a lot of complicity from me as a reader to be so ready to suspend my disbelief. I loved her prequel novella hoping that the small problems in there would be addressed in the novel. Unfortunately this is not the case. Same problems, just on a bigger scale.
The world building is fractured at best and there's only a very nebulous connection between witches and the post-apocalyptic world. There's no explanation about why Witches were singled out to shoulder the blame for the Cataclysm. Yes, PNR and UF often just drop magical folk on you, but the good ones tell you how they came to be and how they interact with the world and how the world interacts with them. Cooper sets up this post-apocalyptia and we must take it in faith that it all works. And it does, if you accept the premise wholeheartedly. So for the sake of enjoying the story, I did.
What I loved about the novella I love in this book too. Cooper has very immersive writing, which helped me forget some greater plot holes, because she is amazing at setting up the bleak tone and mood of the distopic world and managed her characters so well. We spend allot of time in Jessie and Silas's heads, we get to know them inside and out. Her writing is also very intense, lots of anger, lots of grief, lots of tension filled sex. Though, I will say that I was weirded out by the quick pacing and backwardness of the romance. Couples can get together faster under unique/stressful circumstances in a short story. Not so a novel. They timidly get to know each other later in the novel, after they spend the first six or so chapters lusting after each other. I had noticed this about her novella as well. Cooper doesn't make you wait 3/4 of the way to give you the sex. She gratifies you first then gives you the slow building love after. I'm generally used to this being the other way around. The sex scenes themselves are eloquently graphic, intense and brief. I have to admit, however that I'm not an expert on PNR and tend to read more on the UF side of the spectrum, so maybe this backwardness is typical?
The distopian world is interesting, but we're not told enough about it, and even while Silas and Jessie's intense romance is the Main Point I was often distracted by the fractured world/setting they were in. After a good romance I like to linger on the finer moments of the lovers tale, but at the end of Blood of the Wicked I found myself pondering all these questions I had set aside to enjoy the love story.
Some of these questions are spoilers, so if you're very curious:
So, I really enjoyed it, I'd have given it a 4.5 easily, but these niggling problems force me to drop it to at least 3. I will keep reading the series and hopefully these world building problems will improve.