For What It's Worth

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review: Full Blooded (Jessica McClain #1) by Amanda Carlson

It's not easy being a girl. It's even harder when you're the only girl in a family of werewolves. But it's next to impossible when your very existence spells out the doom of your race... Meet Jessica McClain -- she just became part of the pack.
In the vein of Kelley Armstrong and Patricia Briggs, a new urban fantasy that rewrites the werewolf myth. ~ Goodreads

Review:This book is getting rave reviews, from bloggers that I usually agree with, so I'm a little surprised that I had such a different reading experience than them with Full Blooded.

The werewolf mythology and world building is fresh and interesting. Jessica McClain is a 26 year old woman that shifts into her werewolf form for the first time. She is the first and only female werewolf in existence. A sign that the Cain Myth, which signals the end of all werewolves, is in fact real.  She's also the daughter of the Alpha and pack leader. This is not welcome news for his pack and Jessica is forced on the run with assistance from her father's loyal pack members.

Unfortunately, a lot of the things I liked about Full Blooded were also things that I didn't like. I know that doesn't make much sense but I'll try to explain.

We get to hear Jessica's wolf as they battle for dominance. I love the idea of actually hearing Jessica's wolf but on the other hand you end up reading a lot of Jessica talking to herself and trying to calm her wolf down. Same with her ability to speak with her father and brother using telepathy. It gives them an edge when in danger but it mysteriously goes on the fritz whenever the tension needs to be ratcheted up a notch. So something that seems cool at first - grew old or repetitive quickly.

I had two big problems with Full Blooded though. The first being that everything feels like one big conversation or info dump.There is a lot of telling. When Jessica asks a question, we get the answer…..the full, long…answer. Even in the middle of battles, the author will cut to a history lesson, or a long winded diatribe from the evil person (of which there are too many IMO). I kept getting pulled out of things. I know Carlson needs to set up the world building and that’s difficult with so much going on but it disrupted the flow of the story for me. It kind of felt like she was trying to cram it all into this one book instead of spacing things out over a few books in the series.

My next problem was the large cast of characters. I actually loved all of the pack members that surround and protect Jessica but there are just so many that I lost track of who was who after a while. We don't really get to know anyone other than knowing they are hot and/or loyal, including Jessica very well. More importantly I didn't feel invested in what happened to them.

A love interest is introduced, comes on really strong and then poof. HUGE cliffhanger. Worse than a cliffhanger - the story almost felt like it stopped mid scene.

I always enjoy a werewolf story though and Jessica is an interesting character. She's shaken and confused by the fact that she's all of a sudden a target for every supernatural creature around her but she never backs down and is loyal to the core. She's also not afraid of asking for help. A quality I like in my heroines.

I really wish we got the foundation of her life as a human first. I would have liked to meet her friends, get a little background with her family and her job as a detective before we were thrust into the pack politics and romance. It was non stop danger from multiple sources.

It felt like I was constantly being hit with new information, characters, twists and background.

Before passing over Full Blooded though, I would take a look over on Goodreads because the vast majority of reviewers loved this one. There is also a prequel story, called Blooded, that gives background information about Jessica. Maybe if I read that first, it would have helped but honestly I don't think you should have to and I'm not sure it would have fixed the information overload for me.

Rating: 2.5 out of 4 Fans of werewolf/shifter stories should give Full Blooded a shot because of Carlson's unique take on the genre and a compelling cast of characters. While the writing style didn't work for me it does have a great premise and a heroine that other readers might enjoy.

Author: website | Twitter
Source: Netgalley
Buy the book! Full Blooded (Jessica McClain)


  1. Ugh, I hate those mid-sentence like cliffhangers. It does sound interesting though. Great review!!!

    What's up with the cover? She's clearly not wearing a bra. Just saying.

  2. I think major cliffhangers are the "it thing" to do now, and I am not a fan!

  3. Interesting, most seem to adore this I am so glad I read your review because I need this. The bad and the good

    1. It's always good to get a few viewpoints first.

      The majority of people love it though so give it a shot.

  4. Sad to hear this didn't work out for you. I read the novella first and that helped me get acclimated to the world and Jessica's struggles leading towards the significance of finally being able to shift. I for one loved those conversations, it highlighted the idea of how multi layered her struggles are, not just with the Pack but with herself too.

    Anyway, I hope your next read is better.

    1. I did like her conversations with the wolf. Maybe I should pick up the prequel and see if it helps me.

      I do like the concept but Full blooded just didn't work for me even though I did enjoy some things about it.

  5. Awww! I'm sad you didn't love this one. I enjoyed Jessica's inner monologue with her wolf greatly.I can't recall coming across that before. I remember James, Danny, Nick and Tyler very well and loved them all for their loyalty and personalities, especially Danny! And then the love interest! Definitely want more of him. I think the ending set up the next book nicely, but I'm also a fan of cliffhangers because they just up the intensity of the experience for me.

    As with any and every book we read, we are not going to like them all, even when our trusted readers do. Chalk up to our uniqueness and different experiences. :)

    1. It sucks when you're the only one who doesn't like something lol

      I do agree that all the side characters were good - I just felt like so much foundation was crammed into this one book that it felt rushed to me. For whatever reason the writing style just didn't work for me.

      I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone though because it's unique and so many other people loved it.

      I'm just the odd man out this time - it happens.

  6. You explained very well why this story did not work for you. It does feel weird when you're the only one who didn't like a book, but books are so subjective.

  7. Te more I read, the more I realize that writing a good cliffhanger is hard. The ones that feel like they just stop are so frustrating!

    1. Same here. For one I read too many series now to keep track and some are so intense that it hurts me to wait a year!! lol

      The other thing is - again from reading so many series - my expectations are always too high by the time the book comes out. What I imagined would happen is always better than what does.