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.
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Buy the book! Full Blooded (Jessica McClain)