[Review] FULL BLOODED by Amanda Carlson

Amanda Carlson

Cover Copy: Born the only female in an all male race, Jessica McClain isn’t just different—she’s feared.

After living under the radar for the last twenty-six years, Jessica is thrust unexpectedly into her first change, a full ten years late. She wakes up and finds she’s in the middle of a storm. Now that she’s become the only female full-blooded werewolf in town, the supernatural world is already clamoring to take a bite out of her and her new Pack must rise up and protect her.

My Thoughts: After the action packed into BLOODED, the prequel novel, I had hopes of more of the same for FULL BLOODED.

FULL BLOODED was a little hard to understand at times, though the concept is simple: Jessica is thought to be part of a disastrous prophesy about a female werewolf, one that makes the other werewolves very anxious, even though Jessica has shown no signs of turning being a werewolf, for all outwards appearances she’s very human. She leaves the Pack, assumes a new identity, and stays hidden until her first shift. Alone on her first shift, she trashes her apartment and escapes into the wild until she can gain control of the wolf and assumes human form again. Because of the prophesy, she can’t return to the Pack for help during this tumultuous time of learning to handle her wolf, so she goes back to trying to live under her human identity, even though there’s now a police investigation into the trashing of her apartment and the wolves might be onto her.

This is where it gets hard to understand. Why go back to that old life? Why not assume a new identity and move on? Also, several wolves from the Pack are Jessica’s friends and family, and they move to help her, which only serves to draw attention to Jessica from the wolves who want her dead so the prophesy can’t come into fruition. Why do this? Why not gather the allies she has and find another place to live for a while?

I also had trouble with the concept of the male werewolves being so against Jessica. If, after all these centuries of not having a female, wouldn’t they be happy? Wouldn’t they be attracted to her? Even for survival of the species? I understand they have their beliefs, but this part of the plot wasn’t grounded enough. It seemed to be reaching. Probably because the concept was not clearly shown, but discussed in dialogue.

It doesn’t help that the cop investigating the apartment damage is so bitterly against Jessica for no good reason. She came out more like a victim than the action hero I wanted her to be.  Additionally, after every piece of action, Jessica’s neighbour (who is Latina and her accent is spelled out phonetically in all her dialogue. It was irritating and offensive.) and workplace assistant/friend lavish so much concern over her I felt a little nauseous. “Oh, Jessica! I was so worried! I’m so glad you’re okay!” It really ends up victimizing the hero than making her sympathetic.

(Also, as someone who used to install burglar alarms after break-ins, I found the police’s investigation to be completely unrealistic. Police departments don’t have time to investigate break-ins. This level of harassment would have been much more logical if the bad cop was a private investigator working for the insurance company of the building’s owner.)

I might have had fewer questions about the logic if I was better able to immerse into the story, but I found page after page was dialogue explaining the world-building. (This is “telling”, not “showing”.) There was so much discussion setting up each action piece, followed by so much post-action discussion, it really slowed the pace. I found myself skimming over many pages.

I’m hoping a lot of this is set-up for future books.

The action scenes were brilliant but too short and too far between. I mean this is really Ms. Carlson’s strength. There were times when reading the action, she really reminded me of Kelley Armstrong. I want to see more action.

Ms. Carlson also writes some pretty hot sexytimes in FULL BLOODED, but these scenes were also too short and too far between. When Jessica is surrounded by so many hot werewolves in her life, I had trouble deciding which one I wanted to root for. Well done!

Fans of Rachel Vincent’s Shifter series will love FULL BLOODED. The writing and storyline both reminded me of ROGUE.

Rating: B-
Series: Jessica McClain, #1
Publisher: Orbit
Acquired: NetGalley

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