Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Amanda Carlson: Full Blooded

In her debut novel Amanda Carlson takes readers into the werewolf world that is dominated by males, until one female all of the sudden has the ability to turn.

Jessica McClain has just become one of a kind. She is the first female ever who has turned into a full blooded werewolf, the pack has been only males for centuries. it does not matter that Jessica never expected this to happen or that she was 10 years late for the change to occur it has which makes Jessica a target both within and outside the Pack. This threat is due to the Cain prophecy which states that says that a female werewolf will destroy them all. Now Jessica is struggle between wanting to maintain the life that she has built for herself, staying alive and trying to come to term with the new powers that she has developed. But if Jessica thought all of that was going to be easy she was wrong, just trying to stay alive is going to be a challenge because she never knows who is going to attacker her next.

It has been quite a while since I have read a predominantly werewolf based book, as I was finding that they were all becoming the strange. Therefore, when I saw that this book was getting some really good reviews, I thought I would give it a try and I have to say overall it is a really good read. However, I do not think that Carlson added anything new to the paranormal genre as many of the concepts I had read before, and there were aspects of the book that I found predictable. I think people who are a fan of Rachel Vincent Shifters series will enjoy this book as it has a similar premise to the first book in that series Stray (Sorry I do not have reviews for these books on my blog I read this series year ago, I want to say at least five years ago).

I find the norm within the paranormal genre, especially those that involve werewolves, is to have them jump into romance and sex and this book does have both. However, although there was some sex within the book (and of course this did not surprise me), I was very appreciative that Carlson kept them short, 2-3 pages max and there was not too many scenes (and by not too many I mean one). Sure there is some sexual tension especially the farther you get into the book, but Carlson does not follow some very regular werewolf paths in making the female lead (for lack of a better descriptive word) a slut, and even Jessica stating that she does not want to become one received high points from me and I hope that Carlson is able to maintain it in future books.

I liked Jessica as a main character and her struggle to come to terms with something that should not be possible. I also liked the struggle between Jessica and her wolf, it was very reminiscent of Faith Hunter's Jane Yellowrock series, which was one of my favorite aspects within that book; therefore, although it is not something original I still enjoyed this aspect. It was very interesting to see how the wolf and Jessica would get along, who would be dominant and I especially liked when Carlson took the time to show what the wolf was doing in Jessica head, for example, doing a little happy dance when meeting someone she liked.

I like Carlson's description of the pack/werewolf culture within this book. This is one aspect that always intrigues me in werewolf books, as I like to see how the author puts their spin on it and what dynamics they have taken from wolves. I do not think that Carlson added anything too original in this aspect, however, her description of the pack, and the hierarchy system was extremely well done and you are not left wondering how the system works. It was also interesting with the development and size of the territories even just within Canada. The stray system or lone wolf system is also interesting as a wolf can leave from one pack to another, however, if they fail to find a pack that will accept them within a month they are open season, but I do wonder how this affects other shifters as there are a few within the place where Jessica resides, but I am unsure how they fit in pack culture as wolves appear to be the most dominant or the species with the highest numbers. I am excited to see how many more feathers Jessica can ruffle with regards to the pack hierarchy as well as the introduction to other shifter species and really who does not want to know what type of large cat Rourke is.

Not going to lie I had a WTF moment at the end of the book. I was very disappointed as to where Carlson decided to end the book. I understand leaving a cliff hanger at the end, but now I feel like there was nothing really accomplished in this book and I have to wait to read the second one to have a full book experience. I do not understand why a writer would do this, it almost seemed like she did not have enough to make two strong books, so she decided to split the first book into two instead. I have not read the second book yet, but now I feel I am almost forced to read it based upon how this book ended. It almost now feels like the first book was a filler book and I question why Carlson would do this as it does not set a very good stage for a long term series if this is how you treat your debut. Sure i'll be back to read the second book to see how the first one should have ended, but will you keep me as a reader after that, I guess only time will tell.

Although there were points within the book that I found a bit predictable, and that there was nothing very original within the premise and werewolf aspects (and I won’t get started about the ending Carlson chose), this book was a good read and I think that it will appeal to a lot of readers within the paranormal genre, especially if you are fond of shifters.

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