Full Blooded (Jessica McClain)
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With the glut of werewolf books on the market, it can be tough to find something really original. Amanda Carlson makes strides in this direction with Full Blooded, a novel about the only female werewolf in the world. Its originality, however, is a bit hampered by overuse of common tropes.
(Description nicked from B&N.com.)
“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.”
I liked the premise in this novel that no werewolves are female, because it neatly bypasses the constant question of “How do female werewolves get pregnant and remain pregnant through a shift?” It also allows for a werewolf within a pack who can be strong and yet still be an outsider, instead of being a lone wolf or an omega (or submissive) wolf. That gives the author an opportunity to take a different view not only of how a pack might work, but how such an outsider might fit within a pack hierarchy.
Jessica is a fairly well-rounded character, and most definitely not prey to the tropes of “lone and powerful female”. She isn’t revered in her pack—quite the opposite—and she doesn’t take kindly to being protected. She’s very much her own person, wanting to continue her job as a private investigator and live her own life. How well “normal life” and “werewolf” fit together remains to be seen in the story.
The book has plenty of action and fights, as other supernatural races figure out that Jessica has become a full werewolf. There’s also plenty of fighting within Jessica’s pack, because a prophecy about her states that she will destroy the werewolf race, and this is a nice change from the kinds of prophecies that make someone all-powerful. If it comes true, she’ll be the last of her race, not its leader or prophet or anything like that.
Unfortunately, I think that Carlson avoids some tropes only to fall into others. Jessica is not only the sole female werewolf, but she’s also the subject of the prophecy as well as being able to shift into the elusive “half-wolf” form that no other werewolf can. Her father is the head of a powerful pack and thus can shield her from harm; however, her father’s Alpha powers don’t work on her and therefore don’t restrain her. In other words, she is the special-est of the special.
And of course, there are the obligatory sex scenes. I have no problem with them in and of themselves, but it is way too common for novels to emphasize that werewolves are horny beasts. We get it already, so let’s move along to something different
This book had its good points and its bad points, but overall I enjoyed reading it. I’m curious to see where Carlson takes the story in the next novel, Hot Blooded. If she can avoid falling into the same overly-used plot points that so many others have used, she may have a really original story on her hands. We’ll see how things play out from here.
Also by this author: Hot Blooded
This review appeared on Owlcat Mountain on November 9, 2012.