April 8, 2012

Early Review: Blooded by Amanda Carlson

Title: Blooded: A Jessica McLain Novella
Author: Amanda Carlson
Series: Jessica McLain
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: April 11th 2012
ISBN 13: 9780316225090
Format: eBook
Source: ARC from Publisher

Contact Amanda

Rating: 4 Bad Boys – Really Enjoyed It!!!!
Reviewer: Kat

Author Summary

Jessica McClain was born the only female in an all male race. The only problem is-she's no wolf. Called a curse, a witch and the Daughter of Evil by the superstitious wolves, Jessica decides to fight for her freedom, at age nineteen, the only way she can-in the ring.

When she's brutally attacked right after her fight, is it enough to finally earn her freedom off Compound, or will she be forced to endure the hatred even longer.

My Thoughts

My soul, imagine being the only female born to an all male werewolf pack.  I thought growing up with 5 brothers was bad enough.  Poor Jessica!

This novella is an introduction to the new Jessica McClain series by Amanda Carlson.  It nicely sets the stage for the full-length novel coming out in Fall 2012.  Overall, the novella gives us a good description of the main character, Jessica, and an understanding of how her upbringing and struggles made her who she is now.

The author has given life to a fierce and uncompromising society of werewolves where Jessica McClain was not supposed to exist.  In this world, there are no females born of werewolf fathers. Until Jessica.  Most in the Pack feared her and some even thought she was the prophesied one spoken of in the ‘Cain Myth’ (the true Daughter of Evil would eventually destroy the entire werewolf race). That fear was smoldering to a point where Jessica’s life is at risk. 

At the very beginning of the novella, we are thrust into the violent world in which Jessica lives.  With Jessica constantly fighting for her life, the tone is somewhat dark. However, the author convincingly offsets the tension with Jessica’s keen sense of humor. 

The pace rises and falls nicely where it’s supposed to and it flows effortlessly from scene to scene. 

I admit I am a big fan of novellas. It’s incredibly difficult to create a good backstory, develop characters and establish an interesting plot in such a limited amount of pages.  A lot of authors will end up overwhelming readers with too much detail or underwhelming them with too few.  It’s hard to get the balance just right.  I think it’s a true test of an author’s skill to communicate all we need to know and successfully deliver a well-structured story.  Amanda Carlson is one of those skilled authors. 

What I particularly liked about this novella (and this series) is the author’s ability to interlace a new take on werewolf culture with a strong social message about self-preservation and how far a person is willing to go to survive. 

If you enjoy urban fantasy series like Sabina Kane by Jaye Wells or Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neill, then I think you’ll like this series.  The heroines of these series are similar in that their will to survive is what motivates them to do whatever it takes to overcome major conflicts/obstacles thrown in their way. 

Just a bit more about the story…

Considered an abomination and a genetic freak of nature, Jessica has had to fight pretty much every day of her life.  Even though she is the daughter of the Pack leader, even he couldn’t protect her all of the time.  While the wolves listened and respected their leader, if fear and emotions got the better of them, they would most likely kill her regardless of the possibility of losing their lives. 

With the threats becoming more frequent and escalating in aggression, Jessica finally decides to take matters into her own hands.  She challenges a member of the Pack, albeit one she thinks she has a chance to beat, to a fight.  Mitch was only too happy to oblige.  Plan A for her was to beat him senseless and then the others would back off.  At least to give her some breathing room.

Relying on her sparring skills learned from her brother, her wits and her knowledge of werewolf weaknesses, Jessica thinks she can win.  If her plan fails and the threats continue, she has a Plan B.  To leave home and go away to start a new life where no one would know her.  Her father is strongly opposed to letting her go, fearing she would be killed without his protection.  What he doesn’t realize is that she is in just as much danger, if not more, by staying. 

The Characterization…

Jessica is a character that immediately brought out my protective side.  Yes, she’s absolutely fearless and tough and can handle herself, but she is basically scratching to stay alive by staying at the Compound.  I hated seeing her get hurt and I wanted to jump right into that novel and help her in that fight.  She would only end up protecting me and saving my butt, but that’s beside the point… The author still brilliantly made me feel that way. 

Even though this first novella is all about Jessica and developing her character, we were introduced to a few others who will probably play a part in novels to come. She was close to her twin brother, her brother’s friend Nick, and there was also a very flirtatious Brit that would make life interesting if she sticks around.

There are only a couple of things that led to my 4 Bad Boy rating instead of a 5.  I would have loved to hear a little more about what motivated the other characters.  For instance, why is Nick willing to go away with her if she goes?  How did that come about?  Why was her father so insanely stubborn about her not moving away?  Jessica must have had a mother but there was no mention of her.  What happened to her?  These questions may be answered later in the series so their absence in no way takes away from the fact that Blooded is still a fascinating novella and one this reviewer is very glad to have read.

Bottom Line

In my opinion, Amanda Carlson gives us a new take on werewolf culture.  Blooded is a well-structured novella that nicely sets up the story world and I was completely absorbed and rooting for Jessica from Page 1.  The story is action-packed with a pace and tone that makes sense for the story.  The tone can be a bit serious or intense at times, however, the author incorporates light-heartedness through Jessica’s unique sense of humor.  I recommend reading it and can’t wait for Book #1, Full Blooded, to be released in September.   

Happy Reading!!

4 Bad Boys – Really Enjoyed It!!!!



  1. Great review! I absolutely LOVED this novella! This is going to be a totally kick-ass series!

    1. I agree Amanda!! she's one tough cookie!! the excerpt for Full Blooded was great to see. I'm so intrigued as to where her path will take her.