on 24 March 2013
The story follows Jessica McClain as she unexpectedly changes to a werewolf in a world where female werewolves don't exist. This idea has been done to death before by Kelly Armstrong and Tammy Blackwell, but I chose to read on to see if Carlson brought anything new to the table. At times the story has promise as the plot develops, but sadly these times are few and far between. As the story progresses, characters do things because the author says so rather than doing them because they make sense. This leads to constantly being dragged out of the story, which is very distracting, making it hard to finish. So, as I said before, not horrible, but not great either. This book is a pale imitation of what other great authors have done before, bringing nothing new or original to the genre as a whole.
on 17 April 2013
The author has produced a perfectly solid, workable novel, with a well developed heroine, a workable world and a functional plot.
There are 2 big faults in the book that made me take off 2 stars.
The first thing nearly made me put the book down in the first 10 mins. Our heroine is surprised into her first Shift, runs amok and regains control of herself, reaches safety, and the plot takes off. All a good UF opening. However, in the course of running amok she has attacked someone. Badly. An innocent. No idea if he survives - because she never asks!
Seriously? You're responsible for a horrific attack, possibly a killing. It is your first traumatic Shift, and you just ignore the fact you may have to live with being a murderer. No guilt, shame or regret. No interest. No follow up. In fact, throughout the whole book, humans are dismissed, ignored and generally treated as insignificant, with the possible exception of one cop and one neighbour.
Was I really supposed to identify with this shallow, self centred bitch?
The second problem with this book was the plot. Don't get me wrong, it was workable. It moved at a good pace. Yet at the same time it was unsatisfying. The heroine doesn't do much at all. She talks to wolves, she turns up to several places and fights, she travels around with colleagues and other shifters... She is also well capable of analytical thought and decision making.
So why is she so reactive? Everything that happens comes to her (except at the end, when I see a glimmer of hope). She doesn't ever make a decision that matters, act on it, take control, resolve an issue, or even choose a sexual partner. They just happen to be there, available and interested (one of them permanently so). It's a huge problem for me as a reader, since I enjoy seeing characters change, develop and learn. This heroine doesn't do this. She experiences change, but she doesn't seem to develop.
I also wonder if the author hasn't backed herself into a corner by the end of this, the first in a series. She has created the biggest and baddest, where else is there to go? This heroine can face down alpha werewolves, kill them with her bare hands, ignore the pack structure and her father's authority, she faces off against goddesses and queens, and has already (effortlessly) snagged the ultimate guy. She even has a personal apocalypic prophesy. I mean, where else is there to go?
on 5 May 2013
This is a rather hard book to rate because while the first half bored me to tears the second half flew by until I was smacked in the face by the ending.
I initially picked up this book because it reminded me of Bitten which happens to be one of my favorite books (based on werewolves). I wanted to see how things would play out in this one.
The first half was boring. It was about how she changed and how everyone would try to kill her and how she was special blah blah blah. The only thing that interested me at that point was Ray, Nick and Tyler.
I am sure most people don't like Ray but I love him. His determination is amazing and had the main character been Ray instead everyone would have loved him. Look at him, he uses his instincts and knows there is something wrong with Jessica and tries to find out what that something is. Of course he harasses Jessica as well but if you look at it from his POV it's actually justified. He thinks that she is doing something illegal and even if most of his hatred comes from an old grudge his reasoning is good. I like Nick because he is a loyal friend and he isn't secretly in love with Jessica. It's a nice change from things.
Twin brothers are not very common in books. I've always secretly wanted one so I really did like Tyler. He is always backing his sister up and comforting her and just trying to help her get through this whole thing.
The second half of the book turned interesting when Rourke came in. He is a badass and has his own agenda (like most cool badasses). I am kind of shallow but I don't really have a good reason for liking Rourke. Just that I like him (maybe because he is hot). It's not that there isn't a lot to him, there is, he is a mystery to us, but there isn't enough of him in this book for us to actually draw conclusions about his character.
I am not sure how I feel about our main character. She is supposed to be someone that will end all the supernatural races or something like that but I don't know enough about the prophecy to satisfy me. Jessica is the only female werewolf and I wish we were given more explanation about this phenomena because it would have made me understand Jessica's character better had she not just been a freak of nature. There isn't much depth to Jessica's character or I didn't see it but I believe we will be seeing a new side to her in the sequel.
The relationships are done really well in this book and there are some notable ones between her and her father, her brother, her best friend and even the one between her and Ray (or maybe that's just my obsession with Ray).
There isn't much of a plot or if there is I have no idea what the hell it is. There is action of course but not enough of it. I just wish there was more to the book.
The ending, even if it's kind of a cliffhanger, is promising and makes me really want to grab the sequel (and read more about the adventures of Ray).
on 17 October 2012
I don't normally buy comic fantasy, and wouldn't have bought this had I realised. That said, it turned out a to be a good read! Our Jessica is living in the city under an assumed name, working as a private investigator, when her first Change occurs, ten years after her twin brother. It's a complete shock to her, and she breaks out of her apartment... The book doesn't really have a plot, so there are no surprises, but for those who hope for a cliff-hanger: SPOILER WARNING. Suddenly, she's the only female werewolf and Daddy is the Alpha of the northern North America Pack, so he has political problems with the other packs. She gains control of her Wolf in a couple of days, and becomes immensely powerful; there's an assassination attempt and she finds her Mate (big Ahhh!). The vampires are plotting! Aren't they awful? The Vampire Queen Eudoxia would give Mickey Mouse nightmares! Those fangs! Amanda Carlson takes every Urban Fantasy cliche and wrings a laugh out of it. And or course, as Jessica's heroically off to save someone at the end of the book, it paves the way for the sequel.
on 3 June 2015
I thought this was ok. There were things I liked, like Jessica's insistence on independence and the way Rourke went all desperate and weak-kneed at toward the end, not to mention needing rescue. But while I found the latter half of this amusing and would read more of the series, I wasn't overly impressed.
One of my number one dialogue pet peeves is when characters say each-other's name all the time. Think on it; if you're having a conversation with someone, especially if it's just the two of you alone, how often do you say their name? Maybe once, in the beginning to get their attention, if even then. In this book these characters used a direct address or name in almost every interaction, sometimes multiple times in the same brief conversation. It drove me absolutely crazy. It just feels so very unnatural.
There is non-stop action in this book and, while action is good, it prevents boredom, there is no downtime in this book and I think it needed some. The characters needed a breather here or there, so that the reader could take a moment to digest. You're never given any time for big reveals to settle before the book whizzes off to something else, denying the moment any gravitas.
It's also a cliffhanger. True, it's not a precipitous as some of them I've encountered and I don't mind some open threads to carry over into a next book, but nothing really wraps up in the story, which annoys me in general, but is especially annoying when the ebook is on the pricey side.
on 3 July 2014
If you give even the most microscopic fig for the ability of a writer to write in the English language, skip this one and jump straight to Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thompson series. Otherwise, you're in for a migraine. Awful. Moon Called: Mercy Thompson book 1
on 30 June 2014
Jessica McClain is the only female werewolf in an all-male werewolf race. Except for Jessica has never changed - it's not supposed to happen. Yet one night she wakes up in body wrenching pain to find her body going through the change, so she tries to grab the serum left for her to halt the process by knocking her unconscious, the serum she wasn't meant to need. Through mind-to-mind connection, Jessica is able to communicate with her twin brother Tyler and her Dad, which is quite handy considering she wakes up naked and injured unsure where she is after her first change. Her new found status as a full-blooded wolf was about to rock the supernatural status quo with major ramifications, particularly as her father Callum is Pack Alpha. She wakes up again after passing out to find herself back at the Compound she'd moved out of seven years before. In the real word she is now Molly Hannon, working with Nick as part of a detective business. The Compound has a number of 'Essentials'; humans who know about the supernatural community but keep it quiet, doctors, nurses, lawyers and the like. It's up to Callum to protect his daughter and keep her change a secret from the Pack. According to the Cain Myth, Jessica would bring the downfall of the Pack.
Carlson's debut novel is a rollicking read, fast-paced and immense fun. Her authorial voice, especially as wolf and woman is very strong, the whole piece having been written in first person, or what C E Murphy has referred to as "first person snark"; an accurate description. Carlson mixes more supernatural stuff into the novel, with Jessica's business partner Nick being a werefox and their secretary Marcy being a talented witch. The case she returns to work to also involves an imp that's a little too friendly with the local females.
As Jessica struggles with her new status she finds her appetite and senses increased as well as her interior wolf battling her for control. It all makes for an interesting supernatural novel fraught with tension and laced with plenty of humour. A nice addition to the werewolf sub genre of modern Urban Fantasy.
on 19 October 2013
I love urban fantasy and this book is a very good example of it. The author has written a book based in reality but featuring supernatural races living hidden amongst humans. This the first in her series featuring Jessica McClain charts the story of her first change as a werewolf and the repercussions that follow.
Jessica is a twin born to her Alpha father and although no female werewolves have ever been known to exist has always been prepared in case she was the exception. This tale starts with a bang as literally that is what happens! Jessica finds herself changing into a wolf for the first time and struggles with her instincts as she takes her first run. Her father senses the change in her and sends help . Realising that their pack will be unsettled by this long feared development he reluctantly agrees to let her return home but wants safeguards put in place. A long foretold prophecy of a female werewolf being the daughter of Cain and destroying Werewolves is something that can not be ignored and it's vital that Jessica's secret remain hidden
Unfortunately Jessica's transformation has been discovered and someone has betrayed her. A brutal attack on her results in her killing a rogue werewolf and it's obvious that they need to find out who the traitor in their midst is. Trying to draw the traitor out whilst returning to her normal life isn't working and even with the help of her twin and fellow pack mates Jessica's life is in danger. Soon it's obvious that she's a target for more than one supernatural faction and Jessica will have to fight for her life.
I really enjoyed this book. It's obviously the beginning of what could be a very good series. The lead Jessica is a very strong heroine. Unafraid to stand up for herself and ready to defend her pack and yet she comes across as quite naive at times. Good supporting characters in particular her twin brother Tyler and James. Also the enigmatic Rourke is a very sexy guy! Lots going on towards the end and an finale that leaves this reader wanting more.
All in all a great beginning.
on 13 September 2013
Full Blooded. Amanda Carlson.
ARC supplied via Netgalley.
I love this sort of fantasy read, shape-shifters with a romantic angle. I had some trouble initially with Jessica though - her situation just didn't ring true. For the last seven years she's been living off compound, and working with another shifter and a witch running their own business. She's using an alter ego as Molly Harman, so you'd think they'd use that name all the time, but no - everyone who already knows her from the shifters calls her Jessica....and given the uproar if they're over heard that's a huge mistake. Then Jessica herself, she comes across as pretty selfish and almost arrogant to begin. She's one of those know it all types with a big chip about who and what she is...then she shifts one night and the danger to her for being a female in an all male society rises exponentially. There's a prophecy (isn't there always !!) and of course now she has shifted the super-naturals are going to fear she's the subject of it, which means ultimately she could rule them all. They're not going to let that happen. Her dad - the pack Alpha - decides to keep quiet if he can, and let her continue with her life while they decide what to do. But somehow the secret is out within a short time, and there are different factions out for her life within days.
What I didn't like - well, as I've noted in other novels - I have a real problem with heroines who suddenly grow superpowers, and are able to beat others hundreds of years older. And that's Jessica to a T. Then there's the convenience of the witch and shifter who she works with having just the right powers to get her out of trouble - that was just too convenient, and led to the problems getting cleaned away far too quickly and easily IMO. Then I carried on, and began to get "into" the story, Jessica came across better and I saw how loyal she was to her family, friends and pack, and how even though one had a real grudge on her and targeted her unfairly she still tried to play right by human rules, and work with the police if possible. The "quick witchery" solutions got less, and real action played out. Jessica was in real danger but there weren't quick and easy supernatural solutions brought in, but more traditional fighting between factions, and her trying to outrun/hide from those after her blood. When she meets Rourke, the legendary mercenary shifter, sparks fly between them and her wolf goes crazy for him. Jessica thinks he's well put together too :) - but is much more cautious, especially not knowing whether he's out to kill her, capture her, or protect her.
So once I got past my initial reservations I enjoyed this book, and I've book two - and hopefully will get book three - to read. Its often difficult opening a new fantasy series with new characters and world setting to introduce, so maybe that's what happened with the beginning where I wasn't really connected to it. I look forward to reading more - this "adventure" is still open with Jessica needing to best the Goddess witch Selene in the next book and retrieve someone she's kidnapped. That's certainly going to take some planning. Priced at £4.49 for 322 pages/517kb its around average for the genre, and if the rest of the series carries on the way the latter half of this book did it'll join my keeper files as one to be re read. I love to have a whole series on my kindle and spend a couple of days reading them back to back.
Stars: well, if it wasn't for that big hiccup in the beginning I'd have gone four and a half but...that was a big turn off for me so I'm dropping half a star to a four.
Jessica has grown up in a werewolf community (although her knowledge of their lifestyle and traditions is sadly inconsistent) but has elected to live on her own. Years after it is expected she develops into the only female werewolf in existence who is sought after, with violence, by other werewolf packs and eventually other supernatural creatures. The author has developed a world where the general population know nothing about werewolves and which also contains other creatures with varying powers including other were animals and witches.
The problem with the world which has been created here is that it is so derivative of other authors in the field. The lone female werewolf is very reminiscent of Elena in Kelley Armstrong's novels. The werewolf community and its rules and hierarchy are very similar to those of Patricia Briggs as is the struggle between a person and their inner wolf. The daughter of the Alpha being under attack by other werewolves is the main theme of Rachel Vincent's Faythe Sanders books. Keri Arthur writes of male/female werewolf twins where the female has special abilities. These are just some examples but it seemed that every page I could find a resemblance to the works of another, better known, urban fantasy novelists and the problem was that there was nothing new or original in this story at all.
The book was heading for 3 stars and a review which described it as mediocre when at about 60% of the way through, with the introduction of a mercenary and a sudden change in the plot I became engaged, finally, with Jessica and her pack. The last third of the book was very entertaining, with good plotting and action sequences and it ends on a cliffhanger. Surprisingly, I now want to find out what will happen next.
The four stars for this book is really reflective of the last portion and the hope that it gives me that this novel will be the first in a new and interesting werewolf saga.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.