Red Blooded by Amanda Carlson
Series: Jessica McClain #4
Published by Orbit
Published on: September 9, 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Werewolves
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Jessica is going to Hell.
After settling a fragile truce between the vampires, werewolves and witches, the last thing Jessica wants to do is face the demons head on. But when the Prince of Hell kidnapped her brother, he set into motion a chain of events that even Jessica doesn't have the power to stop.
Now, Jessica must go into battle again. But Hell is a whole new beast -- new rules, more dangerous demons, and an entirely foreign realm. And when Jessica is dropped into the Underworld too soon, without protection or the help of her friends, she must figure out just how powerful she can be... or she will never make it out alive.
I debated for quite some time as to whether I was going to continue this series; I loved FULL BLOODED, book 2 was decent as well, but 3 was the beginning of JESSICA MCCLAIN’s downward spiral, and although I enjoyed the first half of RED BLOODED, the second part convinced me to throw in the towel. I liked the world-building as far as Hell was concerned, and was happy that Jess’ wolf played a larger role in this installment, however the insta-mastering of powers reared its ugly head again, and the incredibly predictable Lili outcome knocked my opinion of the heroine’s intelligence down by several pegs. For me, RED BLOODED was pretty much split right down the middle good / bad wise which is why I am giving it three stars.
The demon realm was by far my favourite aspect of this novel because we got to meet a bunch of new beasties (i.e. Chupacabra, demon piglets, wyverns, orthus, etc), and discovering an author’s version of Hell is always entertaining. I wish that Carlson would have let her imagination run a bit more rampant—evil glamoured to look like humans in a sterile environment was rather boring—and, I would have preferred to have had the food assembly line angle wrapped-up. It felt like something horribly disturbing was about to be revealed, but instead readers were left hanging. I’m guessing that the piglets were their food source; however that was never actually specified.
Ok now, let’s play a little word association game here to prove my point, shall we? If I were to say Hell & Lili; what’s the first thing that pops into your head? Perhaps I’ve read one too many paranormals which made the villain’s true nature blatantly obvious, but I don’t think that guessing View Spoiler »Lilith « Hide Spoiler was that big of a leap. Once her identity was anti-climatically unveiled, the events that followed were as predictable as the sun rising in the East. And, I really didn’t care for the whole the One thing because it was too much a rip-off of THE MATRIX (again, if I say the One—what do you think of?) & HIGHLANDER (motto: “In the End, there can be only one.”) for my tastes. I realize that there are no original ideas, but at least change the name…
I liked that McClain’s wolf was at the forefront of this story because that was one of my main complaints about the previous book. How a heroine can be a werewolf, but NEVER shift is just beyond me. Anyway, I was disappointed that the lupine aspects mostly revolved around internal conversations instead of physical manifestations, but again, at least Jess’ furry side WAS acknowledged. I was also happy that we got answers as far as the prophecy / Cain myth were concerned, although the heroine once again gains a crapton of abilities in mere seconds. I get that it’s her destiny, and that her ancestors have set a precedent of this, however character growth is VERY important in Urban Fantasy, and this series is severely lacking in that respect because of the insta-mastering.
RED BLOODED began on a high note, but then abruptly shifted gears around the halfway mark which only served as a reminder of how far this series has strayed since books 1 & 2. I personally do not care for this new direction, and as a result will not be following JESSICA MCCLAIN’s adventure any further.
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