Jessica McClain #2
Publication date: 23rd April 2013
Reviewed by Lesley
Jess McClain has a lot on her plate in Hot Blooded the second instalment in Amanda Carlson's rather fantastic urban fantasy series. As the first female werewolf ever Jess has caused huge divisions amongst the wolfs who fear the looming prophecy that the rise of a female wolf will result in the end of their werewolf race. On top of this, every sect in the supernatural community now views Jess as a threat that needs eliminated, even half human, half demon Imp's threaten Jess in the car park telling her that her death is imminent and that she will never rule the underworld (not that she even wants to).
For Jess, her main priority is to rescue her newly found mate Rourke from Selene the Lunar Goddess. Jess finds herself forced into making a deal with the Vampire Queen to get the help of tracker vampires Eamon and Naomi to find Selene's lair. With the additional help of her brother Tyler and pack mate Danny as her bodyguards Jess is in a race against time to rescue Rourke from the Goddess. Never one to make things easy for herself Jess also has to bring pain in the ass human cop Ray along for the ride. As Ray now knows about the existence of the shifters he either has to be assimilated into their world or face death. Despite having a rather pressing rescue mission on her to do list Jess decides to terrify Ray into assimilating with the wolfs in a make or break kind of way by taking him along on their journey.
Super evil Goddess and witch Selene doesn't of course make things easy for Jess, not only has she set up a series of evil traps (a bit like a supernatural minefield full of scary and weird creatures) she's also placed a rather terrifying ongoing death spell on Jess which sees Jess having to work with her wolf to fight off.
With tension and action galore I absolutely loved Hot Blooded, as each of Selene's traps ramped the tension up another notch (the demonic goats were my outright favourite) I gnawed my fingernails and sweated profusely along with Jess. I loved the changes in Jess's relationships with both the vamps and her pack mates on their journey. It seemed unlikely at the start of their quest that a wolf and a vamp could ever be friends but when Jess steps into help Naomi it showed that Jess won't be bound by the traditional supernatural boundaries and traditions and I breathed a sigh of relief for Jess that she gained a much needed ally in her corner. Equally, I loved the changing pack relationship between the three wolfs. Jess isn't an alpha wolf threatening the position of her alpha father and brother, she's something entirely different and is very much in uncharted wolf territory. Having read a tonne of shifter books I really enjoyed the very different and creative way Jess's place or status in the pack evolved, it really kept me guessing.
I can't possibly not mention Rourke. Even although he wasn't in very much of the book his chemistry with Jess positively sizzles. So here's my plea to Amanda Carlson please, please, please give them some alone time, chapters of alone time would be good *winks*. I think I'm even more intrigued about Rourke now. It's mentioned that he has the grudging respect of the vampires, that the vampire Queen had hired him over the years but couldn't control him, it's also suggested that he may be a God or close to Godhood. Honestly, I'm practically dying with curiosity here, what is he??? All I know is I want more Rourke!
I finished Hot Blooded very much at the edge of my seat with the overwhelming feeling that the landscape is changing for Jess, the wolfs and the other supernatural sects. The story points towards a huge uprising and impending war and Jess realises that the wolfs will need a quick but extensive education on all things supernatural to survive. Hot Blooded definitely gave me that book buzz that this is a series just beginning and that there's so much more in store for Jess. I can't wait.
5 out of 5 and then some.
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