Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Hot Blooded (Jessica McClain #2) by Amanda Carlson


One shall walk again, above all others she is born;
Within her the beast shall lie, well hidden in True Form;
And from this day forth, the Children of the Night shall pay;
By her supreme rule, her righteous hand will slay,
Justice to all, as none are her equal;
The True Lycan will vanquish all evil.

Not only is Jessica the only female werewolf, it has been prophesied that she will dispense justice amongst the supernaturals.  First however, Jessica must find her mate who has been kidnapped.  The journey will test her new skills more than she could ever imagine. 

There really isn't much character development in this second installment of the Jessica McClain series.  We do however get introduced to two new vampires, as well as learn some of the abilities and limitations of vampirism.  The world is also enlarged by whole slew of new supes.

That being said, I don't feel like the story really progressed at all.  Hot Blooded is essentially one large fight scene which if you like that sort of thing, will be right up your ally.  Jessica and her small pack challenge various supernatural creatures; however, this lacked any kind of real suspense from the beginning because it was clear that while the situations themselves were dangerous, no one was really in any kind of mortal danger.  It quickly became rote that whenever Jessica faced a new monster, she would pull out some super special Lycan power to defeat it.

As part of her role as protagonist of this series, Jessica also served as the moral center.  Because her supernatural ability is extremely new, Jessica very much affirmed the importance of life, making her unwilling to kill because of convenience.  It will be interesting to see if she can hold onto that as the challenges she faces get tougher and tougher.

One of the things I really liked about Hot Blooded is that it was a mission for Jessica to save her man. Far too often, it's the female love interest who gets kidnapped and is in need of saving.  Hot Blooded completely subverts that trope.  I was however irked by the male characters insistence in continually trying to protect Jessica though she showed that she was capable time and time again and even saved their lives on multiple occasions.  Whenever a dangerous situation occurred, some character with the penis would jump forward to try and lead the charge. 

With the introduction of Naomi, I hope that Jessica will develop a real female friendship.  Thus far, we have seen her interact with Marcy and unfortunately Juanita, who is clearly the comic relief.  Carlson has written the typical patriarchal werewolf society, therefore causing Jessica to look outside of the pack for female friends. I hope that as Jessica's relationship with Naomi develops and she finds Marcy that things on this front will improve.  Having the super special protagonist who is isolated and or surrounded solely by men, lessens the gender subversion of things like Jessica saving Rourke.

Speaking of gender, Hot Blooded is yet another book filled to the brim with anti-woman slurs.  "Bitch", "slut", and "whore", are commonplace insults.  I am particularly irked that the final battle with the antagonist can be summed up as two supernatural women fighting over a man. It's so trite that I struggled to skim through it. 

Once again, there were no LGBT characters.  I am starting to wonder if Carlson is planning to wait until her series is more established, as far too many authors seems to do these days to introduce any LGBT characters. There's absolutely no reason or excuse for the erasure.  I do however hope that when she does introduce a LGBT characters that they get better treatment than Juanita. 

Hot Blooded is definitely a case of your mileage will vary.  If you love books filled with fight scenes this might be for you.  If however, you are a person who invested in this series because of the budding relationship between Jessica and Rourke, then not so much because he does not make an appearance in Hot Blooded until the end. For me, Hot Blooded very much felt like a filler which is not encouraging given that this is the second book in the series.  Nothing progressed beyond Jessica and her super special Lycanness. 

In a final note, cause it needs saying, having two books end on a cliffhanger is just horrible.