Early Review: Red Blooded by Amanda Carlson (Jessica McClain #4)


Red Blooded by Amanda CarlsonRed Blooded (Jessica McClain #4)
Amanda Carlson
Published: Sept. 9, 2014 (Orbit)
Purchase: Book Depository
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Margaret

Rating (out of 5): 3 stars

Note: While review will be spoiler free, it does make reference to previous books in the series.If you haven’t started yet, check out VBC’s review of Full Blooded.

When we left Jessica McClain at the end of Cold Blooded, her brother had just been abducted by the Prince of Hell to force her to travel to the underworld and appear in demon court. Now five days have passed and she and her team have been training with the witches for the journey. But something goes wrong during her practice session and Jessica ends up in Hell alone and unarmed.

Most of her team does catch up to her eventually, but I missed seeing my favorite characters, Naomi and Danny, for most of the book. Instead of her usual crew, Jessica is forced to work with Lily, a prisoner she meets on the way to rescue her brother, who knows her way around Hell. I thought Lily was an interesting frenemy, who seemed to know more than she was willing to share about Hell and the prophecies that Jessica’s been hearing about herself throughout the series. The way she tied in to that larger plot was definitely a surprise.

I always look forward to seeing which supernatural creature Amanda Carlson will reinvent next. This time it’s the chupacabra, which is a fearsome cross between a reptile and a dog that lives in the garbage dump in Hell. The construction of the underworld itself was also interesting and unlike anything I’d read before. It’s sort of a mix of organic elements not found in the human realm and office buildings. But those details weren’t enough to make me love this book.

My biggest issue with Red Blooded is that it forgets the “show don’t tell” principle. I felt like I was listening to Jessica talk the whole time and she wasn’t really doing anything. She argues with her wolf a lot, which is basically talking to herself. It’s kind of a funny image since she talks and the wolf doesn’t, but it got old quickly. Often the other characters were off fighting and Jessica wasn’t part of the action so she recaps it after the fact. Even when she was fighting, she wasn’t always doing anything. Several times someone attacks her with magic and she absorbs it or fights it off using her own magic. Everything is happening inside her body, so she’s basically just standing there. It just wasn’t that interesting to me.

The supporting characters are my favorite part of this series and they’re really underutilized in this book. When Roarke first appeared in Full Blooded, he was a strong, take-charge alpha male, but he’s just become needy and overprotective. There’s talk about the fact that he’s ancient and powerful, but he doesn’t do much to show it. He does, eventually, say he’s going to start training Jessica to fight, which is what I’ve wanted him to do all along, so I’m excited about that.

And some interesting things have happened with Jessica’s powers and her role in the supernatural world. I’m disappointed that none of the Jessica McClain books have lived up to the promise of Full Blooded, although Hot Blooded might have come close, but I still have hopes for the next one.

Sexual content: sex

6 Responses to “Early Review: Red Blooded by Amanda Carlson (Jessica McClain #4)”

  1. Like you I loved Full Blooded and wished that more books lived up to that book. I’m sorry that this one doesn’t seem to be quite there either. I can’t wait to get to it, but will be disappointed that most of the gang isn’t present in the story. Great review.

  2. Amy says:

    I’ve kinda felt the same way about these books too. Full Blooded was great but I always felt there was something missing in each book that followed. Something that didn’t quite live up to the standard set in Full Blooded. I’ve still read and enjoyed the other books, but I like that you’ve put into words what I’ve been feeling about this series since the beginning.

  3. Margaret says:

    Thanks Melanie and Amy. I’m glad I’m not the only that feels that way. I actually re-read Full Blooded after the last one because I thought maybe I was remembering it wrong. But it is SO good!

  4. Christine says:

    I feel the same way! I LOVED Full Blooded, but I was disappointed in the rest of the books. I don’t know if I will even read this one. I too thought that Roarke’s character was more of a take-charge alpha male, and I was excited about his relationship with Jessica, but now not so much.

  5. I LOVED Full Blood so much!! And book 2, Hot Blooded was good too but something feel a little short for me with book 3, Cold Blooded. I enjoyed it but not as much as the other too. I’ve been on the fence about reading Red Blooded.

    For me the hardest thing is buying the relationship between Jessica and Roarke. I don’t feel like they have spend enough time together to be that connected. And the fact that Jessica is a bad ass within 5 minutes of her first change. I feel like her power should have slowly grown with the series.

    I honesty didn’t remember Jessica’s brother being abducted at the end of Cold Blooded. :/

  6. I just wrote my review earlier today, and had many of the same complaints you did. I loved Full Blooded, but since then this series has gotten progressively worse with each new installment, and after this latest one I have decided to call it quits. The insta-mastering of abilities really stumps Jess’ growth as a character, and you’re dead-on about most of this novel taking place internally which means that the heroine spends a good chunk of the story standing still.

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