Paperback, 322 pages
Published September 11th 2012 by Orbit
Source: Net Galley
Born the only female in an all male race, Jessica McClain isn’t just different—she’s feared.
After living under the radar for the last twenty-six years, Jessica is thrust unexpectedly into her first change, a full ten years late. She wakes up and finds she’s in the middle of a storm. Now that she’s become the only female full-blooded werewolf in town, the supernatural world is already clamoring to take a bite out of her and her new Pack must rise up and protect her.
But not everyone is on board. The werewolf Rights of Laws is missing text and the superstitious werewolves think that Jessica means an end to their race. It doesn’t help when Jessica begins to realize she’s more. She can change partway and hold her form, and speak directly to her wolf. But the biggest complication by far is that her alpha father can’t control her like he can the rest of his wolves.
When a mercenary who’s been hired by the vampires shows up to extract information about the newly turned werewolf only days after her change, they find themselves smack in the middle of a war and there’s no choice but to run together. When it’s up to Jessica to negotiate her release against her father’s direct orders, she chooses to take an offer for help instead. In exchange, Jessica must now swear an oath she may end up repaying with her life.
I really like how this book begins. We meet Jessica when she is in the middle of changing. In Carlson’s world, there are no such things are female werewolves so when Jessica does the impossible and becomes one, things get messy quick.
It has been a while since I read urban fantasy that I liked much. I’ve learned to go to my trusted authors and not try anyone new because of previously unsavoury experiences. However, Carlson has created a world teeming with interesting supernatural creatures, a likable heroine and fun side characters. There is a reverse harem of sorts and while the novel is sexy, it is moderately so and not the orgiastic deluge that comes with Laurell K. Hamilton’s novels.
The pacing is very fast. Things happen and keep on happening and then we take a breath and read the next book but that’s another review. The breakneck speed works for the genre so I didn’t mind it at all and I also liked how Jessica gains her powers gradually. It’s not all “I woke up one day and I was awesomely powerful.” I liked how Carlson created Jessica’s “wolf.” She seems to be a personality of her own, independent of Jessica’s feelings and thoughts. And okay, their internal monologues are funny, especially where one werecat is concerned. I think the “mate” thing came about a bit too soon because I would have liked Jessica to become more comfortable on her own, as a werewolf, before being saddled with the emotional drama that comes with having a mate who is not even your own species.
However, the series is off to a snazzy start. I like it and people who like Ilona Andrews, Karen Chance and other similar authors will appreciate this as well.