Type of Fantasy: Folklore/Legend
Eighteen-year-old Victoria is a Wildblood. Since she was kidnapped at the age of six and manipulated by the Exotic Lands Touring Company, she’s worked as a tour guide ever since with a team of fellow Wildbloods who take turns using their magic to protect travelers in a Jamaican jungle teeming with ghostly monsters.
When the boss denies Victoria an earned promotion to team leader in favor of Dean, her backstabbing ex, she’s determined to prove herself. Her magic may be the most powerful on the team, but she’s not the image the boss wants to send their new client, Thorn, a renowned goldminer determined to reach an untouched gold supply deep in the jungle.
Thorn is everything Victoria isn’t – confident, impossibly kind, and so handsome he leaves her speechless. And when he entrusts the mission to her, kindness turns to mutual respect, turns to affection, turns to love. But the jungle is treacherous, and between hypnotic river spirits, soul-devouring women that shed their skin like snakes, and her ex out for revenge, Victoria has to decide – is promotion at a corrupt company really what she wants?
A Jamaican jungle teeming with monsters that a young woman is forced to enter as a guide? And the young woman has magical powers? Count me in!
The location and the creatures therein were lush, vivid, and dangerous. I heard the rustle of the leaves, saw the richness of the river, and felt the humidity weigh me down. A solid five stars for descriptive scenery!
The magic, or “blood science” as they call it in this new adult fantasy was also vivid–even a bit too much at times, bordering on gruesome. I didn’t understand how blood, even shaped as a weapon, could kill someone. How does it become sharp? And why do some people have the magic and not others? I had more questions about the blood science than were answered in the book.
These unanswered questions also extended to Victoria herself. I would have liked to learn more of her backstory while she lived in the jungle, who her parents were, and how she got captured by the touring company. I kept waiting for some of these background pieces of information to be explained, and they just weren’t. Also, I had a hard time connecting to Victoria without these firm foundations to grab onto.
But probably the main issue I had with this new adult fantasy book is that the romance was instalove and seemed way too good to be true. Can you really fall in love that quickly? No, I don’t think so, especially for someone so jaded and distrustful. And that ending… It wasn’t a cliffhanger, thankfully, but it still felt a bit abrupt. I don’t think Victoria grew as much as she could have.
To Wrap Up: This book is for those who enjoy lush landscapes, fast romances, run-ins with monsters, and don’t mind sex scenes or blood.
From the front of the book- “Some of the thematic material in Wildblood contains depictions of blood, gore, physical/sexual assault, sexual trauma, and death.” There’s also a sex scene.
What draws you more to a book? The setting or the characters?