About the Book:
Author: Lauren Blackwood
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: February 7, 2023
Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Romance
Eighteen-year-old Victoria is a Wildblood. 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?
*I received an e-arc via Netgalley and Wednesday Books for review. Thank you! All thoughts are my own*
I read and really enjoyed this author’s previous novel, Within These Wicked Walls. I went into Wildblood thinking that perhaps it was a spinoff of that book and would be a fast-paced adventure full of treasure hunting, magic, and a girl fighting a corrupt company. The premise sounded really good, there were some interesting characters, etc. I felt that this book moved at a much slower pace, and there were many difficult topics that should have come with trigger warnings. There was human trafficking, physical and sexual assault, and violence among other things. I just was not expecting the amount that is in this novel, and it caught me off guard.
I am not a big fan of the insta-love trope, but I felt that it was very unbelievable in this story especially. It really ruined the story for me, and I felt like I would have liked it more without the romance. The main character “falls in love” with another character in the story after only a couple of days and they begin calling each other “my love” and other such nicknames and telling each other that they love one another. The start to this “relationship” was also based on their mutual attraction and not really anything of substance.
I felt very confused at times, as the magic system was never fully explained. I don’t think I could explain to you exactly what a Wildblood is. I was initially intrigued by the Wildbloods, but we never really fully understand them.
I think I loved the sentient jungle and all of its’s creatures the most, and I wish that had been explored more. There was so much potential there.
I would somewhat recommend this story. There were some good ideas, but I felt that they were just not executed well.
About the Author:
Lauren Blackwood is the NYT/Indie Bestselling author of Within These Wicked Walls and Wildblood.