Thursday, May 18, 2023

Mini-Review: Wildblood by Lauren Blackwood


Wildblood by Lauren Blackwood
Wednesday Books
Publication Date: February 7th, 2023
Hardcover. 336 pages.

About Wildblood:

"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?

Wildblood is an emotional and story set in an imaginative and captivating world. There are some content warnings for sexual assault, violence, and more, so do be cautious when diving into this one if you are sensitive to any of those topics. I had a lot of mixed feelings about this book and although I wanted to love it a lot more than I did, I still really enjoyed exploring this unique jungle setting filled with magic a bit of chaos.

What I liked: The setting of Wildblood in the Jamaican jungle is what initially drew me to this book, and I loved that the author's love and respect for this setting is so clearly reflected in her writing. I liked seeing the Victoria's connection with the jungle and getting to appreciate it's beauty, and I also loved the darker elements of the jungle-this would be the perfect alternate setting for anyone who loves a creepy forest. I also felt that Wildblood handled some incredibly difficult and intense topics in some really thoughtful ways. Our main character has to deal with a lot of personal traumas-both in the past and ongoing-throughout this story and it felt very realistic and difficult watching her navigate these issues. I appreciated the author's sensitivity in tackling these issues, along with other difficult traumas that other characters are struggling with as well.

What I didn't like: Despite the complexity of Victoria's characterization, I was disappointed that a number of others were a bit more one-dimensional and felt more like cardboard cut outs. For instance, a younger boy that Victoria cares for and is such a huge part of her life is barely around and it felt like he was mostly sleeping (??) the entire story and wasn't really around. There was also a huge dose of insta-love between Victoria and another character that did not work for me at all and left me feeling genuinely confused at times. And despite the intriguing and beautiful jungle setting, we really didn't get to explore nearly as much of it as we could have, and everything that we do learn about felt underdeveloped. We got maybe a small scene or a line or two about some of the things in the jungle that happen, and that would be it-it really left me wanting more. I also felt that the magic system was severely underdeveloped and so poorly explained that I'm still not entirely sure how it precisely works, which was frustrating. These are all things that left me feeling a little underwhelmed with this story and wishing for more. Blackwood has a beautiful prose style and has potential to be an amazing storyteller, I wish her abilities had been utilized in better ways in this story.

Overall, this is a strong three stars from me! If you're looking for a book in a unique setting with some strong emotional elements, then I'd say this one is worth it to check out and see for yourself how you like it. 

*I received a copy of Wildblood courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Buy the book: Amazon |

1 comment:

  1. I think this is the first review I've seen for this book, I've been curious. Three stars isn't bad, but sounds like some elements could have been improved.