Average Rating: 64 points/100 (3.25 stars/5)
Warning: lots of cliffhangers
Complete series with 6 books and a novella.
Genres: urban fantasy
Jessica McClain is the world’s only female werewolf. She is feared by the werewolves because of the unknown, even though after puberty was done it was clear she wasn’t going to shift, and watched by the others. Well, that all changes very quickly when one night out of the blue, she shifts for the first time. Now it seems like everyone wants her, and not because they want to hug her. Jessica has to go from one danger to another while still trying to find out what, exactly, she can do.
I started this series really enjoying the reread. I had read books one through four, plus the novella, previously, though I hadn’t read it for years prior to this reread. I wanted to finish up the series. I really enjoyed the start of this series. It is too bad the rest of the series didn’t live up to the expectations I had for it. The series kept getting more and more complicated with very little in the way of reasoning or explanations. or to make me care book after book of the same complications with just another take on it. By the end, I was pretty much done with the random twists and turns that Carlson took to make it complicated, and just wanted explanations and for it to be over.
Overall, this just doesn’t feel like a complete series. Yes, it has a beginning, middle, and end. Things got resolved by the end, after all. Did all the things get resolved? No. Did it still somehow set up more? Yes. There was a lot of setup for spin offs, which after two years there is still no real news on. Carlson knew she didn’t have the time to wrap it all up, so she decided to plan spinoffs to wrap it all up with. It just really doesn’t feel complete.
Jessica McClain is like most female urban fantasy leads. Headstrong, never willing to listen to others, unique in her world.She doesn’t let others dictate how how she should act and is very obstinate. While she has a job with her best friend at a PI firm they set up together, which is very urban fantasy, they completely forget about that job during the course of the series. Jessica runs into danger without any thinking at all, which constantly leads to some fuckup or another. Pretty standard stuff.
Jessica is also super powerful and has basically any power the author needs her to have in the moment. It is actually written into the character that she can gain magic to use permanently from others. Yet, she rarely uses her powers, she uses them to bully instead. She talks her way out of everything, except healing herself and others. And even then she tries. She rarely changes to her wolf – in four books she had been in wolf form three times.
The hardest thing Carlson is trying to get me to accept is Rourke. He is Jessica’s love interest, and they know each other all of a couple hours in the first book, most of it running away. The don’t really talk about anything about the two of them during the series. Yet, they find out they are mated together, and that is that. They’re inseparable and apparently know everything about the other person. After this, they act like they’ve been together for years. Rourke and all the rest of the werewolves act like they’ve known and worked with each other for years. It just doesn’t make sense.
Jessica acts human, even though she grew up surrounded by werewolves. She probably wasn’t even around humans much until she left home. Somehow, these few years that weren’t even during the time she was growing up was enough to shape her into acting exactly like a human. Then, everyone acts like Jessica’s acting like a human is the best thing about her. It is even said that it was something that is special about just her in the supernatural races. It feels so forced and wrong. It isn’t like any of the others are particularly nonhuman. In fact, it is the opposite. They’re just insular, they don’t spend a lot of time with humans so they don’t really care about them. That isn’t the same thing.
There are also a few other sins this series likes to commit. There is the obligatory “Let’s have sex while in the middle of being in danger!” scene in a lot of books, to varying degrees. Sometimes it is thinking about sex, sometimes it is forcing herself to not jump someone or actively forcing yourself from not having sex. Then, this series also has the obligatory “passing out in the middle of danger” scene. It keeps happening, where Jessica ends up passed out while fighting or in danger or if she gets hit with anything.
Then, there is the fact that everyone would end up mated with someone else we meet in the series. The level of interconnectivity between these characters is…quite frankly it is frightening. I don’t think anyone was left unpaired. If there was, it is only because both me and the author forgot about them. Doesn’t mean that all of them are actually suited to one another. For something so rare, it sure happened an awful lot. It doesn’t even happen on screen! They just run off, or meet someone in the course of the normal series, and it is like “Well, I guess I’m mated now. Better tell everyone!”
This is very action packed. And by action packed, I mean that there are a lot of things that happen, without stopping between them, and nothing ever has any sort of resolution before hopping into the next danger. Things are rarely, if ever resolved. There is so much wasted time. All of it seems to have a purpose, but only because Carlson said it does. We can’t go 10 miles in this series without running into some kind of trouble or another. I think this is mostly a symptom of having very little direction to the series. No one ever stays on point. Everything distracts them. This is the ADHD equivalent of a series.
Jessica is the only one who does anything in the series to a great extent. She drives everyone, she solves everything, she fixes everything they manage to get into. She is the leader. This isn’t uncommon in urban fantasy, it is actually pretty common. The plot relies on massive amounts of coincidence to fuel what is happening. Carlson also relies on all the other characters to dredge up some random bit of information from their memory at the last second that reveals and/or solves it all. There is also a prophecy. I loathe prophecy. It is just used as an excuse to keep the main characters constantly confused as it constantly changes to their situations. Prophecies suck.
Jessica is kept in the dark about everything, though. No one tells her anything. Then, she stumbles into something she shouldn’t have. Then she fucks things up or ends up in danger. Every time, about everything. She always learns about things at the last second. In infodumps. In a “muhahaha” fashion. It took the better part of four books for Jessica to learn about anything related to why the series existed – her. Even then, we only know a portion of it. Trust absolutely nothing you have learned or will learn because none of it will stick because everything changes all the time in this series.
Which basically sums up this series, really. Everything is in accordance with fate. A fate that changes at every turn that we take because apparently that is how fate works. This ability of fate to somehow change when it decides to fate itself (which really isn’t fate is it?) means that the series twists and turns. It goes nowhere while at the same time doing things that don’t make sense because it feels like it is made up on the spot.
I wish this series would have lived up to my expectations of it. If the spin offs come out, I may read them to check them out, though I think leaving well enough as it is is the best course of action. I mostly just don’t have the ability to say no to the next installment in something I have already started reading.