Jessica McClain, #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Narrator: Casey Holloway
Date of Publication: September 11th 2012
Abridged or Unabridged: Unabrdiged
Length of Production: 11 hrs and 28 mins
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 have been interested in this series for a while, but just hadn't had the time to read it. So when I ran across the first three books in audio I quickly grabbed them up and added them to my "listening" list. The actual story was quite engaging. The narration, not so much.
The story begins with Jessica McClain waking up from what she thinks is a nightmare. She is sweaty, shaky and disoriented. Then she thinks flu, but realizes that she is very rarely sick. Then she starts having what feels like a seizure and she realizes what is happening. At 26 years old, years and years past puberty, she is going through her first shift. As a female born to a werewolf she has been an anomaly all her life. But now that she is getting ready to shift, she will elevate this to freak status. There are NO female werewolves. None. Her father, the alpha, has prepared her for this infinitesimal possibility and given her a syringe loaded with a power tranquiler designed to knock her out through the change. Unfortunately, after 6 years of not needing it, it now resides in the bathroom, and she has to cross her room to get there. She doesn't make it and ends up shifting and jumping from the balcony of her 3rd floor apartment.
When Jessica's dad and twin brother find her the next morning, she is injured but healing from being shot by a farmer the night before. Her father is very worried about how the supernatural community, and the wolves in particular, are going to take her shifting. Ever since her birth, there has been this Daughter of Cain prophesy circulating, that she would destroy the packs. The decision is to hide her change until they can get a better handle on what is going on. Since Jessica herself has been living under an alias for the last 7 years, this seems like a good plan. Too bad it doesn't work.
As I said earlier, this was a great story. I liked the world building and the characters. Jessica is a strong female, and we can tell is being set up to be a great character, but she is grounded with some flaws and quirks to make her interesting. My biggest problem with the story was the narrator. Oh my gosh, it was bad. I mean really, really bad. One of the characters has a British accent, it was so obvious that Casey Holloway was struggling with it. Plus, it sounded like she was either reading the story cold or imitating William Shatner. The dramatic pauses then rushed reading drove me insane. I very nearly stopped at this book, until I saw that the next book has a different narrator. If you can get past the garbled accents and the butchered timing, it really was a good story. But honestly, I took a full star away for this badly narrated story. 2 stars.