The Exotic Lands Touring Company offers tourists the opportunity to go on the excursions of their dreams through the magical and mystical jungle landscapes of Jamaica.
Victoria is an 18-year old Wildblood, who after being kidnapped as a child, is made to work for the Company. Wildbloods use their powers to guide tourists safely through the dangerous parts of the jungle.
The Company’s latest mission is to help a successful miner, a young man named Thorne, reach an area in the jungle thought to hold vast deposits of gold.
Victoria, recently turned down for a position of team leader in favor of her less talented, jerk of an ex-boyfriend, Dean, is slightly disgruntled as the tour gets under way. One look at Thorne though and she begins to reconsider. He’s quite handsome and he seems to be taken with her too.
Each member of the excursion is assigned their very own Wildblood and as luck would have it, Thorne and Victoria get paired up. The rest, as they say, is history.
I really enjoyed Blackwood’s 2021-debut, Within These Wicked Walls. I loved the atmosphere, rich with gothic vibes and found the plot to be dark and engaging. Therefore, when I heard about Blackwood’s sophomore effort, Wildblood, I was super excited to get to it.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to connect to this as well as I did with Blackwood’s first book. I feel like this is a personal taste issue, the plot just wasn’t something I found to be engaging, but I know that a lot of Readers will.
Additionally, I was a bit disappointed by the atmosphere. Being set in the magical wilds of a fantasy version of Jamaica, I expected it to be lush, ominous and exciting, but personally, I felt like it could have taken place anywhere.
I did appreciate the various themes explored. The power dynamics amongst the characters working for the Tour Company was of particular interest to me.
Also, the exploitation of local culture, people and resources by wealthy outsiders via eco-tourism was examined. It’s a bit of an overriding concept in the book and I thought that was well done and an important topic to consider.
I found the main character, Victoria, to be interesting. I enjoyed learning a bit about her past and actually wish we could have gotten more of it. Furthermore, I wish the whole-concept of the Wildbloods, their magic system, could have been more detailed as well.
For me, the relationship between Victoria and Thorne took over the show and personally, it was my least favorite part of the entire story. I would have preferred more balance with the other aspects.
Perhaps, if I would have gone into this expecting more Romance than Fantasy, I may have ended up feeling a bit differently about it.
Overall, I recognize that this is a good story, one that a lot of Readers will enjoy. Blackwood is a beautiful writer and I look forward to reading more of her work, even though this one wasn’t a perfect match for my tastes.
I would still recommend this one to anyone who is intrigued by the synopsis, especially if you enjoy romantic fantasy. Also, as an aside, I did listen to the audiobook and loved the narration. I absolutely recommend that as a medium for reading this story.
Thank you to the publisher, Wednesday Books and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future!