Wildblood is a stunning story about choice, power, and agency. It will make you rage, think, and weep all at once. I am so impressed with Blackwood’s debut and cannot stop thinking about it! Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
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?
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: gore, sexual assault, physical assault, rape
Wildblood is a book that oozes atmosphere from the very ink on the pages. From the concept of being a Wildblood and the magic from their blood all the way to the dangerous and deadly powers of the forest. I was transfixed from the beginning. Victoria works as a tour guide for tourists – mostly white sightseers – to experience “the jungle”. And while she is certainly paid, there’s nothing fair about her working conditions, nor those around her and their forced imprisonment in the compound.
So immediately, we are all on Victoria’s side. And you just wait. Wildblood is a story which works so well because it’s centered on Victoria. On her struggle, her trauma, her story, her agency. The tension is palpable from the beginning. Always trying to just survive, she’s on the brink of living, on a chance out, but to get it, she will have to compromise everything she ever thought and just might not make it out alive. I would 100% recommend the audio book as well. I was able to switch between the physical and the audio book, but there’s singing!
I love when a narrator is able to bring the book to life from the songs to the emotion. Kerri McLean does an amazing job of portraying Thorn’s songs and Victoria’s pain and joy. Additionally, Wildblood is a story about agency. You’re always rooting for Victoria and the Wildbloods, but Blackwood delivers a story about leaning into our power. About finding our own voice. And realizing that we don’t have to forgive those who hurt us.
(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)
It’s a story that illustrates compassion and justice. Love and violence. To realize that we are more than just products of where we came from, what happened to us, and that we can discover and allow new experiences into our hearts. We don’t have to let it limit our possibility. Wildblood is full of action, but the character of Victoria is certainly why I kept reading. Find Wildblood on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org, The Book Depository, Libro.fm, and Google Play.