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Pub Date 07 Feb 2023 | Archive Date 21 Feb 2023
St. Martin's Press, Wednesday Books


A thrilling new fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Blackwood!

Eighteen-year-old Victoria is a Wildblood. Since she was 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?

A fierce, lush fantasy by New York Times bestselling author Lauren Blackwood, Wildblood tells the story of a girl who must find the strength to defeat the demons of the jungle as well as her own to find where she truly belongs.

"A lyrically told story of healing after trauma and finding home, Wildblood is as fierce as it is beautiful, and as hopeful as it is heartbreaking." - Hannah Whitten, New York Times bestselling author of For the Wolf

"Wildblood is a poignant, thrilling, emotionally complex story of love and sacrifice. Victoria's tense journey through the haunted jungle is filled with terror and beauty, both supernatural and human, and will grip you until the very last page." - L. Penelope, award-winning author of the Earthsinger Chronicles

A thrilling new fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Blackwood!

Eighteen-year-old Victoria is a Wildblood. Since she was kidnapped at the age of six and manipulated by the Exotic...

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Featured Reviews

I loved reading this book. Victoria is a young woman who was taken as a child and forced to labor as a tour guid through Jamaica'st jungle full of monsters. She wants a promotion to be a team leader but the position has been stolen by her back stabbing ex Dean. A gold miner client from America wants to travel to the heart of the jungle to dig up gold . On order to get the position, she has to make Dean look good as a guide and make sure none knows she is helping him . Sounds easy enough , right ? Nope !! Things go away quick as some of the clients die due to creature of the jungle . The gold miner Thorn and Victoria spark a connection other than physical attraction and grow close throughout the journey . He is kind to her and treat her like a equal . Their chemistry is amazing . I enjoyed the scenery of the book and all of the different monsters in the book. This books does contain heavy topics so it's not for everyone. Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot .. definitely recommend.

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This was a beautifully done story, I really loved Victoria as a leading character. Her journey felt real and was what I wanted when I saw the description. The plot of the book does what I was hoping for and works as a teen novel. I really enjoyed the way Lauren Blackwood wrote this story and was invested in this world.

"Although, I may be more likely to get a splinter with my bare feet, even as tough as they are. Some of these trees are torn up enough to resemble a spiny torture device, and the ground is littered in woodchips and shards, although most of them are slightly softened by the recent rain. I step carefully, following Thorn."

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Sentient jungle? Sign me up. I adored the atmosphere in this one as well as the weird creatures. Those who enjoyed Blackwood’s debut will not be disappointed with her sophomore novel—it’s so completely fun and thrilling.

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This is a great book! Lauren Blackwood presents a world so whole and fascinating that it's easy and a delight just to sink in and go for the ride. Victoria and her co-workers are enslaved youth in an alternate Jamaica, where only their magic blood--wildblood--keeps them from becoming food or worse within the great jungle that surrounds their camp. Rented out as tour guides, the kids lead parties of wealthy people across the island on a single road, protecting them from the physical and immaterial threats of the jungle. Victoria longs to take her young charge Bunny away from their life, and when she gets a possible chance to do so, she forces trauma aside to do it. But more and more, the rivers and trees and vines call to her, making the trip an exceptionally dangerous one. The characters are so well created--they've got layers and depth and so many stories--and the plot, while fairly traditional in form, is embroidered upon in the most creative and dazzling ways. A fantastic book for teen-adult book groups, high school classrooms, and anyone who is looking for truly new speculative fiction.

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Content warnings: colorism, racism (real-world & fantasy), sexual assault (prior to story), violence, abuse & manipulation, mentions of lynching

Victoria is a Wildblood. She was kidnapped and forced to work at the age of six, and though she’s eighteen now, Wildbloods are not respected in her society, so she doesn’t have much of a choice to leave. But when her boss denies her a promotion, she figures out a way to convince him otherwise: she’ll go on a dangerous expedition with her ex-best friend who will be inheriting the company, and who is less powerful than her, and make him look good. This expedition is different than anyone expected, though, and ahead of Victoria is a journey full of death, dangerous jungle creatures, and even love.

I loved Lauren Blackwood’s Within These Wicked Walls, so as soon as I heard about this one I was excited to read it! The beautiful prose in WTWW was not missing from Wildblood. This book also touched on religion (specifically Christianity) and I really liked and related to some of the discussions on that.

I loved Victoria and I’m so glad we got this book about her! Wildblood is set in first person from Victoria’s viewpoint and this choice further drew me into the story and into Victoria’s mind. Victoria’s story was unique in many ways, but I think all readers (myself included) will be able to relate to her in at least one way.

I highly recommend to fantasy fans who want a book that’s still YA, but edges closer to NA.

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The cover and the synopsis are a great indication of the kind of story you're in for. This book was a whirlwind of an adventure with some of the intoxicating worldbuilding. It was so easy to go through and author also did an excellent job at including meaningful details about the setting that made the work immersive and lush. If you love young adult fantasy, this is absolutely a book you’ll want to preorder.

A special thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press & Wednesday Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I absolutely adored this book. Wildblood was original, gritty and full of excitement yet also touched base with difficult topics. I loved Victoria as a character and she felt so much like a real person so I loved following her on her journey. First of all I really loved the idea of Wildblood magic and would have loved more details on it! However, I also enjoyed that this story wasn't only steeped in human magic but it mostly focused on the magic of nature. I would have loved more details about the Jamaican jungle but the author did a good job making the reader try to picture themselves surrounded by the jungle and all it's elements... Even the mystical ones! I really loved that the author spun this fantasy story with harsh truths and lessons of the real world. The main characters weren't slaves, per se but their life style and the way they were treated by white men was a difficult topic to breach and I felt like the author did a really good job with handling that. I really loved the folklore involved, between the ghosts and River Mumma. I loved the exploration and greed for gold and all that went wrong along the way. I even really loved the non-traditional girl puts her dreams before a man ending! With that being said, Thorn was sweet but I could've lived without the romance. I absolutely loved this book and I think any fantasy lover is going to enjoy it too!

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I loved Lauren Blackwood’s debut YA novel and so I knew I was going to love one this one and it didn’t disappoint! Wild bloods are treated as less than human and are enslaved for the purpose of leading tourists into the jungle. However, the jungle has had enough of this disrespect and it always ready to fight back. Victoria has endured trauma after trauma but has not lost her humanity, despite people believing she is less than human because of her blood science skills and connection to the forest. She hopes that leading Thorn and his group will give her a different future, one she can barely imagine. This book is gorgeous and as with her first novel the idea of religion and redemption are important to the tale. The love letter to nature, and our mistreatment of it, should make all of us pause I. This generation of global climate changes. I loved this book as much as the first and I didn’t think that was possible!

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At six years old, Victoria was kidnapped and forced to work for a company as a tour guide in the jungles of Jamaica. She is a Wildblood, someone who can use their blood science like magic. Wildbloods are both feared and shunned by others. Victoria wants nothing more than to protect the ones she loves and see them free from their virtual slavery. She is the most powerful among her kind and even those like her are afraid to get close. She is paired up with Dean, her ex that gravely betrayed her, to lead a large group into the heart of the jungle in search of gold. The tour company’s client, Thorn, is a renowned gold miner, and not at all what Victoria expects. But the wilds are more than they seem, teeming with monsters and creatures of legend. There’s a reason no one has ever made it back alive. The wild jungle protects itself and none of them may make it back from this perilous expedition.

The lush atmosphere of the story sweeps you up into its humid, unforgiving climate. The trees and rivers of the jungle have their own sentience and will for the security and safety of all the ones who reside within it. The mythical and fascinating creatures will capture your heart. It’s an imaginative creation of setting and world-building that embraces nature. It is a hauntingly beautiful story world.

Victoria’s isolated life has led her to be distrusting of people, but Thorn’s respectful, generous, and affectionate manner warms her to him. I love her respect, reverence, and connection with nature. I love that Thorn is not the usual fantasy protagonist (broody, alpha male) but rather most remarkable because of his kindness, honesty, and gentleness. It is a refreshing love interest within this genre and a nice departure from the norm.

The story is rife with the injustices and exploitations of colonization. It speaks to themes of preservation of wildlife and habitats, which I believe is an incredibly important topic in today’s society and not one I see often used in fantasy books. This book touches on darker moments as well, such as recovery from abuse and learning forgiveness and understanding. The trauma is emotional and journey to healing is inspiring.

This book encourages us to consider the ways that love can be a tumultuous, confusing, and often an irrational experience. It’s about loving people despite, or even especially, for the flaws that make them undeniably and uniquely them. It’s about having the courage to stand up for what is right and good, even when everything you believe in is difficult to uphold. It’s a story about finding your own path in life, even if that means making hard choices and sacrificing for it. And it all leads to a conclusion that is heart-breaking and yet wonderfully liberating and I can’t imagine it happening any other way.

I highly recommend this book! I truly enjoyed reading it and the author is one I will definitely be watching for their next book.

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