First Blood – JD Glass

First Blood - JD GlassSamantha (Ann) Cray has lost everyone she loves. He mother when she was a baby, her father as a teen, and now one of her two best friends, the woman she loves, has died while she was away in Europe. Despairing, she tries to end it all.

When she comes round her uncle begins to reveal that she is not an ordinary pre-college girl, that she has a destiny and an important role to play as a Guardian of the Light. So begins Ann’s awakening as a Wielder. Her training is tough, absorbing and dangerous, but she must master the power she holds and understand the plains she now inhabits.

When her best friend and first girlfriend Fran arrives to stay for the autumn they quickly re-forge their friendship and their physical connection. Fran’s choice is to stand with Sam/Ann and join the Light, despite the very real threats to everyone who is associated with the emerging Wielder.

Sam/Ann and Fran must step into their roles fast, as the Darkness is closing in on the circle and a new threat can be felt. At the same time they must face hard decisions about their future together.

<Note from the Author – This version is based on American Goth and has been re-written extensively.>

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First-up let me say that Paranormal isn’t a genre I have done much reading in. I have read a few over the years starting back with a gf who was a Stephen King addict, and then some crossover fantasy stories and ending up with a few romance/paranormal in the LesFic world. So this was a departure for me. One I am very glad I took.

I really enjoyed JD’s writing. The plot starts out as fairly slow moving because what we are concentrating on is Sam/Ann’s training, and that gives the author the time and space to explore her character, her emotions, her drives. We see a woman and a force emerging from youth. She is growing into her role, into her inheritance and is questioning everything along the way. Why has her family suffered, who is she and why was she chosen. Can she be the Wielder, protect those she loves and face the challenges set her.

At the same time JD has Sam/Ann questioning her gender identity. Most women will recognize that resentment of the freedom boys have and girls have to fight for. Add on top of that loving women’s bodies and most of us have at least asked the question ‘should I be..’ however abrupt and short the answer is. Sam/Ann not only asks the questions, she then uses her fluctuating sense of self to hide in plain site, swapping her persona to suit her need.

Into that mix we add the gorgeous Fran. First girlfriend, best friend, a connection lost first by both wanting the same girl, and then by grief. As they open up to each other grief, loss, isolation and – lets be frank – lust, forms a bond between them that is stronger because of their honesty and open-ness. Fran is far more than just a girlfriend. She is a major part of the Circle and we see her develop into a powerful, strong, compassionate and loving woman who will do whatever it takes to support and love her Sam.

The sex is sizzling hot. JD uses it not only as gratification, and grounding, but to explore the sexual identities of Sam/Ann and Fran. As they explore Sammer and Frankie, deepen their bond and grow together, sex and play are part of that growth, building their trust and confidence, allowing them freedom to express themselves in ways ‘society’ restricts. I love how JD allows Fran to take control, become the tiger within, despite the learned constraints taught her by a domineering politician father.

JD Glass bioThe backing cast are also strong and well drawn, Cort, Elizabeth and Graham are characters which play important roles in the plot and in the development of the principle characters. But they aren’t cyphers, they are personalities. Even Sam’s Dad is a constant presence and a man we get to know. JD expresses their temperaments through word and deed, conflict and support. She presents us with a range of strong individuals, each of whom has a part to play within the Darkness and the Light as well as in the material world of human interaction.

I thoroughly enjoyed First Blood. While the genre is somewhat unfamiliar I loved the character development, the interactions, the exploration of gender and sexual roles and, of course, the sex. Sam/Ann and Fran grew on me. From being teenage girls, we watch them morph into amazing, powerful women. We see a cast set, a team built and a plot thicken.. and then JD leaves us on the knife edge as the battle commences. I was left desperate to know what happens next, fully engaged with the characters she has created and needing to know the fate of the players she has suddenly cast about. There better be a sequel in the pipeline or I may never forgive her.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 281 pages
  • First published 2014
  • Publisher: Affinity Ebook Press (April 29, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00K1KMN86
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