ARC review, book review, young adult

Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith (ARC Review)

TitleBloodleaf
Author: Crystal Smith
Type: Fiction
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Date published: March 12, 2019

A physical copy of this book was kindly provided by Raincoast Books as part of a giveaway.

Princess Aurelia is a prisoner to her crown and the heir that nobody wants. Surrounded by spirits and banned from using her blood-magic, Aurelia flees her country after a devastating assassination attempt. To escape her fate, Aurelia disguises herself as a commoner in a new land and discovers a happiness her crown has never allowed. As she forges new bonds and perfects her magic, she begins to fall for a man who is forbidden to rule beside her. But the ghosts that haunt Aurelia refuse to abandon her, and she finds herself succumbing to their call as they expose a nefarious plot that only she can defeat. Will she be forced to choose between the weight of the crown and the freedom of her new life?

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I won an advanced reader copy of Bloodleaf in a contest run by Raincoast Books at their Fall 2018 Preview in Toronto, and I’m so glad that I did! Some retellings are certainly overdone, and I remember my first reaction to Bloodleaf being relief that it would the first retelling of The Goose Girl that I have ever come across! I remember coming across that story a number of times and was curious to see what the author would do with it. …And I was definitely not disappointed! There were definitely some alterations, as there usually are with retellings, but the changes were good ones.

The whole concept of the bloodleaf was interesting, as was the magic system in the book. I also enjoyed reading about the settings because everything was very 19th century Europe (very brothers Grimm) with the addition of magic and witch hunts. I would have liked a little more detail to be given about the physical world in which Bloodleaf was set (but I generally want a lot more details than some other readers when it comes to fantasy worlds, so it’s nothing new or tragic). There was some romance in this book as well, which I wish had had more depth and development, but that I still found enjoyable. And, lastly, I wanted to say that I really enjoyed the twists and turns in the plot, and look forward to seeing how the story develops in the next book!

 

Crystal Smith is a writer, photographer, and artist who developed an early love of storytelling in a family of voracious readers. She resides in Utah with her high school sweetheart husband and two lively sons. When she isn’t writing or creating, she can be found re-watching Jane Eyre and Howl’s Moving Castle or reading ghost stories with all the lights on.

  
  

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