Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton

I almost didn't read Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton because of the terrible summary that compares the debut novel to Stephanie Meyer, Carrie Jones, and Becca Fitzpatrick, none of whom are authors I am interested in. What I found when I did pick up Blood Magic was a completely original story with no supernatural beings but rather one scared girl, one lost boy, and what happens when magic flows through you. Silla Kennicott's parents have died, and the belief is that her father killed her mother and than turned the gun on himself. Silla found them, covered in blood, and since then blood has been everywhere for her. When a book of spells using blood as the main ingredient arrives in the mail, written in her father's hand-writing, she becomes entranced with the magic. She also becomes entranced with the new guy at school, Nick, a boy whose own mother abandoned him after various suicide attempts. A mother who tried to dilute the magic in her blood through drugs. When Nick sees Silla doing blood magic it brings up memories he has long tried to forget, but as the two of them try to figure out what really happened to Silla's parents Nick's memories won't stay buried forever.

As enthralling as the story of Blood Magic was I did find there were a few problems with the book. In some of the more intense scenes, especially near the end of the book, it became really unclear to me what was going on. I felt like they were rushed and didn't seem to be as carefully written. There are also some lulls in the book where the pacing is quite slow. I will also admit that although I expected a lot of blood from a book called Blood Magic, I was surprised and a little uncomfortable at how lightly Silla takes cutting herself to remove the blood she needs. Silla's behaviour could certainly provide a sign of how much pain she is in but nobody seems to really take it that way and throughout the novel cutting for magic becomes very reasonable behaviour. Blood Magic certainly has a bit of a macabre feel to it and could even verge on horror at times.

As far as the characters go, I felt they were pretty authentic. I really enjoyed Silla's brother Reese, but I did want to know more about their grandmother who is looking after them following their parents death, especially since she is family by marriage not blood and never knew them before their parents died- why did she decide to help raise them? It is such a big responsibility but she really recedes into the background. I was also hoping to learn more about Nick's mysterious mother and his new stepmom who Nick hates but I could never quite figure out why, except that she is the reason he was forced to leave his friends and move away. Both Nick and Silla had realistic teenage voices, although it was clear that they were mature for their ages due to what had happened to their parents. They do have an instant connection, but it is pretty clear that is on a physical not emotional level, and that only comes later after they get to know each other better. I was surprised at how willing Silla was to talk about her parents deaths to Nick even when she hardly knew him, and I felt Nick keeping secrets about his mom was more authentic in that regard.

I thought the storyline was brilliant and completely original which was refreshing. There was romance but thankfully no love triangle, and I liked the fact that there are some steamy scenes between Nick and Silla, it makes it feel more real considering the characters are seventeen. Even though Nick writes poetry, he is still physically attracted to Silla, and that felt authentic. Blood Magic alternates between Nick and Silla's point of views with mysterious diary entries interspersed and I did feel the format worked well, especially when everything came together at the end. Nick and Silla's voices aren't as different as they could have been but I definitely wasn't confused about who was who. I also found Gratton's writing quite beautiful and it certainly carried the story and encouraged me to keep reading even when I was in one of the slower parts. I also found it really refreshing that Blood Magic was a complete book by itself even though it is part of the Blood Journals series and already has a sequel scheduled, The Blood Keeper which unfortunately doesn't come out until 2012. The ending offers potential for where the story could go next, but it is not one of those first books where the reader is still left with a billion questions which was nice. Ultimately, there were a few scenes that were slightly muddled, but Gratton's strong writing sustained Blood Magic and resulted in an original and striking debut.

Release Date: May 24th, 2011
Pages: 416
: ARC From Publisher

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  1. This books sounds like something I would absolutely looooove. I'm also not interested in Stephanie Meyer as an author haha I'm glad you said that :)

    Lah @ LazyGirl Reads

  2. I've read the book before reading this page and I agree with everything. It was one of the best books I have read.


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