Friday, August 26, 2011

Blood & Flowers by Penny Blubaugh

I really shouldn't have picked up Blood & Flowers by Penny Blubaugh. I say that so you realize I was not in any way predisposed to liking it. Sure, it has a weird creepy cover of the sort I tend to be drawn to, but so did Blubaugh's debut Serendipity Market and I did not enjoy it at all. Still, I decided to give this author a second chance with her second book, and I ended up being glad I did.

In Blood & Flowers, a young woman named Persia has run away from her drug-addict parents, finding an unlikely home with the Outlaws, an underground puppet theater group which includes both mortals and fey. The group becomes the family Persia never had, and she even falls in love with an incredible boy. Everything is perfect until an enemy forces the group to flee to the realm of Faerie, a world filled with dangerous magic that is not quite the safe haven the Outlaws had hoped for. Together they hope to defeat their enemy and protect both their right to perform, and their own lives.

Blood & Flowers was definitely a novel I found myself instantly drawn into. It took me awhile to adjust and figure out what was going on with the story, but from the first page I loved the way Blubaugh integrated magic into the world. From the fey and their secret presence in the world to the magical and illegal drinks being brought across from the other realm, Faerie could easily be replaced with a race or religion and the same persecution could be faced believably, making the story both mystical but with an underlying sense of truth to it.

Unlike Serendipity Market, a lot happens in Blood & Flowers- perhaps even too much. The plot moves forward quickly and there is always another threat on the horizon for Persia and her friends. The result is that the novel is far more story and world-based than it is character based, and although the reader gets a small taste of the major character's back-stories it isn't enough to really connect to them. The romance, along with other relationships between characters, also didn't feel that genuine. That said, it was an enjoyable and quick read and although I probably won't pick it up a second time, Blubaugh has definitely won me over in a way her first novel did not and I finished the book honestly surprised but glad that I had enjoyed it.

Overall, Blood & Flowers is an enjoyable novel that takes place in a well-built world and though less attention is paid to character development than plot Blubaugh has written a book that provides a unique and magical escape.

Release Date: March 1st, 2011
Pages: 352
Buy the Book
Source: ARC from Publisher

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