Author: Tessa Gratton
Classification: YA Fiction, Paranormal
Source: ARC from Random House for Young Readers
Summary (from Goodreads):
It starts off simply.
Draw a circle ... place a dead leaf in the center ... sprinkle some salt ... recite a little Latin ... add a drop of blood ...
Maybe that last part isn't exactly simple. Yet somehow it feels right to Silla Kennicott. And nothing in her life has felt remotely right since her parents' horrific deaths. She's willing to do anything to uncover the truth about her family—even try a few spells from the mysterious book that arrived on her doorstep ... and spill some blood.
The book isn't the only recent arrival in Silla's life. There's Nick Pardee, the new guy next door who may have seen Silla casting a spell. She's not sure what he saw and is afraid to find out. But as they spend more time together, Silla realizes this may not be Nick's first encounter with Blood Magic. Brought together by a combination of fate and chemistry, Silla and Nick can't deny their attraction. And they can't ignore the dark presence lurking nearby—waiting to reclaim the book and all its power.
Tessa Gratton's intoxicating first novel will keep pulses racing, minds reeling, and pages turning right up to the very last drop of blood.
This lyrical paranormal, in the tradition of Shiver with a two-character narrative, was such a great read! Tessa Gratton created very real characters to carry this story, Silla, Nick, Reese, and even Josephine.
Blood Magic sets itself apart from usual young adult paranormals with its unique storyline about blood magic, a kind of witchcraft where nearly anything is possible. As Silla, as well as her brother Reese, are thrown into this occult world after a family tragedy, she begins to learn secrets about her parents that she never thought possible.
While Silla and Nick's relationship seems very typical of this type of novel, i.e. damaged girl recovering from tragedy encounters mysterious boy who knows more than he lets on about a secret paranormal world, the characters are refreshing and the writing is lyrical, which makes the overall contrivance acceptable. Plus... their relationship is seriously sexy when it gets going, so a little contrivance is allowed!!
While Silla is a very damaged and heartbroken character who relies so heavily on the blood magic and centuries old secrets to get through her daily life, Nick is an eccentric and snarky guy with secrets of his own. Nick's voice was definitely my favorite of these two narrators! He was at times hilarious, romantic, and emotional and never felt like a cardboard-cutout type character to me.
Within the story of Blood Magic there is an alternate perspective from Josephine, told in her journal entries. Some might have seen these entries to be somewhat tedious and boring, but her voice was so scathing and affecting that I couldn't stop reading!
By the time the characters join for that last, epic sequence at the end of the novel, there is no hope of putting the book down. It is gripping, intense and emotional!
Overall, Blood Magic is a very underrated, well-crafted and entertaining novel! Tessa Gratton's lyrical writing is reminiscent of Maggie Steifvater and Brenna Yovanoff, all of whom manage to create unique and meaningful novels in the very tired YA paranormal genre.
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