Bloodleaf⭐⭐⭐⭐ (My waterworks got some exercise)

Author: Crystal Smith
Pages: 373
Genre: NA Fantasy
Series: Bloodleaf #1
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781328496300

This is a story about the princess Aurelia, who is about to be sent away to marry the sickly and weak crown prince of the neighbouring country. In her own country she’s met with fear and hate from her people. It is rumoured the she is a witch, and they are an evil scourge on the world. At least that is what the people are being taught by an influential group who likes nothing more than to execute users of magic.

Aurelia is in fact a blood witch, and has practised her magic in secret almost her whole life. She is not evil and does many times try to help her people. But all she gets in return is threats and vandalism to her chambers. And when she is subject to a failed assassination attempt and uses her magic in front of the entire court, the threats escalates into a full-blown revolt. She escapes with the help of her mother and close friends and starts making her way to Achleva and her fiancé and safety. But who can she really trust in the world?

I did not get a god grip on the places, geography, fashion or any of that. There’s two capitals, one is normal and the other protected by magic. The big thing to know about in this world was the plant Bloodleaf, and boy do I know about that plant now.
I really liked the magic system. Especially the limits on the Blood Magic that Aurelia uses. Example; To become unseen by others, you have to cut yourself and command not to be seen. And the blood needs to be fresh and flow constantly or the spell breaks. I was happy with the hardship of this, because a real life fact is that blood dries much faster than one might think.

Aurelia: At the beginning I had a hard time with her. She had no self-preservation and just jumped into things without thinking for even a moment if there was any alternatives. But as the book progressed, she evolved and grew on me. And when she finally started to build strategies to get where she wanted, I was in love.

The other characters was a hit and a miss for me. The ones we meet in the beginning of the book are very cliche and flat, but the ones we meet later on are well written and has many layers to them. I found myself getting really attached to these people, and that led me straight to sobbing-town. This is not a happy book.

The first half of the book is fine, but nothing extraordinary. Nice pacing, easy to read and understand, but it reads very trove filled and cliche. But even here, as with the characters, it gets better and better. The writing evolves, the pace picks up and the plot-twist became less cliche and more unpredictable.

I was kept in the dark on small things that made the book more intriguing. So despite there being so many massive hints on the big ”chocking secrets” in the first half of the book, I could actually be sucker-punched once in a while during the second half. And that is a great thing to me. A book that does not surprise, scare or chock me is pretty much a waste of time. I could just as well have made up my own story in my mind.

4 stars because Bloodleaf is not a slam-dunk, but as Crystal Smith’s debut it shows great promise. It had its issues in the beginning, but it kept getting better the longer I read. It is a really and gut-wrenching story with characters that wormed their way into my heart, and I shed a tear once or twice. I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel, but who knows when it will get published..

Crystal Smith // Goodreads review // Instagram

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