Sunday, December 23, 2018

Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith

Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith
  • ISBN-10: 1328496309 - Hardcover $18.99
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (March 12, 2019), 384 pages.
  • Review copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine Reviewers program and the publisher.

The blurb:
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 must flee her country after a devastating assassination attempt. Her only option for freedom lies with another warden: her betrothed, Prince Valentin.

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?

I admit that I had to put Bloodleaf down a few times because I was too worried about what would happen to Princess Aurelia.   She's headstrong, caring, selfless and tough. She is in grave danger from the start and is subjected to bullying and threats even within her palace.  Her people and their religious leaders seem to despise her for her magical ability which she tries to keep hidden.  But she is willing to take dangerous risks to support those she believes are being persecuted.

The reasons for the hatred, distrust and fear of the princess aren't made clear at the start of the novel. It is only as the action continues and Aurelia is fleeing that we learn more about the dangers that had surrounded her.  Crystal Smith is very effective at keeping the action moving and revealing the nature of her heroine.  As I went deeper into Bloodleaf, I was torn between worrying about Aurelia and not wanting the action to end.  It is a fun read and I can't wait for the other two books in the trilogy.

About the Author:
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 or reading ghost stories with all the lights on. @crysrensmith.

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