Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Blood Spell by CJ Redwine

The Blood Spell by CJ Redwine
Release Date - February 12, 2019
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  400 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Blue de la Cour has her life planned: hide the magic in her blood and continue trying to turn metal into gold so she can help her city’s homeless. But when her father is murdered and a cruel but powerful woman claims custody of Blue and her property, one wrong move could expose her—and doom her once and for all. The only one who can help? The boy she’s loathed since childhood: Prince Kellan.

Kellan Renard, crown prince of Balavata, is walking a thin line between political success and devastating violence. Newly returned from boarding school, he must find a bride among the kingdom’s head families and announce his betrothal—but escalating tension among the families makes the search nearly impossible. He’s surprised to discover that the one person who makes him feel like he can breathe is Blue, the girl who once ruined all his best adventures.

When mysterious forces lead to disappearances throughout Balavata, Blue and Kellan must work together to find the truth. What they discover will lead them to the darkest reaches of the kingdom, and to the most painful moments of their pasts. When romance is forbidden and evil is rising, can Blue save those she loves, even if it costs her everything?
CJ Redwine's Ravenspire series has been filled with delightful fairytale retellings that blend magic, well crafted world building and some clever references to some of the iconic elements from each of the fairytales tackled. The Blood Spell offers her twist on the Cinderella tale which, once again, has magical results.

The story of Cinderella has been taken and stretched into a more complex, more interesting story of a young woman discovering family secrets, falling in love, and following her heart. It takes the more memorable elements of Cinderella's story and weaves them into a much larger, richer story.

The world building in this story is always impressive, along with the magic that is infused into each of the fairytales. The magic is so integral to the plot that I hesitate to talk too much about it. It's more detailed than I first anticipated when I started reading this book. This particular kingdom is different from the ones previously featured, but still feels like it exists within the same universe which is important for this series. It's a perfect backdrop for the story and one made all the better by having a well defined world for its characters to interact with.

Blue is a courageous, outspoken, loyal, and kind young girl. Cinderella is always painted as someone who cares about others and this is true here as well. Blue's desire and need to help those around her is one of her most defining qualities. She's strong in the most horrible of circumstances and it s strength that comes entirely from within her. It's a strength of character rather than a physical strength which I find makes her more interesting.

Kellan isn't just a background prince who only appears to whisk Blue off her feet and away from her horrible life. He is a fully developed character. He is given a chance to be more than just the prince and that makes him a much more engaging character. I enjoyed the backstory he was given and that he had his own trauma and issues that he had to deal with that were not strictly related to Blue.

Nessa and Blue's grandmother are two side characters that shine brightly. Nessa is a fascinating character who I could easily read an entire book about. She is brave, loyal, loves to sass her brother even though he will one day be king, and is so eager to learn. She's fierce in her own special way and I predict many will find she leaps off the page. Blue's grandmother is funny, and used exactly how she should be. She loves Blue, and is here to support her always. Her character adds a little something extra to the story just by existing. It makes Blue's character seem less alone and her options more open than they usually do for the Cinderella character.

The romance is filled with so many of my favourite things. They have a history that feel authentic. It starts out as a mutual dislike for each other. Their families are old friends and this has pushed them together over the years. These interactions has lead to a foundation that turns into a friendship. That friendship eventually turns into something deeper. There is a delicious uncertainty that is felt as their feelings begin to chance. Kellan is the prince and must marry for the good of his kingdom. He is not free to choose for love. Blue is a commoner and definitely not someone suitable for the prince to marry. This tension results in a delightful slow burn romance. There is something delicious in them attempting to fight their feelings only to be drawn together. This relationship really has a little something for everyone has it touches on so many of the popular tropes and does so in a way that feels natural. I was also a huge fan of the Prince and 'Cinderella' knowing each other before the fateful ball. It makes you more invested in their happily ever after and their connection more believable.

The Ravenspire series are more companion novels in that they could technically be read out of order, but I recommend reading them in release order as there are always side characters and references to the previous novels buried like little gems to discover in the subsequent books. Those references are little bonuses that reward careful readers of the series and, sometimes, hold a significance that would be lost if the reader were unaware of the events in the previous novels. Luckily, all of the books are wonderful and worthy of your time.

I highly recommend this book, and the entire series, to anyone who loves a well crafted fairytale retelling. It captures the essence of the original well creating something entirely unique and new. I eagerly await my return to this series and getting to see what fairytale CJ Redwine tackles next.

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