”The strongest magic requires the greatest sacrifice.”
I received an ARC of this book along with a copy of Everless in a giveaway by Sara Holland. I was so happy when it finally arrived, I felt like a little kid.
Before I go on about the contents, I need to say something about the absolutely gorgeous cover! It is the most beautiful ARC I have ever seen and I am so glad I was lucky enough to get my hands on one.
The first thing I want to say about Bloodleaf is how fresh and unique this whole book felt. It wasn’t more-of-the-same, it wasn’t predictable in any way and the world is really immersive and easy to paint in your mind because of the vivid descriptions (it’s beautiful, believe me). Reading Bloodleaf I truly felt like I was reading something new and it felt good.
Something I loved was how real the characters felt. The main characters and the main-side characters have a certain kind of depth I can’t really explain, but it was there. I am used to side characters being a little bit dull on the edges, which absolutely wasn’t the case in Bloodleaf. They all felt really relevant to the plot in a really good way, which helped me enjoy the book even more.
With so many books in the world, it gets harder and harder to get a magic system together that isn’t the same as one in another book. Though blood magic, nature magic and arcane magic are used often, the way it works and the origins story really add some flavour to it all. Plus, Latin spells, guys! I have had Latin at school for some years and seeing it used (and used very well for that matter!) in YA was something that made me really happy.
The realism of the spells is something that got my attention aswell. I was so happy that a magic wielder was able to do a working invisibilty spell for example. How many times I have yelled at protagonists that instead of being super sneaky with black suits, they could try to get invisible using magic. The plotholes such small things could create sometimes are absolutely ridiculous and I am glad Crystal Smith got her magic right.
On the topic of magic, it was really interesting to see that the protagonist, a bloodwitch, as the princess of a kingdom with the witch hating Tribunal having so much control. The Tribunal and their motivations are part of the plot, but the dynamics between a princess who is suspected of having magic and her subjects being punished for something as little as reading a medicine recipe, gives Aurelia a strong character. She truly cares about her kingdom and people in general and it really shows in many different ways throughout the book.
Something more YA books should have is that the MC should have alive family that active in the story. Though Aurelia’s mom’s presence was a bit limited to the beginning of the story, the undying love and protectiveness about her (much) younger brother is present from beginning till end. Having a little brother about the same age, it was beautiful to read about a relationship like that for once.
If you like witches, magic, amazing characters and an even better plot, this book is for you. It is a really refreshing fantasy and I really believe this trilogy could become really big (which it deserves!!!). The quality of the plot, the characters and worldbuilding are exceptional for a debuting author and Crystal Smith really deserves credit for that.
I would really encourage everyone to pre-order this amazing fantasy book as this is something you want to read in 2019!