Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What's With All This Bloody Magic?!

Blood Magic (The Blood Journals)
Blood is considered powerful, the life source, embodiment of the human soul... magical even. So when a book emerges with blood as the source of magic, we are intrigued, but not terribly surprised by the connection. Tessa Gratton's novel Blood Magic delves into the world of magic, handed down through the generations, curses and all.

Silla is the girl everyone avoids. Especially now. Her parents are dead, her father was ruled to have killed her mother and then himself, and Silla is the one who found them. Then her brother found her, kneeling in their blood and in shock. Now she and her brother Reece live with their grandmother, but life is far from normal. In school, the more mild mannered kids just assume she has been driven crazy from her parents' deaths, but the more mean spirited kids assume she is just as dangerous and murderous as her father.

Nicholas was dragged to this small town from his life in Chicago by his evil stepmother Lilith (actually her name is Mary but he prefers the nickname of the woman who created all monsters- terribly fitting!). He is dreading his new life, but from the moment he sees Silla, he can't think of anything but being with her. When he finds out Silla and Reece have stumbled upon a family legacy- Magic- he begins to realize magic is entwined into his own life from the mother who tried to commit suicide then abandoned him as a child. When they find out Nicholas' mother and Silla's father knew one another, they know there is some connection, but they aren't sure what it is. What they aren't expecting is a centuries old witch who has cheating death and time and wants something Reece, Silla, and Nicholas have- their magic. Can they protect all they have left from their parents from the witch? Can they get to the bottom of who their parents really were?

With supernatural books in abundance these days, it is hard to find one that stands out from the pack. While I am not saying this is the best supernatural book ever written, it did indeed catch my attention. I really liked the characters and their weird intertwined relationships with one another. The combined story lines had me guessing as to the connection right up until the time Gratton delivered the real story. That guessing game is the root of the suspense we all want in this kind of story. While I had figured out a few things along the way, I wasn't expecting the final verdict. The characters were also very interesting in and of themselves. They had flaws, inner demons, and loss like no one their age should feel. At times I felt the loss of Silla's parents was handled very well, but Nicholas' mother's disappearance was glossed over. This was the one glaring flaw in my mind. At one point, Silla even mentions his mother and he says something along the lines of "forget her, she is gone, its over" even though she is alive and out there in the world. It seemed odd to me to pay such close attention to one family and gloss over the other family, especially since they were connected in the end.

This book would be appropriate for most junior to senior high school students. There is a lot of bloody gore throughout the story, but it isn't overdone in comparison to the darkness of the story. An aspect of the book that annoyed me a little was the sexual tension and relationship between Silla and Nicholas. Everything happens so fast, yet they cannot break themselves apart from one another. It seemed too forced, too fabricated. I suppose you could use the magic to explain it, but I felt it directly clashed with the time line of the story. There were also long drawn out make-out scenes that were unnecessary compared to the purpose of the story. They didn't go very far, but it left me thinking, "Enough already! Where is the evil witch so we can kick her butt?!" But overall, this was a pretty good story. It will appeal to those supernatural junkies who need magic and spells and hocus pocus in their lives!

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