Bloodspell by Amalie Howard
publisher: Langdon Street Press
release date: June 1st, 2011
paperback, 369 pages
intended audience: Young adult
source: from publisher for honest review
The spell was simple... Cruentus Protectum (Defend the Blood) But what do you do if your blood is your enemy? Victoria Warrick has always known she was different. An outcast at school, she is no stranger to adversity. But when she receives an old journal for her seventeenth birthday, nothing prepares her for the dark secrets it holds -- much less one that reveals she's a witch with unimaginable power. What's more, when she meets the dazzling but enigmatic Christian Devereux, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. Enemies will hunt her. Friends will turn on her. The terrible curse that makes her blood run black will stop at nothing to control her. And Christian has a sinister secret of his own... Without knowing whom to trust, can Victoria survive her blood's deadly desires? Or will she lose everything, including herself?
Review: I was really impressed with Amalie Howard's debut, Bloodspell. Behind the gorgeous cover lies a story that has all the romance and pull of the best of the forbidden love stories out there with twice the danger and intensity, and all the fascination of Harry Potter discovering his magical powers. In many ways, it starts off like many YA paranormal novels out there: a girl, 17, new school, struggling to make friends, has a run-in with Mr. Beautiful Gorgeous, finds out she has some sort of power. Its what's beyond all that that really sets this one apart. The writing is tight and entertaining, and the plot is so wonderfully complicated and complex and exciting! The characters are all very believable and easy to relate to, aside from the occasional dialogue slip that sounded a little too formal for a high school cafeteria chat. There are little surprises around every page-turn, so don't get too comfortable with any one character!
I love the addition of the journal entries from Tori's ancestor, Brigit. It got the story rolling and really added a lot of mystique to Tori's powers. You're left wondering if her powers will take her over and be completely uncontrollable. When I was reading the synopsis for this, I wondered if the reference to her blood running black would be literal or metaphorical. Her witch blood was quite literally a character in it's own right in parts of the story and it added a wonderful creepiness and gore to the story.
The love story was captivating and intense. Christian and Tori are far from a love-at-first-sight cliche. Even after they fall in love, they are constantly on shaky ground. It's forbidden love like you've never seen---because they are both equally dangerous to each other. Tori is a strong character and battles throughout the story---to understand and control her powers, to accept who she is and what she is capable of, and to be with Christian despite all the obstacles.
A very compelling read all the way through. I highly recommend this one and I'm definitely looking forward to book 2!
Visit Amalie Howard's site here.
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