Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review: Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton

Blood Magic (Blood Journals, #1)
Tessa Gratton
First published May 24th, 2011

For Nick Pardee and Silla Kennicot, the cemetery is the center of everything. 

Nick is a city boy angry at being forced to move back to the nowhere town of Yaleylah, Missouri where he grew up. He can’t help remembering his mom and the blood magic she practiced – memories he’s tried for five years to escape. Silla, though, doesn’t want to forget; her parents’ apparent murder-suicide left her numb and needing answers. When a book of magic spells in her dad’s handwriting appears on her doorstep, she sees her chance to unravel the mystery of their deaths.

Together they plunge into the world of dark magic, but when a hundred-year-old blood witch comes hunting for the bones of Silla’s parents and the spell book, Nick and Silla will have to let go of everything they believe about who they are, the nature of life and death, and the deadly secrets that hide in blood.

Blood Magic is about witches: Finally something other than Vampires and Werewolves! I liked it, I thought it was fun and fresh, but it wasn't enough to really compel me to say "you know, this is a very good book". It was missing something though I cant quite put my finger on it. Regardless, I still almost gave it a 4 star.

The plot is part magical lore, part mystery. Silla's parents died tragically, and although everyone is convinced it was a murder suicide, Silla is not. After receiving a spell book from Deacon, whoever that is - and to her amazement they're actually working- she's even more convinced that someone was involved in her parent's death.

The mystery part is what intrigued me the most. Everyone is made a suspect and even if I wanted to guess there were too many choices to even bother, so I just enjoyed it and kept reading. It was intriguing, and I was excited to see how it would all play out. A bit more than half way through though it was made obvious (to me anyways) who it was. I still enjoyed how it ended, the climax was fun and there were a few other little unforeseeable twists in there.

The narration went back and forth between the two protagonists, Silla and Nicholas, which is always fun. We get deeper into the characters' development that way. The romance between them was much better than I expected and played a big part in the story. They had a lot of chemistry and the "romantic" scenes were pretty intense. It was a nice change from the "we want to but we can't" themes we often see nowadays. As for the supporting characters, I didn't really care for them much. They weren't boring, but they didn't stand out either. Except for Lillith - what happened there, anyways? She was this mysterious character who I thought was going to be part of the twist or at least have some role in it, but then the author seemed to just forget about her; we never got any explanation about what part she was really playing in all of this - it can't be nothing. So I don't know? Maybe she has plans for her in the following books? Or maybe she's really just a mundane step mom (boring)? There was no hint of anything. It seems like a waste to not give her a cool twist. A reason to be. Anything. I guess I will read and see.

In addition to the two narrators, there were flashbacks of an old witch writing a journal of her life after learning about the magic. Those were really interesting until the very end where it got confusing. Maybe I just don't retain information well, but I wasn't completely following it all. I still got the twist and what happened to Silla's parents, I just wasn't sure about who the Deacon was. Maybe we didn't even find out yet? Either way it didn't feel very important so I didn't bother going back to reread it.

So it's nothing especially special (yes I said it!). If you want a change from the many vampire and werewolf (and lately - angel) books coming out, this is a nice change of pace. It's not perfect but it's still a good and refreshing story.

3/5 hot espressos