Sara’s Review of Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
Book Description from Tessa Gratton
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.
I requested that my human pick up this novel after she saw a post on http://www.bibliopunkk.net issuing a challenge to readers. The challenge was that, in Bibliopunkk’s opinion, Blood Magic was the best YA book this year and she challenged readers to try the book and then give their views on it. Well, when a challenge like that gets issued, you can bet this cat is going to bite. Murr!
So what did I think of the book? I really enjoyed it! The story plot was wonderfully written and researched, the characters were believable and grew as the story progressed, and the unexpected twists in regards to the conflict left this feline reader wondering just how she could have missed the clues.
I also enjoyed how the telling of the story alternated between Silla and Nick as well as a selection of journal entries from a young woman named Josephine. At no time did any of the transitions between points of view feel choppy or forced. They flowed easily into each other and provided a full perspective on the events occurring within the novel.
There were two elements to the story that I did not enjoy though.
The first was the animal sacrifice scenes. Now, okay, yes I am a cat and once upon a time I had to hunt for my food, so I have killed a rabbit or two in my wild years. But that was for survival, not spell work. While I appreciate the fact that Gratton had Silla feeling conflicted over the act, the torture of the poor creature as she tried to make up her mind to do it didn’t sit well with me. Nor did the brief scene in which a poor fellow feline, just barely starting out on life, was killed.
The second element that I wasn’t happy with was the ending. I honestly felt that the book could have ended sooner than it did, thereby creating the perfect cliffhanger for her second book in the series. The scene centers around a fight that occurs between Silla’s brother and the antagonist. No, I won’t go into details as that would be considered spoiling things, but I will say that the feel of the scene lended itself beautifully into being an ending point. Instead the story continues and the final fight between our heroes and our villain ends swiftly and a bit too easily. I’ll admit to being a bit let down as a result, because I knew there was going to be a second book, I just didn’t know at the time that it was going to be a stand alone within the series.
Any ways, concerning the challenge that Bibliopunkk issued? Well, at the present moment this feline is not 100% sure that this book could be considered the best YA novel of the year. Sadly, I’ve not read enough of this year’s new releases to give an educated answer. So, here is what I propose. Up to this point, I can safely say that Blood Magic ranks within the top ten in the field of YA books for the year. I promise that, once I’ve read those books waiting on my TBR pile, I will come back and post my Top Ten YA books and will at that time tell you what holds the number one spot in my heart. Sound like a plan? Murr!
So, while the rating scale does not allow me to award half paws to my reviews, I feel the need to give this book four paws and a serious tail wave of approval!