Everywhere Silla Kennicott turns she sees blood. She can’t stop thinking about her parents alleged murder-suicide. She is consumed by a book filled with spells that arrives mysteriously in the mail. The spells share one common ingredient: blood, and Silla is more than willing to cast a few. What’s a little spilled blood if she can uncover the truth? And then there’s Nick—the new guy at school who makes her pulse race. He has a few secrets of his own and is all too familiar with the lure of blood magic. Drawn together by a combination of fate and chemistry, Silla and Nick must find out who else in their small Missouri town knows their secret and will do anything to take the book and magic from Silla.
I waited a long time to get my hands on a copy of Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton. I begged Sara to put in an early request. Then I tried to win an ARC. The publish date came and went. And then, one magical day last week, a finished copy slithered into my mailbox.
After all that anticipation, you could say my expectations were pretty high, which usually means my disappointment will be that much greater.
Not this time.
Blood Magic is a dark, violent and passionate blood bath worthy of Elizabeth Bathory. This story isn’t a dainty foray into the world of magical finger-pricking. This is a full-on insanguination of the best and bloodiest kind complete with spells, necromancy, possession and a dizzying romance that fits the intensity of the main story.
Since finishing Blood Magic, I’ve read reviews that claim Gratton tries too hard to imitate the lyrical writing of her friend and critique partner Maggie Stiefvater. As someone very familiar with Stiefvater’s writing style, I can say I never once got that impression. That’s not to say Gratton’s writing isn’t lyrical at times, but in no way does it try to be anything but an authentic voice.
There’s one other aspect of Blood Magic that stands out to me, and that’s the historical epistolary thread running through it. I’ve seen this method employed a few times lately (most notably in Revolution by Jennifer Connelly) and it works well for Blood Magic, too. I was able to tell the two threads would eventually come together, but I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t until near the end that the clues were sufficient enough for me to figure it out.
Even then, Gratton throws in a twist that will turn your stomach. Horror fans should run to get their hands on this one.
Blood Magic is in stores now.