Friday, 1 July 2011

Book Review & Giveaway: Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton.

Product details:
Publisher: Doubleday Childrens
Release date: July 7th 2011.
Paperback, 416 pages.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Ages: YA
Source: Received from publisher for review.

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.

A dark Paranormal Romance, Tessa Gratton's  Blood Magic has been one of the most anticipated YA debuts of 2011. In addition to a lot of blogger buzz, this book is blurbed by none other than Maggie Stiefvater, who has a whole lot of good things to say about it. Darkly atmospheric and rich in detail, Blood Magic is certainly an accomplished debut, but that said, it won’t be for everyone. If you’re in any way squeamish, you can forget about reading this book right now. Its pages are dripping with blood from the get go and certain things happen to small animals that will just turn your stomach. However, if you like your reading darkly dark and gothic, then this is the perfect book for you. And even if nightmares disturb your sleep after you finish reading it, then, even better, right?

Told in a dual narrative, with additional journal entries that add an air of mystery to events, Blood Magic opens in a creepy old cemetery, where we are introduced to Silla, a girl who just recently lost both her parents in an apparent murder-suicide, and Nick, the new-boy-in-town-with-a-mysterious-past who is strangely drawn to her from the first time he sees her. Silla lives under a dark cloud. Grieving, haunted and confused by her parents’ tragic deaths, she is determined to get some answers. This arrives in the form of a book of spells sent by a mysterious stranger, but with magic, comes danger, and Silla will soon have to face down an ancient enemy who will do anything in their power to take the book of spells from her.

While Blood Magic has a great premise and a lot of potential, it is slightly lacking in places with its often long-winded prose and also partly because sometimes it just takes itself too seriously. These characters, just like Sam and Grace of Shiver fame, failed to endear themselves to me, because honestly I found them so goddamn boring at times. Silla quotes Shakespeare on an hourly basis, while Nick writes poetry for fun. There are reasons in their pasts as to why they do these things, but it all just struck me as slightly pretentious and I wasn’t able to find any common ground with them. For that reason I also failed to buy into their relationship, which is of the Insta-Love variety. While Silla and Nick fell in love pretty quickly and had lots of hot n’ heavy make-out sessions, I just felt that the chemistry was off between them. Their relationship didn’t really ring true for me, although I’m glad that Silla had someone to look out for her at least, because life sure isn’t easy for that girl.

Blood Magic grows increasingly macabre as it reaches its conclusion with enemies revealed, blood-filled battles, blood sacrifices, face-painting with blood, and uh, blood-filled kisses….I get that blood is a big part of the book, but I thought there was maybe a little too much blood at times, which led to a bloody mess of a finale, leaving me with no real answers, but a lot of questions, and a conclusion that left me unsatisfied. That said, there is a companion novel to this one coming next year, so I’m hoping that when I read The Blood Keeper everything will finally make sense.

Despite my issues with this one, I really do think that a lot of people will devour it and love every page. With its intriguing premise, it is stunning in its originality, and I’m sure Blood Magic is going to gain Tessa Gratton a whole lot of fans!


Thanks to those lovely people at Random House Children's Books I have a copy of Blood Magic to give away to one lucky reader!
To be in with a chance to win, just complete the form below.
Competition is open to UK & ROI only - publishers request.
Competition Closes: July 10th 2011.
Following this blog is not necessary to gain entry to this competition, but is always appreciated!



  1. I don't mind quotes from Shakespeare lol, but like you , I would probably find the characters boring. And as for insta-love, I am honestly sick of it!
    Blood-filled kisses?! Bloody mess of a finale?! I am definitely never going to read this book.

  2. While I am a fan of Shakespeare, I think I would find constant quoting very annoying and I am with Misha that the whole idea of immediate attraction is getting very yawn worthy. Great review and thanks for the giveaway.

  3. ooh, sorry that the characters bored you. I'm not sure if I'm going to love it, but I do want to give it a try. ooh gosh, macabre? Really?

  4. Hello, I have just started writing my own book, and I'd be honored if you'd come by my blog to see it. I'm gonna have updates on my progress, and soon it will be available for everyone to buy, hard cover or paperback. Do follow it, to see which story I decided to tell, I've currently got about four or five. the address is, Thankyou muchly for your time, My regards.

  5. Great review! I loved this book! And too bad I can't enter giveaway!

  6. I did have this on my TBR list due to blurb from Maggie Stiefvater, but blood filled kisses and stomach turning incidents with small animals! I think I am far to squeamish for this book, thanks for the review.

  7. "Silla quotes Shakespeare on an hourly basis, while Nick writes poetry for fun." From this, I think I'd agree with you about the characters - I don't think I'd warm up to them either. Still, I like the concept of this book so I might give it a go. Thanks for the review!

  8. Aw, I thought it was absolutely brilliant, but you do make some fair points. If the story hadn't won me over from the start, I might have lost interest when things got a little slow, especially near the end ... and the bunny thing did NOT go down well ... for me, though, the whole book just worked as a super atmospheric (and bloody! o_o) Southern Gothic!! (",) It's not for everyone, though, hehe.

  9. I am going to pass on this one. I don't like a lot of blood in my books (unless it involves Eric Northman) and when you mentioned small animals...forget it. I'll definitely have nightmares. I also am not the biggest fan of long-winded prose. Only a few authors can really get away with that. And quoting Shakespeare? I deal with that enough at work. ha. Thanks for the honest review!

  10. This sounds amazing. Really great review! Thanks for the awesome giveaway.

    Amy@adumbrations (new follower)

  11. I think the continuous quoting of Shakespeare would get a bit daunting for me as well. I don't think I would connect to either of these two based on your thoughts, and I tire of the insta-love:) Thanks for this review Leanna, it was super helpful!

  12. What a shame you didn't enjoy it as much but your reasons are really explained.
    Thanks for the review and giveaway.
    This is a book l SO want to give a go!

  13. Thank you for the wonderful insightful review. I have been following this one around and it looks interesting to me.

  14. I really love Tessa Gratton's writing style, I've been following her short stories that she posts to the Merry Sister's of Fate, along with Maggie and Brenna on livejournal. So, from the moment that I heard about this novel, I've been seriously excited and anticipating it. :)

    Suz @ A Soul Unsung

  15. Great review! I usually love dark themes, but not a fan of anything with violence towards animals. I usually just end up skimming those scenes.

  16. I was wondering if this book became macabre. I thought I would try it, but knowing that it gets bloody...I think I will pass. Great review!

  17. Oh I really loved this one! But since reading your comments on it, I can definitely see where you're coming from.


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