I’ve been following Tessa Gratton’s writing for what seems like a long time now and so I was pleased as punch when I found out that her debut novel BLOOD MAGIC was finally being published. Over the past months, I have seen all sorts of teasers from Tessa including her actually acting out the first chapter. For those of you that don’t know, this consists of ONE LINE of text. Yes, Tessa Gratton is a tease and also a somewhat evil woman but we’ll come on to that part later. Having just finished reading the book however, I can tell you that it was worth waiting for. I thought the first chapter was fantastic, a really strong opening that had me hooked from the beginning. From then on, it seemed to slow down a bit but picked up again halfway through the book and I’m glad I kept on reading otherwise I would have missed out on a fantastic story. Here’s the synopsis:
“It starts off simply.
Draw a circle ... place a dead leaf in the center ... sprinkle some salt ... recite a little Latin ... add a drop of blood ...
Maybe that last part isn't exactly simple. Yet somehow it feels right to Silla Kennicott. And nothing in her life has felt remotely right since her parents' horrific deaths. She's willing to do anything to uncover the truth about her family—even try a few spells from the mysterious book that arrived on her doorstep ... and spill some blood.
The book isn't the only recent arrival in Silla's life. There's Nick Pardee, the new guy next door who may have seen Silla casting a spell. She's not sure what he saw and is afraid to find out. But as they spend more time together, Silla realizes this may not be Nick's first encounter with Blood Magic. Brought together by a combination of fate and chemistry, Silla and Nick can't deny their attraction. And they can't ignore the dark presence lurking nearby—waiting to reclaim the book and all its power.
Tessa Gratton's intoxicating first novel will keep pulses racing, minds reeling, and pages turning right up to the very last drop of blood.”
Now let me tell you that I am a nurse and as such, I am used to blood. Even without being a nurse, I have sliced my fingers on sharp instruments so many times, I’ve lost count. I remember one particular incident as a child when I wanted to see how sharp a knife was so I sliced into my left thumb. When I felt the sting as my skin split open and the red stuff gush out, I guess I got my answer to that question. It was this incident that made me feel a little uncomfortable about Silla WILLINGLY cutting herself so that she could use her own blood for magic as every time it was described, I relived that incident over and over. I reaaaaally don’t like the stinging feeling of the skin splitting or the soreness afterwards as it heals. SLOWLY in my case.
Anyway, if that was the worst I had to deal with then so be it. But then came the dead kittens...and then the dead bunnies. EVIL, evil woman. But at least it wasn’t a person though, right? *makes a face* Nope, I’m not going there so you’ll just have to read the book and find out what happens for yourself.
What I loved about Blood Magic is that I’ve read a lot of paranormal YA books full of witches and magic and all things supernatural but I’d never read about BLOOD Magic before. I always associated that with black magic and that of the crazy witch from Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. It might sound a little Occult like and I guess in some ways, it is but we learn that Silla’s father is a good man who only ever used the magic for good. As in everything, there are some that would use it for their own purposes, and become so intoxicated with the power it gives them that they cannot see what they have turned into. Enter Josephine Darly, an ambitious young woman who learns of Blood Magic through her beloved Philip. We are privy to her diary entries over the years as the chapters alternate between Silla and Josephine. I really liked this concept and how the more I progressed through the book, the more it felt like Josephine was getting closer and closer.
I have to say though that my favourite character was Reese and I think part of this is because I always wanted a protective older brother of my own. Of course the other reason is obviously because Reese is hot LOL.
Tessa’s writing is rich in description and it was nice to see the multiple nods to Shakespeare which is so Tessa. It’s also quite nice to finally understand why the book cover is covered in birds or crows to be more precise and this is explained quite nicely. I really enjoyed the symbolism and metaphors within the book that I can’t say too much about as I don’t want to spoil it but the birds do represent something and the message was fully understood.
Blood Magic was a very enjoyable read and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what happens in subsequent books. I would REALLY like to see a particular character return and I shall be keeping my fingers crossed for this.
Thank you to Random House for sending me an ARC to read and review. Blood Magic was published on 24th May, 2011 in the US and UK. The Blood Keeper (a stand-alone companion novel to Blood Magic) will be published in summer, 2012. To find out more about Tessa and her books, click here to visit her website.