Saturday, June 4, 2011

Book Review: Bloodspell by Amalie Howard

Bloodspell by Amalie Howard
Publisher: Langdon Street Press
Publish Date: June 1, 2011
Paperback, 369 pages
ISBN: 978-1-936782-11-6
Young Adult, Paranormal

My Review:

One thing I think sums this book up best is a statement in the Langdon Street Press' publicity page for Bloodspell and it says this:  "Bloodspell is a story of feeling like an outsider, a love story and a story of triumph over adversity.  Don't fall victim to what you are, but find the courage and strength to define who you are."

That truly sums up this book.  But in a way it oversimplifies.  I found this book to be very complex and engaging.  It does hold true to the above statement.  Victoria or "Tori" is an outsider and she is trying to figure out why and how to come to terms with who and what she is.  When she starts attending a new school, she starts to fit in better and finds herself intrigued by a student at the nearby college who is often at the high school helping out, Christian.  And there begins their love story.  But their love story if fraught with difficulties.  I like how this book made it different by each of them having their doubts at different times.  It wasn't him always saying they couldn't be together or her always saying it.  They both had doubts because of what they were and laws that governed witches and vampires.

I also found the witch and vampire element to be refreshing.  I know there are witches in the Sookie Stackhouse series along with the vampires but I haven't seen this element as much in young adult fiction.  It felt fresh and new.  I especially like that the main focus was on Victoria and her learning to be a witch and control her special powers.

The first third of the book starts the world building and the defining of the characters which is enjoyable.  But after about 100 pages this book really takes off and is action-filled.  No long sappy scenes for the whole book - this is more about Tori finding herself and helping Christian and others as well.  There are some great scenes where these two declare their love and while it's always in the background, I never felt the love story was the true focus.  The focus was more on the inner struggles and that really made the book.

If you enjoy books with good character development and a lot of action then this is a book for you.  I like how the ending is pretty much sewn up, but there are some open threads I could see possibly leading to another book, which would be awesome, but if there is not another book in the works involving Christian and Tori, I would be okay with that as well.

Some of my favorite quotes, first one that shows the struggle Tori faces (and how well the author puts it in Tori's words):
"Tori, she attacked you. You defended yourself and she lost.  That was it," he said.
"You don't understand.  I took her magic into myself, and even though it was filthy and cloying, I liked it.  I liked the feeling of power and when I killed her I liked it even more!  I loved it.  It was so easy ... I reveled in taking ... the taking ..." Victoria gasped, unable to finish. "The blood takes and feeds ... and I am helpless against it."
Another fun quote that pokes fun at vampire lore and mainstream media at the moment (I think it shows the author has a great sense of humor).  This is Christian talking about hiding being a vampire with Tori:
"Their scientists and forensic experts have the tools and technology now, not to mention all the books and films flaunting our secrets!"
My Rating: 4.25/5.0

About the Book:
BloodspellThe spell was simple... ''Cruentus Protectum'' (''Defend the Blood'')

But what do you do if your blood is your enemy?

Victoria Warrick has always known she was different. An outcast at school, she is no stranger to adversity. But when she receives an old journal for her seventeenth birthday, nothing prepares her for the dark secrets it holds--much less one that reveals she's a witch with unimaginable power.
What's more, when she meets the dazzling but enigmatic Christian Devereux, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. Enemies will hunt her. Friends will turn on her. The terrible curse that makes her blood run black will stop at nothing to control her. And Christian has a sinister secret of his own...

Without knowing whom to trust, can Victoria survive her blood's deadly desires? Or will she lose everything, including herself?

About the Author:
Amalie Howard grew up on a small Caribbean island where she spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or being a tomboy running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees and dreaming of adventure. She received a bachelor's degree from Colby College in Maine in International Studies and French, and a certificate in French Literature from the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, France. She has also lived in Los Angeles, Boston, and New York City. She has worked as a research assistant, marketing rep, global sales executive, freelance writer, and blogger. A lover of other cultures and new experiences, especially of the culinary variety, she has traveled extensively across North America and Europe, and as far east as China, Indonesia, and Australia. She currently resides in New York with her husband, three children, and one very willful cat that she is convinced may have been a witch's cat in a past life.

FTC Information: I received this book through The Teen Book Scene to review for the current tour.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.