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Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
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Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
fast pace, murder, mystery that blends in blood magic and eternal life. Grabs your attention and wont let you go ( )
  TeamDewey | Mar 16, 2014 |
Actual rating: 2.5 stars. I almost gave this three stars despite my problems with it, because for a debut novel it has some promise, but the "ending" was just "WTF, that's it?". ( )
  Crowinator | Sep 23, 2013 |
I've given up of this book the moment a guy, Nick or whatever, said something along the lines "I hope she's not one of those freaks who cut themselves". Any book shaming on eating disorders, depression and/or self-harming issues is a big 'no' for me. Maybe it didn't stuck to many readers of this book, but once I read that line, I read it one more time just to make sure I wasn't seeing things. Even if it was just one line, it stuck with me (I tried to read this book months ago). I had a same problem with [b:Marked|30183|Marked (House of Night, #1)|P.C. Cast|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1368453848s/30183.jpg|30573] so there's no way I'm giving any props to this one. I think I read 60 pages or so, but that was as far as I could get. Characters were annoying, constant POV switches were tiring and I found it boring till no end. I know people find this book "unique" and "amazing" and whatnot and, don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of YA paranormal books. They are my favourite genre, but sometimes there are books that are just not working for me. This was one of them. ( )
  countingscripts | Sep 23, 2013 |
RATING: 3.5 stars

"Blood Magic" is an annoying (and frustrating - I seem to be using these words a lot in my reviews lately) mix of teen paranormal romance cliches and interesting story. As with "A Touch Mortal" (read review) I felt exasperated by certain aspects of this book, because I knew that if the author had written them differently I'd have liked the book a lot more.

Drusilla Kennicot is a troubled girl who's been in the center of one of the biggest tragedies the small town of Yaleylah has ever seen: a murder-suicide. While everyone believes that her father was crazy, Drusilla (or Silla, as she is more commonly known) still has faith in the man she knew and doesn't think her father could have done it. When a mysterious man who calls himself "the Deacon" sends her a small book filled with magic spells written in her father's handwriting Silla begins a strange journey into a world she never thought existed. Who was her father really? And who is Nicholas the new boy in school who seems perfectly at ease with her, even when everyone else thinks she is crazy?

The premise of this book sounded so, so good. The Magic seemed somehow realistic, arcane and messy and didn't need any "wand-waving" or pixie dust. And some parts of the story were actually good. I really liked reading about Silla's discovery and first uses of the book, having to use her magic blood to make things happen. It kind of reminded me of that movie Practical Magic, because the magic was so ambiguous and only the user could decide what to do with it... there was no "light" spells or "dark" spells. I thought Gratton did an amazing job with her magic system and gave it an authentic feel.

What I didn't like so much? The aforementioned cliches. Like the "insta-romance" between Nicholas and Silla. It just didn't seem credible and it reminded me a lot of "Beautiful Creatures".
That, coupled with the switching POV's (Nicholas and Silla) spoiled much of the book for me because I felt like Nicholas and Silla were sometimes just one person. As the POV switched from one to the other there weren't enough original elements or thoughts to distinguish them.
I did like, however, the chapters with Josephine's diary.

As for the story, it was... well, predictable. Once Silla starts dabbling with the magic it's pretty clear her parents' death weren't what they seemed and it was pretty easy to figure out Josephine's identity. There were one or two twists I confess I wasn't expecting, but most of the time the plot was pretty easy to figure out.

So, basically you have an average story, an interesting world and some stereotypical characters (even Josephine was your typical "mwahaha" villain). This book is saved, in my opinion, by the author's world building and imagination concerning the magic system.

Overall, while I liked reading it and recommend it for fans of YA Urban Fantasy featuring witches (who don't mind the overused lightning-quick romance between the main characters), I was a little disappointed with some aspects of the book. ( )
  slayra | Sep 21, 2013 |
This is the second book I've ever read where I feel like I need to change ALL my other five stars to 4 or 4.5 to give justice to this one!

All I can say is WOW, I love Silla and Nick, Reese and Judy. What a wonderfully tangled story, with such believable characaters, who are both strong and weak, wonderful and awful, brave and scared. The magic part was truly magic, and the way both Silla, Nick and Reese had to deal with so many things left me without breath for most of the book.

So many things happened, and the plot was really well thought out - I could not guess in advance what was going to happen next.

This is one of the few wonderfully dark, but still hopefull YA novels I have read in a very long time.

And I recommend this book to ALL people I know who like reading - there is suspense, magic, romance, teenage angst, hope for the future, all the ingredients needed for a wonderfully twisted tale that left me hungry for a lot more. ( )
  Lexxie | Apr 23, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375867333, Hardcover)

Product Description
This page-turning debut novel will entice fans who like their paranormal romances dark and disturbing. It's a natural next-read for fans of Stephanie Meyer, Carrie Jones, and Becca Fitzpatrick. But instead of mythical creatures, blood magic has everything to do with primal human desires like power, wealth, and immortality. 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.

Amazon Exclusive: Maggie Stiefvater Interviews Tessa Gratton

Maggie Stiefvater is the author of the bestselling Wolves of Mercy Falls series for young adults, which includes Shiver, Linger, and Forever. Her newest book, The Scorpio Races, will be out in October 2011. She is also an avid reader, an award-winning colored pencil artist, and plays several musical instruments, including the Celtic harp, the piano, and the bagpipes.

Maggie Stiefvater: So, Tessa. Your nickname in our writing group is “Blood Bunny.” I cannot remember whether this delightful moniker pre-dates Blood Magic, but it’s irrelevant; it’s apt regardless. There is much blood in your debut. If I recall correctly, we begin with a double murder, proceed to a blood-stained journal, observe as our narrator spills blood in a cemetery, and go from there. The question that this begs is: Are you a fan of bloody novels? And is Band-Aid your sponsor?

Tessa Gratton: Considering The Scorpio Races is my favorite of all your books, and it’s also your most bloody by far, I’m going to have to plead guilty here. I’m a huge fan of fictional violence, especially the medieval kind. Though in my defense, my Band-Aids are all Hello Kitty– decorated. Speaking of cute things gone bloody, how long have you been wanting to write a novel about flesh-eating horses? Is this some kind of childhood trauma thing? Because all the horses I want to write about are shiny and magical and take me—I mean my characters—to castles in the sky.

Stiefvater: I grew out of my My Little Pony stage (and yes, I had one) very young. I never grew out of horses, though, and I actually attempted to write several novels about water horses before I landed on The Scorpio Races. The thing is, telling a pleasant story about horses that live under the ocean for part of the year and want to eat you for the rest of it is a sort of difficult task, and it took me quite a few years to figure out how to manage it. Somewhere along the way, I realized their fearsome nature would be more tolerated in a society that kind of needed them, too. Which is how I ended up with the vaguely historical Thisby, a tiny island that relies on the water horses for much of their income.

While we’re on the topic of historical stuff, I should talk about Josephine, one of your characters from Blood Magic. Some of my favorite chapters in Blood Magic are the ones from her point of view. They’re historical, vain, and certain of immortality. So, in other words, eerily similar to my college experience. Where did Josephine come from? Are you Josephine?

Gratton: Josephine is one of the few characters whose core remained essentially intact from the first draft to the last—I wanted a character who loved the blood magic as much as I do, and who was merrily free of the moral constraints I grew up with. She’s fun to write because of her gleeful disregard for silly things like consequences, which makes her the perfect vehicle for bringing up the darker side of magic.

One of my favorite characters in The Scorpio Races is the American, a.k.a. George Holly. He’s a charming, virile Californian dandy, and not quite like anybody in your other books. Where did you dig him up?

Stiefvater: I remember I was having problems getting Sean Kendrick, the taciturn hero, to open up to anyone, and I decided someone from off the island, someone new to the culture, might do the trick. I remember that he didn’t have a name at first; I just had Sean refer to him as “the American.” I was trying to think of something to call him, and this absolutely ridiculous and larger-than-life name—George Holly—came rolling out of the keyboard, and this huge personality with it. I remember wailing to you, “This man is taking over my novel!” So, no, I do not know where he came from, but he is hands down one of the favorite characters I’ve ever written. Some of my favorite parts of The Scorpio Races are his scenes with Sean. They provide a lot of levity.

In fact, I am a fan of witty repartee in general, which is why one of the other things I really enjoy about Blood Magic is Nick’s relationship with his stepmother. He calls her Lilith, the mother of all demons, but really, she mostly reminds me of Delia Deetz from Beetle Juice. You know, the sort of evil that can only come from an upper-middle-class upbringing and too many pottery classes. Do you have a method to writing witty dialogue? Or does it just come out of the faucet that snappy?

Gratton: Now that you mention it, I’m thinking of several disturbing parallels to Beetle Juice. So I’m going to avoid that and say that witty banter requires daily practice, I’ve found. Fortunately, you’re always there waiting on the Internet, so we can exercise our banter muscles. Not that I’m suggesting I call you Lilith behind your back. (It’s actually just flat out Satan for you. Only the best.)

Stiefvater: I expect no less.

Gratton: Let’s talk about the opposite of witty banter: I remember when you were writing The Scorpio Races, and the dialogue was a focus. It’s very toned down and reserved and beautifully realistic, because of the characters, so what was it like being unable to let your funny bone have its way with your dialogue?

Stiefvater: Horrid. Absolutely horrid. I never realized how much I use humor as a crutch until I had scene after scene where I needed to measure it out like a precious metal. Actually, that’s really true of nearly every component of The Scorpio Races. Everything was very, very calculated. Everything in moderation.

Okay... but seriously. You’re Josephine, right?

Gratton: No, I’m George Holly.

Stiefvater: Ha. Double ha. So. In Blood Magic, I cannot help but notice that there are no creatures. By which I mean werewolves, vampires, fairies, kraken, mermaids, or elves. I believe there are some raccoons, but that’s it. There is just this: Blood. And Magic. And body switching. And a few possums. Why body-switching? If you could swap bodies, would you? (You may not have mine.)

Gratton: There are possums because possums are nastier and scarier than vampires and kraken— or even vampiric kraken. The body-switching was actually the genesis of the entire plot of Blood Magic, back when it was just about a brother and sister who could jump bodies, and the proto-Josephine went around stealing other people’s lives. If I could swap bodies, I’d definitely go the bird route—because all of my schemes to acquire magical power have just one goal in mind: flight. It’s a simple dream, but it’s mine.

The Scorpio Races is going to be one of those books where people talk about the setting being its own character—it takes place on Thisby, a pastoral, old-fashioned little island where everybody knows everybody, and it just happens to be the only place the water horses come for breeding and snacks. What drew you to that setting? Was it only an excuse to visit cliffs across half the world? I know you like to do hands-on research, so tell us about The Tea Experiment.

Stiefvater: Oh, you want to know about Benjamin Malvern’s tea. Malvern, a rich landowner, plays bogeyman and mentor in the novel. He’s well traveled—Thisby’s not his first home—and I wanted to hint at that with some exotic habits. I thought an interesting one would be to have him drink his tea in a Tibetan style, with butter and salt. Proper Tibetan Butter Tea requires a bit of work to prepare, and I can assure you, it tastes precisely like drinking a biscuit after you’ve dropped it on the carpet.

And why Thisby? I love miserable bits of rock jutting from the ocean. Call me sentimental. I also love it when it rains.

So, right back at you, Gratton. Your book is set in Yaleylah, which I can only assume is in the same part of the world you live in. I know you love the prairie. Was there ever a time when you thought the book would take place anywhere else?

Gratton: I know that on the East Coast it’s hard to remember that there are differences between Missouri and Kansas, but I promise it’s true. I do live in and love the prairie, and the companion novel to Blood Magic takes place right here in Kansas. But Yaleylah is in the more forested area of Southeastern Missouri on the edges of the Ozarks. I set it there mainly because I couldn’t think of a book I’d read that took place in Missouri other than in St. Louis, and I also drive through Cape Girardeau (the real city very near where I pretend Yaleylah exists) frequently and have camped out in that area. It’s got a flavor that’s part Southern Gothic, part Midwest, so it seemed perfect.

My final question: How did you manage to write a book with no musicians in it?

Stiefvater: An iron will. I never thought it would happen, but it turns out that I can have either musicians or horses in my novels, and The Scorpio Races has plenty of the latter.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:17 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In Yaleylah, Missouri, teens Silla and Nick, drawn together by loss and a shared family history of blood magic practitioners, are plunged into a world of dark magic as they try to unravel the mystery of Silla's parents' apparent murder suicide.

» see all 2 descriptions

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