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A River of Royal Blood (2019)

by Amanda Joy

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237495,283 (3.89)1
An enthralling debut perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone set in an ancient North African-inspired fantasy world where two sisters must fight to the death to win the crown. Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of blood and marrow--a dark and terrible magick that hasn't been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its last known practitioner was Queen Raina, who toppled the native khimaer royalty and massacred thousands, including her own sister, eight generations ago, thus beginning the Rival Heir tradition. Living in Raina's long and dark shadow, Eva must now face her older sister, Isa, in a battle to the death if she hopes to ascend to the Ivory Throne--because in the Queendom of Myre only the strongest, most ruthless rulers survive. When Eva is attacked by an assassin just weeks before the battle with her sister, she discovers there is more to the attempt on her life than meets the eye--and it isn't just her sister who wants to see her dead. As tensions escalate, Eva is forced to turn to a fey instructor of mythic proportions and a mysterious and handsome khimaer prince for help in growing her magick into something to fear. Because despite the love she still has for her sister, Eva will have to choose: Isa's death or her own. A River of Royal Blood is an enthralling debut set in a lush, ancient North African inspired fantasy world that subtly but powerfully challenges our notions of power, history, and identity.… (more)
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Showing 4 of 4
A really fast, engaging read with a wonderful world and magic system.

I'm sure Eva will resonate with younger readers, but she really annoyed me; always so tentative about her decisions and unwilling to face reality. A lot of stuff happens to her, and others solve her problems for her. A few things are predictable, but I have read a lot of books.

Eva and Isa's relationship was really well done - they were close before being separated by necessity, but Eva still mourns that loss. And Isa's powers and conniving could have been a really interesting foil to Eva's brashness and reluctance to use her powers - unfortunately, it seems like all the exploration of their relationship will be in the next book.

Eva's romance with Aketo seemed to come out of nowhere and is based on nothing more than lust - she has more chemistry with Bacca. ( )
  Elna_McIntosh | Sep 29, 2021 |
Eva is a Rival Heir Princess in the country of Myre. On her 17th nameday, she is to fight her older sister, Isadore to the death to determine who will be the next Queen. The problem is Eva hasn’t been able to truly use her magick of blood and marrow - yet alone master it. After a failed assassination on her life, Eva turns to a fey instructor and a mysterious khimaer prince to assist in mastering her magick. It’s easier said than done when secrets come to the surface that changes the past and Eva’s future. In this first person, fantasy style young adult book, Eva must figure out the key to unlocking her magick within herself in order to survive and find answers.

The world building author Amanda Joy did for this book is incredibly amazing, in depth, and beautifully written. Though, sometimes there was a lot that wasn’t fully told to the reader at the time that I felt like it should have been. I don’t read a lot of fantasy and I know world building is a big part of this genre, but I’m glad I take notes when I write for reviews because I feel like I would miss out or forget a lot of history behind Eva’s life and culture.

We don’t really see a lot of multiple character development as smoothly as we do Eva. Though, the book is written in Eva’s point of view so it’s hard to show others growth. I kind of wish we had more for other characters as a lot was left unsaid or unaddressed.

I did find out this is book one of a series currently being written and I’m still stoked to read the second book. This first book is definitely setting things up for a lot more action to happen in the sequel(s). The plot itself in this book was slow, for a good reason because, like I mentioned before, there’s a lot of world building that needs to be addressed. After the first couple of chapters, the tempo slowed down and didn’t really pick fully back up again until the last 50 pages. But those last 50 pages are what made me like the book as much as I have. ( )
  oldandnewbooksmell | Sep 24, 2021 |
I received the first chapters of this one through Netgalley. So, I'm only giving my thoughts on the first part of this one.

This is definitely a richly, well-written book, and from the literary end, very well done. The world building pulled in right away and really let me sink into the surroundings. That was a treat. From the beginning plot side, it held lots of promise that there will be all sorts of intrigue, secrets, struggles, character arc and such coming up. And despite all of this goodness, I can't say that I was driven to keep reading it, either, and won't be picking it up.

While the world building is absolutely terrific, I simply didn't feel drawn into the characters. It wasn't that there wasn't a bit of depth, and the happenings did build a bit of sympathy...but for some reason, the princess remained an arm length's away. Even the happenings drove forward, and while it built tension, it didn't completely make me care. When I laid the book down, it could stay down. And that's not a great sign. ( )
  tdrecker | Dec 31, 2020 |
WOW!

From beginning to end this book is a fast paced, action packed story of how far sibling rivalry can really go. The book also contains a unique magic system with different types of magick that has different traits & levels of danger for each. Each of the characters are well thought out even if they aren't a 'main' character you can still tell that the author has outlined some kind of background for each of them, then causing the reader to be even more invested in them all (or at least in my case).

The only reason I can't give this book 5 stars is because of the ending. I feel on the one hand the book could have easily been longer but on the other it hasn't really effected my whole opinion of the book as I still want the sequel like now!

Overall an awesome debut book for readers of all ages! ( )
  kymisan | Jun 25, 2020 |
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To Kiki and Madge, who never once stopped believing
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Asim had never known a spell of Harkening to last this long.
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An enthralling debut perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone set in an ancient North African-inspired fantasy world where two sisters must fight to the death to win the crown. Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of blood and marrow--a dark and terrible magick that hasn't been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its last known practitioner was Queen Raina, who toppled the native khimaer royalty and massacred thousands, including her own sister, eight generations ago, thus beginning the Rival Heir tradition. Living in Raina's long and dark shadow, Eva must now face her older sister, Isa, in a battle to the death if she hopes to ascend to the Ivory Throne--because in the Queendom of Myre only the strongest, most ruthless rulers survive. When Eva is attacked by an assassin just weeks before the battle with her sister, she discovers there is more to the attempt on her life than meets the eye--and it isn't just her sister who wants to see her dead. As tensions escalate, Eva is forced to turn to a fey instructor of mythic proportions and a mysterious and handsome khimaer prince for help in growing her magick into something to fear. Because despite the love she still has for her sister, Eva will have to choose: Isa's death or her own. A River of Royal Blood is an enthralling debut set in a lush, ancient North African inspired fantasy world that subtly but powerfully challenges our notions of power, history, and identity.

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