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Review: Blood Magic

Blood Magic is the debut novel for author Tessa Gratton. It will be releasing in the U.S. on May 24, 2011 in hardcover, library binding and eBook formats.

It is currently available for pre-order online at Amazon in all formats and at Barnes & Noble in hardcover and library binding formats only.

Published by Random House Books for Young Readers the hardcover edition is 416 pages.

Blood Magic is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com.

Goodreads 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.

***

If she hadn’t opened that journal everything that transpired would never have been and she wouldn’t feel the pain of loss as deeply as she now feels it.

But if she hadn’t opened the journal she might never have met Nicholas Pardee who knows the girl she is behind the masks she wears.

And if she hadn’t opened that journal she might have never been able to find answers to the questions about her father’s last few moments. Those moments when her world was shattered – where she was shattered when he supposedly took her mother’s life and his own.

But she never really believed in his guilt. That he would leave her and her brother Reese alone.

So, if the journal was right, the only price she would have to pay to get her answers, the only sacrifice she would have to make in order to tap into the magic within, is a small about of blood.

To be able to feel the tingle of the magic coursing through her and to see what just a little blood and a few words can bring to life makes this price inconsequential. The pain of a cut is nothing compared to the pain and emptiness that come with losing someone.

But what the journal doesn’t mention is that there may be a larger price to pay. When dealing with a magic so powerful, there just may be someone who wants that magic for themself.

***

Blood Magic is a truly one-of-a-kind, mesmerizing and superbly written debut novel by author Tessa Gratton. For a novel with such a dark premise there is just such beauty in the words that flow across the page.

The writing is so mellifluous it is easy to get lost within the magic of the story only to be reminded by the author that this is not a joyous tale of innocence and love and sunshine and rainbows, but one of dark magic, sacrifice, pain and heartbreak. And it is not a story for the squeamish – the blood, in all its inky blackness or vivid redness, does flow.

But Blood Magic is absolute poetry. The story is dark and troubling and beautiful and gruesome and will hypnotize you from the very first line.

I am Josephine Darly and I intend to live forever.

Silla Kennicot is a troubled young girl who is just trying to survive the loss of both parents, from a brutal murder-suicide, when she meets Nicholas Pardee, who is also suffering and who has been uprooted from his life in Chicago to move to the home his grandfather left to him in Yaleylah, Missouri.

Silla has coped by seeking escape through her acting and by putting on her masks to protect herself from the outside world. But when she receives a journal from a mysterious man who calls himself “the Deacon” that appears to be written by her father, she is immediately curious to test the spells within in an attempt to find answers and to reconnect with her dad.

Nicholas Pardee is also looking for answers. He wants to find out what made his mother abandon him and wants to know just what happened to him when he and his mother were staying at his grandfather’s during his childhood – a fuzzy time that he can’t seem to remember.

He is a witness to Silla’s first attempt with the blood magic in the cemetery where her parents are buried, and feels drawn to her and somehow connected to the magic. And when they meet, Nicholas is able to see right through her disguise and really see her, his cemetery girl.

Blood Magic is told from both Silla and Nick’s perspectives, interspersed with the journal entries from Josephine Darly. As the story unfolds we learn who she is, how her story relates to that of Silla and Nick, and how the blood magic connects them all.

This story is an absolute must read – unless you are really and truly terrified by bloodletting – and if you are, just read really quickly over those passages. This is one you do not want to miss.

Reviewer gives this book [rating=6]. Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

On a personal note:

I finished reading Blood Magic and I am still spellbound. This book was just so dark and so unexpected that I’ve been at a loss for words and it’s taken me far longer than normal to write up my review.

This review was supposed to be up last night and I should have been reading something from my reading pile, but I just couldn’t. This story has still got a hold of my brain and refuses to let go.

It’s just so freaking awesome. Stunning. Beautiful. Violent. Creepy. Gorgeous. Disturbing.

And I already miss Silla and Nick. And I have so many more questions (which I can’t post here or it would completely spoil everything).

I haven’t really read any books which focus on blood magic like this one does, so have little to compare it to. This is not a horror story, although there are touches of the macabre throughout. The magic is sometimes light and sometimes dark and our two main characters have only begun to explore its depths.

I’m glad to hear of a companion novel as there is just so much more I want to know. But I look forward to reading anything this author has to offer! Super cool.

There are too many beautiful passages so I’m just picking the very first one:

Dusk washed the cemetery of shadows, lending it a quality of between-ness: neither day nor night, but a gray, teary moment.

***

The companion novel to Blood Magic entitled The Blood Keeper will be released in summer 2012.

To read an excerpt from the publisher’s website, click here.

This early review is based upon an ARC I received through a trade.

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