Book Review | Bloodleaf

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Bloodleaf

Author: Crystal Smith

Format: Hard cover (borrowed)

Pages: 373

Categories: Witchcraft, Magic, Romance, Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Political Intrigue

Princess Aurelia is a prisoner to her crown and the heir that nobody wants. Surrounded by spirits and banned from using her blood-magic, Aurelia flees her country after a devastating assassination attempt. To escape her fate, Aurelia disguises herself as a commoner in a new land and discovers a happiness her crown has never allowed. As she forges new bonds and perfects her magic, she begins to fall for a man who is forbidden to rule beside her. But the ghosts that haunt Aurelia refuse to abandon her, and she finds herself succumbing to their call as they expose a nefarious plot that only she can defeat. Will she be forced to choose between the weight of the crown and the freedom of her new life? 

Confession: I had other books in my TBR pile, but saw this at the library and the cover is so pretty I read this book instead of the others. I am a sucker for a pretty cover! 🤷🏻‍♀️

This is another young adult fantasy book with a princess, set to wed a prince and then plans change. Sounds familiar? Sure does since it’s a popular trope right now in YA fantasy books. But there are a few different things in this story that kept me intrigued and reading.

Aurelia is a princess of Renalt. Renalt is a witch-burning, scared-of-magic kind of kingdom. Her mother is the Queen but the Tribunal wants to take over the country. So Aurelia and her brother, Prince Conrad flee to the neighboring kingdom, Archlev, with Toris, a man who is part of the Tribunal but claims loyalty to the crown. Archlev, is the home of her betrothed, Prince Valentin and their marriage is supposed to unite their countries but plans change.

Away from home in a new place and no connections, Aurelia has help from a young man named Zan. Zan helps her learn what he knows about being a blood mage because he needs to keep the walls of Archlev from collapsing and letting invaders in (basically Renalt invaders). Only a blood mage can keep the wall up and he sees that Aurelia is a blood mage. They eventually find out that there is someone in secret, with lots of power, who is attempting to destroy the wall, but who?

This story is filled with lore about how the kingdoms of Archlev and Renalt came to be and that’s what made me continue reading it. I liked the spell casting and the story of Aren, Archlev and Cael, a brother/sister triumvirate who’s actions long ago created the situation the people of these kingdoms find themselves in today. I liked learning about how bloodleaf came to be and the power of it. I loved how Aurelia could see ghost or spirits. Also the romance storyline was obvious from the beginning, but I kind of liked it because they didn’t hit it off right away. Also there is action, especially in the latter part of this book.

Now let’s talk about Miss Princess Aurelia. If there was one thing halting my enjoyment of this book in the first few chapters…it’s her! As a character, she’s headstrong, impulsive, and judgmental. She was so naive and I couldn’t connect to her right away. Some of her decisions were questionable, I wanted to shake some sense into her! But at least by the end of the book, she’s learned a few things about what love and sacrifice means. Unfortunately she had to learn these things through the hard way, with the loss of people she cares about. But I know Aurelia was just someone who was just lost herself and alone because she grew up thinking no one wanted her in Renalt. The thing I did like about her was that she could see spirits and know their back story, some of them were just so sad. 😢

I didn’t realize this was a Goose Girl retelling and honestly, I don’t remember the Goose Girl story. 🤦🏻‍♀️ The story of the bloodleaf, Aren and her brothers, the story of sacrifice and the spirits’ backstories really got me through this book when Princess Aurelia was making me roll my eyes. 😂

Overall, for me, it was a pretty good debut and I’m curious to see where the story goes in the next installment.

Get it here: Amazon

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2 thoughts on “Book Review | Bloodleaf

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