Book Review | Blood Heir

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Blood Heir (Blood Heir Trilogy, #1)

Author: Amélie Wen Zhao

Format: Hardcover (owned)

Pages: 464

Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult

In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls. 

When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue.

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all. 

The last book I read in 2019 was Blood Heir, but I didn’t write the review in 2019. 😅 I was getting ready to ring in the New Year! Haha – but I digress.

This book had some controversy, but the author made some changes and released the book at a later date. Since I didn’t read the arc, I don’t know what changes have been made but let’s dig into my review.

Princess Anastacya’s parents are dead and her brother is now on the throne. As a young girl, she was framed for the murder of her father and fled the palace, ending up on the run searching for a criminal who could help her find her father’s true murderer.

On this quest to find the culprit, she learns a few truths about the empire she loved. Her father’s empire had a dirty secret, one deep in the practice of human trafficking. With eyes wide open she plans to catch her father’s murderer and change the empire’s ways – but another secret threatens to bring all her plans down.

  • The cover of this book drew me in right away. I mean that girl on the cover looks fierce!
  • This story has Anastasia Romanov vibes, set in a place similar to Russia when describing the landscape and the use of the language, not that I can speak Russian. And the princess’ name is Anastacya! Similar, no? The world building is lush, I was drawn into this cold landscape of the Cyrilian Empire.
  • The beginning of this book is awesome, there is danger, suspense and so much action! Loved meeting Ransom who is this notorious underground criminal with connections everywhere. He has a shady past, a shadier present and so much charm! I think Ransom and Ana’s relationship was great with their rough beginning and then later on relying on each other. But Ransom’s charm was infectious and Ana needed that in her life.
  • The subject of human trafficking is heavy but very relatable to this day and age. There are some truly sad parts especially when it comes to Ana and her bond with a young girl,May, who was once trafficked. Ana sees more living outside of the palace which is a good thing – it makes her want to change things for people who are oppressed.
  • The magic in the book is one that people are born with and they are called Affinites. Affinites have an affinity – such as Ana is a Blood Affinite, she can control blood in people! There are so many different types: flesh, earth, wind, and more. Affinites are looked down upon in the Cyrilian Empire and are enslaved, trafficked and treated poorly.
  • I enjoyed the twist in the story – I didn’t see that coming.
  • The beginning was so good but I think I had some trouble with the pacing. I thought from the beginning I was going to read the book in one sitting. I finished it in three days. Ransom and Ana had chemistry in the beginning…then I don’t know where it went. Talk about a slow burn!
  • As much as I adore a story set in a place similar to Russia and it’s history, I feel like after Grisha-verse, it’s starting to become over done. I just can’t help comparing. Totally different stories, but the setting, the language. Just all so similar. 🤷🏻‍♀️
  • Triggers: blood, violence, human trafficking, death

I was really sucked into this world of Affinites, especially in the beginning of the book but my interest waned a little in the middle of the story. There is a twist in the latter half of the story which I did enjoy. I like how Princess Ana sees the truth about the human trafficking in her empire and tries her best to change things around. It was the silver lining to her fleeing the palace, she got to experience life outside of it and see how the real people lived. The ending isn’t a happy one, it’s a trilogy so the fight for what’s right will continue in book two and three. Blood Heir is a strong debut, but I will definitely have to be in the mood though to pick up the sequel.

3 thoughts on “Book Review | Blood Heir

  1. Great review, Yolanda! I’m really curious about this book especially after knowing the whole controversy surrounding it. It does get stale when settings and themes continue to be the same in certain genres, but this still sounds unique. Will definitely check it out!

    Liked by 1 person

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