Thursday, June 02, 2011

Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton

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.

I'm not a big fan of multiple points of view, but I thought this was a perfect example of how it can be essential to telling a story. Each viewpoint, even the journal entries, moved the story forward with necessary information. The voices could have been a little more distinctive, but still, very well done. Also, the author did a good job regarding Lilith and Ms. Tripp.

The romance felt genuine with none of the weepy love stuff. Their strong attraction is clear from the start, and it grows in a realistic way. I also loved the interaction between Reese and Nick, and Nick's reactions to Silla's tears. Very authentic.

That said, I didn't buy the harshness that the other kids showed Silla after the Wendy fiasco. If anything, people would be telling Wendy that she's catching Silla's crazy virus. I also got really irritated with the convenient withholding of information. That makes the tension feel contrived. Though, I am glad that most of it got resolved in a few pages as opposed to half the book. :)

The Reese at the end was over the top for me. Not only was it way too harsh on Silla, it also felt like a contrived way to get Reese where the author wants him to be. I think that could have been handled better.

I really liked the Philip/Josephine thing, though, and what Philip did in order to escape her. It made the plot extra complicated, which I love. Even though we knew there was a connection, it was practically impossible to guess.

Regarding Josephine, though, her motivations weren't clear regarding a number of things. Why did she want the spell book so badly? Why wouldn't she just commit murder right off the bat in order to get what she wants (especially since that seems to be her character)? And, why would she wait so long to retrieve the main ingredient in her precious carmot? It felt like a contrived way to create conflict, because she's clearly smart enough and powerful enough to get what she wants in an easier fashion.

I really enjoyed the beginning of this book, but then all the plot holes (and the weird, zombie animals) brought it down a notch. I still like the characters, so I'll read the next book. But I do hope the plot is tighter. :)


Natalie Aguirre said...

I just won this in a contest and am looking forward to reading it. I'll keep your comments in mind as I read and see if I agree.

Tabitha said...

I hope you'll come back and share! I'm always looking to see if I missed something... :)

khashway said...

Interesting. I just read another review of this and the reviewer focused solely on characterization. It's good to hear more about the plot. Thanks.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I haven't heard of this book but it sounds interesting. Thanks. There are just too many books out there begging to be read. :)

Mflick1 said...

Thanks for the review and the warning about the "holes". But it sounds like a great story line.

Christina Farley said...

Intersting write up. I also get frustrated when it feels like the author is withholding information from me.