Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Review: Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton

It starts off simply.

Draw a circle... place a dead leaf in the center... sprinkle some salt... recite a little Latin... add a drop of blood...

Maybe that last part isn’t exactly simple. Yet somehow it feels right to Silla Kennicott. And nothing in her life has felt remotely right since her parents’ horrific deaths. She’s willing to do anything to uncover the truth about her family—even try a few spells from the mysterious book that arrived on her doorstep ... and spill some blood.

The book isn’t the only recent arrival in Silla’s life. There’s Nick Pardee, the new guy next door who may have seen Silla casting a spell. She’s not sure what he saw and is afraid to find out. But as they spend more time together, Silla realizes this may not be Nick’s first encounter with Blood Magic. Brought together by a combination of fate and chemistry, Silla and Nick can’t deny their attraction. And they can’t ignore the dark presence lurking nearby—waiting to reclaim the book and all its power.

Hardcover, 405 pages

Published May 24th 2011 by Random House Books for Young Readers 
(summary grabbed from GoodReads)

I have a strange love of the sick and twisted.  Seriously.  I am totally squeamish, but I can't stop myself from reading things that make me squirm.  Blood Magic satisfied that wacked-out side to me.  And, you see, it would be easier for me (to cope) if I didn't like the book.  I feel kind of icky for liking it and I don't even want to start going into what it says about me that I enjoy this stuff. 

Actual review times now: first thing I want to say about Blood Magic (other than it being creepy) is that it is another book with an inability to stick with one perspective.  Very rarely do I ever think that alternating POVs is a good thing for a book, and Blood Magic falls into the big vat of books that would have benefited from sticking to one main perspective.  The biggest problem with the alternating between Silla and Nicholas was that it was disorienting to read, with the lesser problem being that the characters inner monologues bled into each other.  What I mean is, the perspective changed, but the voice of the character did not change to a degree that merited that they get their own part in the story telling.  Which brings me to my next point:

Silla was an interesting character.  She was over dramatic with her language (which made sense because she was the former president of the drama club), a little crazy, and a little dead inside since the deaths of her parents.  But I felt the story would have benefitted from being told with third person limited as opposed to first person switching between Nicholas and Silla.  It would have been less disorienting, as you wouldn’t need to change character every other paragraph, and Silla would have seemed more bizarre (and thus more interesting).  By being in Silla’s head, she rationalizes her actions while doing them, while if the reader was looking from outside the character, Silla would have been a bit more crazy.  I think it would have added to the book since the author was attempting to make super-creepy-deliciousness, but those are just my thoughts.  But at the same time, the changing POVs were done in a way that was almost artistic at times, so I feel like I can’t completely knock it.  However, I still stand by what I said previously: it was confusing and could have been better.

I would definitely not recommend Blood Magic to anyone younger than ...I don't know, I'm not good with ages.  There are a lot of adult... things.  Like this weird, oddly sexual master-captor relationship between the diary-girl-lab-assistant and Dr. Philip -- which by the way, I loved.  I think I could read a whole book just around them instead of just a chapter thrown in here and there, but I don't suspect it would be in the young adult section.  Actually, I loved how Tessa Gratton wrapped Josie’s journal into the main story in the end.  In the beginning it added a back story to the magic but you didn’t quite see how it related to the plot, and you gradually see how things are fitting together throughout the book and culminate in the finale.  Bravo!

If you have a love for the creepy and messed up, I recommend this book -- but with a few warnings: 

1.      There are animal sacrifices. 
Spoiler(?) (highlight to see)
animal death list:

-a kitten (and mome raths happen to love kittens)

-a rabbit

-a whole forest of animals including multiples of:





-other woodland creatures, I assume.

The forest of critters was kind of a group thing and was not as horrific to read as the first two, but I thought I’d include it just in case someone has a specific affinity to one of the animals mentioned.  Just know that it happens.

2.      There's also a lot of blood obviously, but I think more people (including myself) would appreciate a warning about #1.  So go back and make sure for certain you read warning #1.

I liked Blood Magic in the same way I like Law and Order: SVU -- it’s disturbing and sickening and I don’t like to broadcast that I like it.  Good thing I blog under a pseudonym.  This is a book that is definitely not for everyone. 

Final Thought: 15 out of 19 toadstools

This review is also on GoodReads!



    Okay, calming down...

    I'd heard of this book, but didn't know it was so twisted. Sounds cool still. :)

    1. LAWLZ. Thanks! I didn't know how to do anything fancy with HTML so... yeah that's how I made it work lol.

  2. Oooooh I love the idea of being able to highlight spoilers! :D
    As someone who'se *kind of* addicted to Law and Order SVU, I'm probably going to have to check this book out soon, but it's too bad about the dual POVS. I'm not crazy about them either, although on RARE occasions, they're done very well.
    Great review! I love learning about slightly creepy and twisted books!

    1. Thanks! I don't really get why multiple POVs are so popular right now. I guess a lot of people other than the two of us like them.