Series: Yes, #1
UK Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
UK Release date: May 2011
Genre: Urban fantasy
Grieving for the loss of her parents who died in an apparent suicide-murder, Silla receives a mysterious book detailing the magic rituals her father used. Using her own blood as a source of power, Silla discovers her enthusiasm for the magic. When Nicholas moves across the cemetery from her, she discovers a kindred spirit and together they learn the magic together. But they soon realise that someone is out to use the magic for evil and will not leave Silla’s family alone.
Review: For some reason I've only just got around to reading this book, despite buying it months ago. I wasn't disappointed as it's faced paced and exciting, although some bits were really bloody and gruesome!
Blood Magic is told from the dual perspective of 17 year old Silla and, newcomer to her small town, Nicholas. The swapping between their narratives kept the story flowing. Diary extracts from a third perspective, young Josephine who is learning and using magic, were really captivating. We don’t really know who she is, but we see her relationship with magic grow and change into something corrupt, and it is these extracts that add another layer of mystery, interest and intrigue.
Silla is a really interesting character as she is truly hurt and damaged from the death of her parents. We see the interested she used to have, as well as the masks that she 'wears' to convey her thoughts, temper, and feelings. For her this is a huge coping strategy after the death of her parents. Although she feels empty inside she still manages to convey real character and depth, which is why I liked her so much. The fact that she doesn't cling to Nick like a lost puppy is also a positive.
Being new to the area, Nicholas stands out from everyone else like a sore thumb. I like the fact he embraces this and revels in being different. I do like his nickname for his stepmother Mary, whom he affectionately calls Lilith – the name of the demon queen!
The plot was quite simplistic and with the help of some very obvious clues I easily guessed who was behind things. Despite this I still really enjoyed the story because it was so fast paced and exciting.
Having a dislike of blood, I found some details of the magic rituals a little gory. In particular the 'rabbit' scene was bloody and nauseating – personally I feel that this could have been tamed down or left out as I had to skip bits in sympathy of my sensitive stomach. I also find it odd that Silla can’t stand the sight or thought of blood because it reminds her of finding her parents dead covered in blood, yet at the same time she is happy to cut herself open and slather herself in blood. Perhaps this is meant to demonstrate Silla growing and healing thanks to the magic, but it seemed rather discordant to me.
Tessa Gratton’s writing style is wonderful - it's flowing and fluid. Here is certainly a very promising writer that we can expect great things of!