Wednesday, June 15, 2011
REVIEW: Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
For Nick Pardee and Silla Kennicot, the cemetery is the center of everything.
Nick is a city boy angry at being forced to move back to the nowhere town of Yaleylah, Missouri where he grew up. He can’t help remembering his mom and the blood magic she practiced – memories he’s tried for five years to escape. Silla, though, doesn’t want to forget; her parents’ apparent murder-suicide left her numb and needing answers. When a book of magic spells in her dad’s handwriting appears on her doorstep, she sees her chance to unravel the mystery of their deaths.
Together they plunge into the world of dark magic, but when a hundred-year-old blood witch comes hunting for the bones of Silla’s parents and the spell book, Nick and Silla will have to let go of everything they believe about who they are, the nature of life and death, and the deadly secrets that hide in blood.
Here's a book that really surprised me. I wasn't entirely sure what I'd be getting into when I started Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton, but I quickly got wrapped up in the story and the characters and the magic. I've seen it mentioned in other reviews, but Tessa Gratton sure didn't shy away from the almost gory amount of blood or of making difficult choices for her characters.
Blood Magic is told in three parts: a dual narrative between the two main characters, Silla and Nick as well as being interspersed with diary entries from an unknown woman writing from the early 1900s as she explores some of the blood magic we are introduced to by Silla and Nick. I thought the three perspectives worked quite well together and everything seemed to flow quite nicely though there is some minor confusion at the beginning as to the relevance of the diary entries. It all makes sense in the end.
We meet Silla in a cemetery. She's grieving the loss of both her parents. Unable to accept that her dad killed her mom and then himself, she holds onto her belief of his innocence quite tightly. When a mysterious spell book arrives, Silla believes it holds the key to the mystery of what happened to her parents. As she's testing out one of its spells, she comes across Nick, the new boy in town with secrets of his own.
I really loved this book. There's just something about the vulnerability of Silla, the connection that she has with Nick and with her brother Reese. I think the magical aspect of the story is mesmerising, even with the creepy inclusion of all that blood. There's so many different layers to the story, from who is responsible for Silla's parents death, finding out the capabilities and limitations of the magic, the hot romance between Nick and Silla, the strange fragments of Nick's memories growing up with his mother. I really loved trying to guess who the evil villian is and kept being swayed from one person to another along with the characters.
This is a really wonderful book, one in which I didn't want to put down and read in nearly one sitting. Such an exciting and addictive read that I recommend!