Review Detail

 
The Blood Spell Featured
Young Adult Fiction
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0

A Classic Retold

Based loosely on the tale of Cinderella, The Blood Spell is the fourth standalone installment for the Ravenspire series of fairytale retellings.

On the surface, this book is in the same vein as many a dark YA fantasy. The magic system involves fae, wands, and transmutation; with a refreshingly hefty emphasis on the alchemical. On deeper levels, the story explores themes of grief, guilt, self-sacrifice, negative coping mechanisms, abuse, healing… and even touches on aspects of PTSD and suicidal ideation.

This version of Cinderella bears about as much resemblance to the original tale as Redwine’s Snow White retelling. Which is to say… not much resemblance at all. You still get a few key elements—grand ball, glass slippers, mice and pumpkin transfigurations toward the end—but the rest of the content is heavily original. Much like with her take on Snow White, this heroine has a lot more agency than her original namesake. And Kellan (a.k.a Prince Charming) IS indeed charming… but it’s all a diplomatic façade.

It cannot be said that Redwine doesn’t offer a wide variety in her heroines. While not a fighter like Lorelei from The Shadow Queen or Sajda from The Traitor Prince, Blue holds her own in her own way. I don’t think I’ll remember her as one of my favorites from the Ravenspire series. She spent too much of the first 1/3rd of the story a little too sanctimonious and irritatingly judgmental for my tastes. I often felt sorry for her more than I was able to like her. But thankfully she did show a significant amount of character growth and adaptability by the end. I did, however, relate to Blue’s sleep ethic:

“Blue didn’t know what it took to wake up at dawn and be cheerful about it, but whatever it was, she didn’t have it.”

This reader is a big fan of a slow burn romance, particularly a rivals-to-friends-to-lovers transition. The Blood Spell handles this romantic aspect incredibly well—helped by the fact that the hero and heroine have known each other their entire lives. That pre-established relationship, which then undergoes a few massive redefining moments of empathy and revelation, makes for some truly organic feeling chemistry.

At times, the worldbuilding felt a touch contrived. While it helps to have read a few others in this series to get a feel for the range of magical influences across kingdoms, there were still a number of times that supranatural things occurred without prior allusion to them being possible.
Note: I mean this largely in regard to the Blood Wraith and its abilities—as the alchemy side of things was given a good bit of example and foreshadowing. When Hansel and Gretel put in a welcome appearance (and when do we get THEIR story, by the way?!) I expected their expertise to lend more insight to the Wraith’s strengths, weaknesses, and limitations. But their knowledge and advice didn’t seem to add quite enough to the equation. And sadly, the mysterious siblings don’t make a reappearance.

Readers will likely appreciate how well rounded most of the peripheral characters end up feeling. A solid investment is made into fleshing out Blue’s father and grandmother, Kellan’s mother, and even some of Kellan’s would-be bride options. Princess Nessa, Kellan’s mute-yet-sassy younger sister, was easily my favorite side character addition. I sincerely hope she will get her own book or novella at some point in the future.

If you’re a fan of inventive retellings, triumph after tragedy, and snappy verbal sparring between love interests, The Blood Spell may be right up your alley.

Was this review helpful to you? 

Comments

 
 
Ordering 
 
Already have an account? or Create an account
 
 
 
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Unicorns Are Real! (Mythical Creatures Are Real!)
Stardust and glitter and rainbows, oh my! Did you know...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
This Is Not a Love Scene
Lights, camera―all Maeve needs is action. But at eighteen, a...
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc
Bestselling author David Elliott explores how Joan of Arc...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dragons Are Real! (Mythical Creatures Are Real!)
Moonlight and courage and sparks, oh my! That's what dragons...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe
Who do you become when you have nothing left...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Leaving Jackson Wolf
Passing through the transition hallway at South Park High...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Once & Future (Once & Future, #1)
King Arthur as you've never imagined! This bold, sizzling...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Tuned Into You
A summer party is the last place Lydia Flowers...
 
3.8
 
0.0 (0)
Beware the Night (Beware the Night, #1)
When her world divides, pitting light against dark, Veda...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
controlfreak_wordart (wecompress.com).png
He actually gets the girl in this story. His perfect...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Soul of Power (The Waking Land, #3)
One young woman learns the true nature of power—both her...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Oath Taker
Light magic is forbidden. Dark magic spells death....
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Twisted Saga Collection 1
Save almost 40% off the price of the single books...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Sin Soldiers Cover
Red compound makes them angry. Yellow exhausts them. Blue drives...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Hunter's Truce
The Big Bad Wolf never killed for fun—he was on...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lions and Lamps
Aladdin-meets-steampunk in this brand-new retelling from K.M. Robinson ...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Unicorns Are Real! (Mythical Creatures Are Real!)
 
4.0
"UNICORNS ARE REAL! is a bright, colorful, and cute book about unicorns. The images really leap off the page with..."
Dragons Are Real! (Mythical Creatures Are Real!)
 
5.0
"This adorable board book brings dragons to life in a very fun way with bright and vivid images and cute..."
Dragonfell
 
4.0
"DRAGONFELL is a fun middle grade that addresses being different and not fitting in easily in the context of a..."
Hurricane Season
 
5.0
"HURRICANE SEASON is a powerful middle grade novel that deals with some really important issues. Finola (nicknamed Fig) is in..."
So Many Sounds
 
5.0
"So Many Sounds is a fun bedtime story that will surly engage the child who doesn’t want to sleep, and..."
Gittel's Journey: An Ellis Island Story
 
5.0
"Gittel’s Journey tells the story of a brave young Jewish girl immigrating to the United States from Easter Europe, all..."
The Flight of Mr. Finch
 
5.0
"The Flight of Mr. Finch is a sweet story about the power of friendship and the importance of self-sacrifice. Lovely..."
Dragons in a Bag (Dragons in a  Bag, # 1)
 
4.0
"Dragons in a Bag is a whimsical, moving, and magical tale. Perfectly tailored to it’s intended audience, Dragons In a..."
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair
 
4.0
"Set somewhere around a year after the events of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Eustace Scrubb remains much better..."
Are You Ready to Hatch An Unusual Chicken? (Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer #2)
 
5.0
"Are You Ready To Hatch An Unusual Chicken? is a delightful follow-up to Kelly Jones's Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional..."
Frankfurt
 
3.0
"What I Loved: -The adorable Frankfurt- What this picture book does best is offer a truly adorable and humorous dog..."
Clifford the Big Red Dog
 
5.0
"CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG is a classic for a reason- the images are full of fun and the text..."
Autumn Babies (Babies in the Park)
 
4.0
"This cute board book features children playing in the park during the fall. With vivid autumn colors and two word..."
Stick Cat: Two Cats and a Baby (#4)
 
5.0
"Life is good for Stick Cat and Edith now that their owners Goose and Tiffany have married. Stick Cat enjoys..."
Bird and Squirrel All Tangled Up
 
4.5
" Red, Squirrel, and Birdie are a happy family, but Squirrel is very anxious about letting Birdie do anything at..."
8 Notes to a Nobody (Bird Face book one)
 
5.0
"This is the first book in Cynthia T. Toney’s Birdface series which follows Wendy, a young Louisiana teen, through her..."
The Other Side of Freedom
 
5.0
"I knew of Toney’s flawless ability to write from a modern teenage girl’s perspective, so was curious when I heard..."
Winter Babies (Babies in the Park)
 
4.0
"This board book features lovely photos alongside short phrases that describe winter in the park. While very brief and with..."
8 Notes to a Nobody (Bird Face book one)
 
5.0
"The main character, Wendy, is realistic and sympathetically portrayed, so much so that the book drew me in and transported..."
The Other Side of Freedom
 
5.0
"This stellar novel spotlights the trials of Italian immigrants during the era of Prohibition. I'd heard of Al Capone and..."