Wednesday, 4 May 2011
Review: Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
Title: Blood Magic
Series: Blood Journals
Author: Tessa Gratton
Publisher: Doubleday Children's
Publication Date: 7 July 2011
Synopsis: From Amazon
The murder of her parents has left Silla damaged and lost, and Silla's insistence that her father is not to blame only alienates her further from her friends and family. When a mysterious spell book arrives, Silla hopes it will lead to some answers about her parents' killer. In her first attempt at magic, in an old graveyard near her home, Nick, the new boy in town spies on her; he recognizes the magic that Silla is performing as the same magic his mother performed with him, before she went mad.
Before long, Silla and Nick connect, though Nick is unwilling to share his history with blood magic with Silla. When Silla's friends start showing signs of possession, Silla, Nick and Silla's brother, Reese, must contend with a deadly, immortal woman who will stop at nothing to take the book of spells from them.
I was a little apprehensive about this book - why you ask - because I am so squeamish and hate the sight of blood. Remember I have a technicolour imagination so gory stuff really does come alive for me. I was assured by the lovely ladies at Random House that I would be fine.
The beginning is very bold and dramatic with incredible use of white space. Sucking you into the story. Written in first person narrative with alternating perspectives of Silla and Nicholas. There is a multi-layered plot with the two of them at the centre, everything else revolves around them. Although I have to mention that using the word blood and Silla's full name (Drusilla) immediately had me thinking of Buffy. The way in which events paralleled between Nicholas and Silla added to their relationship as well as developing the plot.
Be warned there are shocking revelations, double the mysteries and a multi-layered plot. It takes some serious writing skill to pull this story off, Tessa Gratton accomplishes this with ease.
All of the characters are interesting in their own right, with complex personalities, shaped by events to a degree. The portrayal of the archetypal wicked stepmother, even down to the biblical nickname that Nicholas gave her, added an air of humour to the prose, lightening the mood in places and providing an alternative villain to keep you guessing. Red herrings and misdirection abound, I found myself constantly double guessing myself and covering all the bases lol. The tiny illustrations on the pages take on a whole new meaning as the story unfolds.
The introduction of diary extracts and later letters containing details of the past and circumstances that have culminated in the present situation. Differentiated by italic and font, not only do they draw the eye but they really add depth and understanding to the plot.
The writing style is opulently descriptive encompassing all the senses (not good for me when there is blood involved *faints*). I especially liked the description/analogue of emotions being like masks defined by their colour, shape and decoration. Something we can all probably relate to - wearing a mask to cover our emotions - at some time or another.
I found myself sniggering at the use of NARKOTIKA as the name of a band featured in the story. How totally brilliant is that. Alongside the literary/theatre references the round out the plot beautifully.
As the story progressed I found myself wondering at the amount of power that can be tapped into, would it corrupt them. You have to have a certain amount of inner strength to resist the temptation of eternal life. Silla and Nicholas support each other, the chemistry between almost set the book on fire [ : D ] yet you have the feeling that the connection goes beyond that. I have to admit that as I was reading Einstein's theory of relativity kept crossing my mind - for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction - for life there has to be death.
Although I did enjoy the book, there was a large amount of descriptions about blood *shudders* and I have to say I did not like one really significant part of the book, it made me too sad even though the portrayal and reasoning was impeccable. This book really is something different; I recommend you read it for yourself and not be a pansy about blood like me [ : D ]