Author: Preston Norton
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Published Date: January 2013
Softcover; 256 pages
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
Reviewed by: Shanda
FTC FYI: received a free digital PDF in exchange for an honest review
Born from the ashes of the most fierce and powerful entity in all of Trivaesia, Darla was sent to grow up in the outside world with no knowledge of where she came from. When she finds herself wielding new power, she must decide which part of her will rule her heart—the evil from which she was born or the good by which she was raised.
The first chapter of Blud and Magick pulled me in with great imagery and I enjoyed watching the Sages interact at the meeting that sets the stage for the rest of the story. Their different personalities provided contrast and interest that made me want to learn more about them and their world.
The next chapter jumps forward to just after Darla’s 14th birthday. She is about to start yet another first day at a new school and we get a glimpse into her character before everything in her world changes. The rest of the story, told in Darla’s point-of-view, tells of her struggle to understand the life-changing revelation about who she really is and what her future holds.
After a great start with some intense action, the middle of the book slowed down significantly for me. There were a few inconsistencies in the plot line that had me scratching my head. One is a bit spoilerish so if you want to read it you will need to highlight the following text: Edward tells Cirrus when Darla is eavesdropping that at the Blud and Magick school he will have to act as if he doesn’t know Darla so people will not think Cirrus is “in league” with her because of what they both are. Then, after passing through a portal into the magical world of Trivaesia City in order to shop for magic school–in a familiar Harry Potteresque way–Darla and Cirrus are seen together in public again and again by future schoolmates and townsfolk alike. Wouldn’t the two of them being seen together in the city be just as bad as being seen interacting at the school? Maybe even worse?
In Trivaesia, there are magical creatures of all varieties. One of my favorite characters was a satyr named Azezal Baphomet. I liked his personality, and his unexpected, conflicted history gave him a depth I didn’t quite find in the other characters. I’m not sure if this is the beginning of a series or not. There is some great set up for more fully developing Darla’s potential in the next book, especially with the last minute twist at the end. I had hoped to get at least a few hints about a certain character’s motivations, but there were no answers for me at the end. I’m not sure what point Cirrus and Ash serve in the story so far and I’m assuming their roles will be explained and developed in later installments.
The last part of the book picked up for me again. I appreciated the conflict Darla faced at the end and the suspense as I turned pages. Would she or wouldn’t she? What would happen to her if she did? There were a few unexpected events near the end that mostly made up for the slow middle. I did find myself wishing that several characters and plot points had been a bit more developed. I think this author has a lot to offer the fantasy genre and I hope he continues to grow his writing skills. If this is the first in a series, I would most likely read the next one with the hope that my questions about certain characters will be answered.
I think that readers who enjoy magical adventures in different worlds will like Blud and Magick. The tone felt directed more to an older MG/younger YA audience, and there was very little romance so boys who don’t like “kissing books” might appreciate that aspect of the story.
Violence- a high school student is killed (no details), small amount of gore during a battle
Sex- none; a kiss on a cheek; short commentary on if someone was looking at a boy’s butt
Language- no swearing; the word “piss” is used at least once