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.
I received this book as an ARC through a swap and so minor changes that change things that I have mentioned may apply.
I have been excited about this book since I first heard about it and so when I found it on Read It, Swap It, I had to request it and I was so glad when I saw it went through. I received it about five days ago and finally got to it today! I read it in around four hours. I'm going to be very careful because it will be very easy to spoil the plot...
This book is actually great. The first chapter throws the reader straight into the action, with Silla performing magic straight away which means that book instantly grabs the reader. There isn't a few chapters of the author trying to establish the characters and the story, that happens naturally while the story unfolds. The pacing for the rest of the story is great as well, there is barely any slow moments and where the story does get a little boring, it picks up just as fast so it doesn't feel like you're forcing yourself through it.
The story is told in switch POV, with it switching between Silla and Nick sometimes after only a few paragraphs, there are also diary excerpts from a character that I won't tell you about in fear of spoilers. The switch of POV's is smooth at most points but at some points it can seem a bit erratic and can disrupt the story, as well as this, sometimes I couldn't tell the difference between the narration and had to flick back to see who it is, which sort of ruined it a little.
The story is quite original, and some of the blood scenes made me cringe (but I'm very squeamish so don't let that put you off). I loved the way that Gratton told the story and managed to weave in so many characters and time frames. I have to say that at some points I could predict what was going to happen and I guessed who the bad guy was from the beginning, as well as some of the other bi twists, though it didn't really ruin it for me.
The romantic element is well written and really convincingly displays how they come to care about each other, the switch POV also helped me get a grasp on the characters feelings. I loved how Silla and Nick cared about eachother, it was absolutely fantastically written. I came to care about Silla, Nick and Reese a lot, but I didn't really like any of the other characters, I don't know if this is what Gratton was going for but it bothered me a little.
This book is a great debut and the story is well written. I liked the main characters but some narration and predictability issues drag it down.
Overall rating: B
Stand alone/series: First in a series
Paperback Release: July 7th 2011 (Paperback)
Publisher: Doubleday Childrens
Pages: 405 (ARC) 416 (Trade)
Book obtained via: Swap