Review: Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith

Title: Bloodleaf (Bloodleaf #1)
Author: Crystal Smith
Genre: Fantasy, Retelling
Source: HMH Books via NetGalley
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 12th 2019

Aurelia is a princess, but they call her a witch. Surrounded by spirits and burdened with forbidden magic, she lives in constant fear of discovery by the witch-hunting Tribunal and their bloodthirsty mobs. When a devastating assassination attempt reveals her magical abilities, Aurelia is forced to flee her country with nothing but her life. Alone and adrift in an enemy kingdom, Aurelia plans her revenge against the Tribunal, desperate to bring down the dark organization that has wrought terror upon her people for hundreds of years. But there's something deeply amiss in her new home, too, and soon she finds herself swept into a deadly new mystery with a secretive prince, the ghost of an ancient queen, and a poison vine called Bloodleaf. Aurelia is entangled in a centuries-long game of love, power, and war, and if she can't break free before the Tribunal makes its last move, she may lose far more than her crown.

Hi, hello and happy what ever day it is at this point. I’ve lost track since I’ve stayed up late into the nights to finish books. My story with Bloodleaf begins in fall of 2018 when I was first approved for a copy of it. I devoured this magical and beautiful novel in a matter of hours. My boyfriend, who wasn’t yet my boyfriend asked me what I was reading and I recounted this story to him with so much love and fascination that I’m sure I created the world for him without him even reading it. I never wrote my review, I got distracted and then I simply didn’t feel I could write the review months later. Fast forward to February 2019, a month before publication I decided to dive into this world for the second time and adored it even more then the first. As life gets hectic and busy, I was working full time, going to school full time and managing to find to spend with the boy who asked me about this book several months prior, who was now my boyfriend. I never got around the writing that review the second time. Now we are in April of 2020 and I’ve read Bloodleaf for the third time to prepare for Greythorne which I received a copy of. My love for this book hasn’t changed and I’m finally to share that love with all of you.

Crystal created an intricate world of magic, deception and sacrifice that will stay with you long after you read the last line. I don’t even know where to start with my thoughts and feelings. For length purposes and because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone I’m not going to recount the story in my own words like I typically do. The actually summary does it quite well.

Aurelia’s story is told in a single point of view, which is hers. I think the story benefited from hearing this journey from her perspective, especially since the journey was one of her own. Learning to hone and understand her magic, learning the history of a foreign country that was bent and twisted in her home country of Renalt, learning the deception she and her country has faced and the unexpected alliances she made along the way.

Aurelia’s character is one I admire because of her strength and resilience. There was so many times she could have bent to those who were out to get her and she put up a fight every single time. She walked into a country she barley knew, with a name that wasn’t hers but a memorial to the girl who sacrificed her life for her. She made an uneasy alliance at first that blossomed into something so much more and honed her magic. Aurelia finally learned to true secrets of her past, the ghost that has followed her her entire life and the significance of that. But never in all that wrongness did Aurelia loose her compassion or empathy for people and those she loves.

Though the romance wasn’t my favorite, I did still enjoy it. It happens at an important time in the book and plays into the climax of the story. I’m excited to see what it’s going to blossom into in Greythorne, especially on the foot the novel ended on the actions leading up to the ending.

As I said earlier that Crystal’s world building is magnificent. She built two countries, both that have deep histories, a magic system and complex characters to add to this world. Though there is a lot of information to learn about this world, it isn’t hard to understand it in the least. Crystal did an amazing job of spreading out the details and not giving the reader the dreaded  info dump. I can’t wait to see more of this world and what Crystal is going to have for readers next. Bloodleaf is a retelling of The Goose Girl and though I’ve never read it, the research I’ve done and the information I’ve dug up, there are so many nods to this stories inspiration.

This review ended up being a lot longer then I anticipated. But as I said I love this book and it has a special place in my heart, plus I’ve read it three times. It just shows my love and how I keep falling in love with the story over and over again. If you have made it this far thank you for reading it and I hope you get an opportunity to read Bloodleaf at some point or another.

1 comment

  1. oooh this one has been on my TBR for FOREVER! You have just given me the push I need to read it ASAP.

    Great review. Im happy you loved this one.

    Michelle @ Book Briefs


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