Publication Date: March 12, 2019
Princess Aurelia is a prisoner to her crown and the heir that nobody wants. Surrounded by spirits and banned from using her blood-magic, Aurelia flees her country after a devastating assassination attempt. To escape her fate, Aurelia disguises herself as a commoner in a new land and discovers a happiness her crown has never allowed. As she forges new bonds and perfects her magic, she begins to fall for a man who is forbidden to rule beside her. But the ghosts that haunt Aurelia refuse to abandon her, and she finds herself succumbing to their call as they expose a nefarious plot that only she can defeat. Will she be forced to choose between the weight of the crown and the freedom of her new life?
It didn’t take long after starting Bloodleaf before it became a bona fide leave-me-alone, I-wish-I-didn’t-have-to-work pageturner for me. Crystal Smith has created a fully-formed world swirling with the mythology of rich, dark magic. Blood magic, to be precise. And blood is spilled – there are deaths within the first few pages, more deaths as Aurelia journeys from innocent princess to a strong, powerful young woman.
Bloodleaf’s strength lies in its protagonist. Although she does some rash things, Aurelia’s heart and bravery make for a heroine worth rooting for. I am also taken with Smith’s choice of “love interest” for Aurelia and how their relationship develops.
I can’t claim to understand every twist and turn the plot makes, but Bloodleaf is a thrilling ride of the imagination. One big twist I did see coming but there are so many other surprises that it didn’t take away from my enjoyment. Although Bloodleaf is touted as part of a trilogy, it ends very decisively. No cliffhangers at all, just a sense of wanting for Aurelia’s adventures to continue.