Do you ever go into a book completely blind? I almost never do that these days, specially when it comes to Young Adult books. But... blind into it I went. I read the blurb after I had started the book and I have no regrets. Outside of romance YA Fantasy is a favorite genre of mine and I would have picked this one out regardless.
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?
This magical story had a nice flow to it. The first few chapters were captivating and it was hard to put the book down. Princess Aurelia is the heir to the throne but she gets ousted from her own country for possessing magic. In Renalt, people like her receive the death sentence.
She goes to the Kingdom of Achleva were she is meant to marry their sickly prince. None of it goes according to plan, an attempt in her life has her on the run.
Aurelia was a good female heroine. Not the cleverest tool in the box but brave and determined.
Zan was a charming main male character. I think he was meant to be a heartthrob? I just found find sweet and adorable.
Nathaniel -his best friend- had me almost in tears. In many ways his character stole the show for me.
All other characters were good but not interesting enough to be mentioned.
Bloodleaf was a very easy to read fantasy, but not much of it was properly explained. That is not really a problem since this is only the first book in the series, but it is something the reader should keep in mind.
The true negative to me was predictability. It was easy to see where the story was going. It follows tropes and themes that have become very popular in YA in recent years- powerful and yet clueless (and let's not forget plain looking) female heroine, male villain, two love interests that would give their lives for her, and a problem only the female character can fix. All those things on their own aren't bad, but when it makes the story predictable it is rather boring. There was at least one instance where the plot was so so obvious I wanted to scream at the book.
All that being said though it was great YA Fantasy. I have never heard of this author and I think this is a debut novel, which makes the book as a whole a lot more impressive. As a debut novel that was phenomenal.
Release Date: March 12th, 2019 by HMH Books for Young Readers