Blood & Flowers is a YA fantasy written by Penny Blubaugh.
Persia ran away from her broken home three years ago and was taken in by the Outlaw Puppet Troupe, a group of underground actors, puppeteers, mortals, and fey that have become her ragtag family. They perform clandestine plays, let their imaginations run wild, and Persia finds herself falling in love with one of the members, Nicholas.
But not everybody finds fey magic to be harmless. And not everybody is fond of it. Of course, there are some truly bad things that fey have brought to the mortal world from the realm of Faerie, such as potent drugs and drinks that can destroy lives. This has brought about a prejudice. A prejudice that a vindictive and cruel theater critic with a hidden agenda uses to threaten the Troupe's very freedom.
Bonding together, the group is forced to flee to Faerie. But Faerie is not just flowers and beauty. It has its own dangers, murderous creatures, and a longtime monarchy that may not want them there anymore than the mortal world wants them in their world. So, Faerie is not just flowers. It's blood and flowers.
Blood & Flowers was immediately blunt and vividly colorful - it has an in-your-face originality that is refreshing, a Moulin Rouge-esque vibrancy, and an assortment of perhaps "weird" characters that are undeniably interesting and easy to become attached to.
I didn't feel like I knew Persia as much I could have. I felt like there could have been more character development, a little more detail to make her more approachable to us. But she is a sweet, non-superficial girl that is easy to root for, nevertheless, and I still felt a camaraderie with her and the rest of the odd, artistic, lively Outlaws.
And Penny Blubaugh's word usage in describing Faerie was amazing - it's almost poetic in its startling prose. It's organic and creative and startling, down to the very title of the novel: Blood & Flowers.
I was never once bored - I was engrossed in this unquenchingly unique tale. Blood & Flowers is eccentric, theatrical, and rambunctiously strange. I found it highly enjoyable, fun, and quick-paced. Maybe it could have gone a little deeper, a little farther, a little darker - but then maybe it wouldn't be Blood & Flowers, and that would be a travesty.
Check it out, bibliophile!