Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Blood Magic is a YA horror/paranormal novel by debut author Tessa Gratton.
High school Junior Silla is haunted by her parents' death. She was the first to find them. All that blood. Her brother Reese found her, blood soaking the tips of her hair. Hair she sheared off haphazardly afterwards, as all she could see was the blood.
Everybody believes that her father shot her mother and then killed himself. But it doesn't make sense. They were in love. Her dad was well-liked and stable. It couldn't be true. Silla's past life of friends and flirting is over - now she's a ghost of her former self.
But then a small, mysterious little book arrives for her. Inside are strange spells written in her father's handwriting. Every one of the spells asks for blood. Silla covets the book, reads it hungrily - desperate for answers to her parents' horrific end. She sets off to her parents' graves one night with some of the ingredients needed for one of the spells... and decides to try it. She must know her dad wasn't crazy. She has to know.
Nicholas just moved to Yaleyah, Missouri, which is where Silla lives. His grandfather, whom he hardly remembers, died and left him his house. His stepmother likes the idea of the atmosphere of the nearby cemetery and overall remoteness sparking her creative spirit and helping to pump out more best-selling novels. Nicholas couldn't care less. He really doesn't like his stepmother, and his relationship with his father is next-to-nothing.
Not too happy about being enrolled as a Senior in a brand new school, especially one far removed from his previous big city school, Nick sets off at night to explore - and his feet somehow lead him to the old, worn cemetery. Once there, he sees her. He thinks she's beautiful - but what she's doing chills him to the core.
It isn't his first time seeing it, though it's been a long time. And he's hoped to never see it again...
Alrighty, I hope that synopsis intrigued you - because I didn't give too much away!
Ooooh, what a book Blood Magic is! My, oh my - this is one that stays in your head.
Right away we are introduced to two compelling characters - Silla and Nicholas - whom I instantly wanted to know better. They're alike in many ways - both mourning parents and both aware, now, of a unique sort of magic: blood magic. I had an almost instant connection to these characters. They interested me and hooked me with their individuality and strong interaction with each other. These two had no lacking of chemistry!
The worn and old cemetery is an eerie setting, but so is the very town of Yaleyah - the entire place is soaked in secrets, mysteries, and anguish. There's an edgy darkness to Blood Magic with an undercurrent of romance - and fear. And there's journal entries throughout the novel (which I refuse to give details about), that seem to inform us more of the blood magic and date back many years - it shows us horrifying aspects of the magic and it disturbed and unsettled me in a way that only a talented author can.
It seems the blood magic may be addictive, and leads to uncharacteristic, chilling acts. It's fascinating and magnetic, while being utterly original and terrifying. Then shocking twists take Blood Magic from an experimental horror story-meets-sizzling romance to creepy, scary dangerous new depths - as we realize someone may be lurking and ready to do anything to get their hands on the book in Silla's possession.
And ooooooooh, surprise surprise! I got goosebumps as revelations abounded near the end and the dark and frightening core of Blood Magic shows itself to be more powerful, and perhaps evil, than we could imagine...
Blood Magic is stunning, flabbergasting, and unexpected from beginning to end - I guessed only very few things right. This is a freaky, creepy, scary, dark, character-driven and maybe brilliant novel that I recommend heartily - though only in the daylight! I was floored - and I'm guessing you will be too. Wow.
Quick bonus: fans of Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver series will notice a fun little reference that is awesome. You'll know it when you see it.