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The Blood Keeper

The Blood Keeper is a YA paranormal by Tessa Gratton.

This is a companion to Blood Magic, which I adored as you can read in my review here. However, it’s heavily stand-alone, so I only recommend reading Blood Magic first for your maximum enjoyment – but this review won’t give away any spoilers of it.

On a secluded Kansas farm, Mab Prowd practices blood magic – and it’s as normal as daylight to her. Her interest is regular school subjects like math and history is slim to none, she’d rather be experimenting with what she can do with her significant abilities.

Will was just trying to overcome a nightmare by facing it right on at the lake, with his two dogs by his side, when he met her. Mab, having awoken a terrifying mud man, accidentally lost her hold on him and the thing collided right into Will.

It’s a lot to digest – the magic, the belief in it – but Will suddenly finds that his strained home life, athletics, and friends don’t reverberate with the same wild energy of that one meeting with Mab. The two begin to meet, to grow closer.

But the magic she awakened contained a long dormant curse – something that is working on Will from that first moment. It could destroy everything they care about if they don’t recognize it… and stop it.

The beginning was a mix of creepy, bloody (surprise, surprise, right?), and confusing. Yet immediately there was that pull, a mystery to the puzzle – you wonder what the heck is going on while you’re also thinking how the writing is darkly mesmerizing. I was almost involuntarily intrigued!

However, it was a bit slow. Every once in a while we get snatches of Evie’s story, an earlier blood magic practitioner with connections to the present plot, and I was sometimes more drawn to her than Will and Mab, who were good characters but not as magnetic as Blood Magic’s Nick and Silla, in my opinion.

The Blood Keeper did become increasingly spooky, though, with more and more atmospheric eeriness and worrisome traits becoming stronger in Will – that was nerve-wracking. It’s a strange and different story. The vibe crackles with energy, but I was just never as glued, as wowed and hypnotized as I was with Blood Magic.

Don’t get me wrong – The Blood Keeper was haunting and lovely, and really quite impressive. It just wasn’t as flat-out AMAZING as Blood Magic to me. Maybe you’ll disagree.

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