It was the cover that made me want it in the first place. The summary sounded promising too, but the red rose caught my attention first. It was a great read, and I hope that one day I will be able to read the other book in Tessa Gratton´s The Blood Journals duology. For all those, who haven´t read a book by the author yet, this is a great opportunity to start with.

Blood Magic
by Tessa Gratton
The Blood Journals #1
Publisher cbj on July Day, 2011
Genre Young Adult 
Pages 443
Format Hardcover
Source Publisher 

Draw a circle… place a dead leaf in the center… sprinkle some salt… recite a little Latin… add a drop of blood…
Maybe that last part isn´t exactly simple. Yet somehow it feels right to Silla Kennicott. And nothing in her life has felt remotely right since her parent´s horrific deaths. She´s willing to do anything to uncover the truth about her family-even try a few spells from the mysterious book that arrived on her doorstep … and spill some blood. The book isn´t the only recent arrival in Silla´s life. There´s Nick Pardee, the new guy next door who may have seen Silla casting a spell. She´s not sure what he saw and is afraid to find out. But as they spend more time together, Silla realizes this may not be Nick´s first encounter with Blood Magic. Brought together by a combination of fate and chemistry, Silla and Nick can´t deny their attraction. And they can´t ignore the dark presence lurking nearby – waiting to reclaim the book and all its power.
Silla, once a fun-loving and happy teenager, is now completely withdrawn due to tragic circumstances. A letter and a notebook full of spells, sent by a stranger, make Silla familiar with a side of her family she did not really know until then - blood magic. On the one hand, she is fascinated, on the other hand, repelled by what she must experience through magic, and she trusts in her brother Reese. But then Reese dies cruelly during a magic ritual, and blood magic becomes an absolute nightmare for Silla. The evil becomes a great danger to her, and she comes in the person of Josephine, who has been close to her family in the past and knows the secret of Silla´s father.

A fascinating plot takes place by means of two storylines. One tells the plot by Silla and Nicholas, which contemplate each other harmoniously and with a wonderful atmosphere. The second strand of action lets the reader experience events beginning in 1904 in the form of diary entries by Josephine. Both storylines move towards each other and then meet in a rather unusual way in today´s action.

The language alternates between a quick-witted, eloquent and witty youth language of today and the twentieth century, by Josephine – and made, for me, the special appeal of the story. As the story progresses, you can see Josephine´s style slowly changing emotionally. Linguistically, she remains very chosen and discreet. At first, she was still reserved in her way of speaking, but she became increasingly impatient, angry and full of hate. 

A person must give if that person wants to take from magic and vice versa. The greater the giving, the stronger and more powerful the magic. A kind of barter that can become dangerous and should only be done wisely. The author also shows very clearly that life and death are basically not susceptible to manipulation. If they are manipulated, the consequences can be or become cruel and the influence is often short-lived.

Tessa Gratton draws here figures by using only a few words. They are very convincing, full of surprises lively characters, extremely profound and versatile. But also, very idiosyncratic. 

Silla lets her curiosity run the way through the book, but when it comes to life and death and things get tougher, her belief in the people, her principles and her love for her family take control and dominate her thinking and acting. Nicholas is similar. Only that he is already well acquainted with the blood magic since childhood and the magic reluctantly returns to his life. A conflict that he can not easily solve and brings back the long-forgotten childhood memories in him.

What an incredible book. Madness! Sluggish at the beginning, but then a gripping story develops. I did not think so, but this book is a real page-turner, who develops his own magic in the reader. Highly recommended.

Happy reading

Tessa Gratton
Tessa Gratton ©Natalie C. Parker

Tessa Gratton was born in Okinawa, Japan, when her father was serving the US Navy there.  She is the author of the Blood Journals duology, Gods of New Asgard series, and two books on writing fantasy for teen writers. Tessa Gratton lived all over the world, traveling with her family, before returning to her prairie roots in Kansas with her wife. She studied at the University of Kansas and currently works for Serial Box Publishing as a lead writer on Tremontaine.


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