Oh how the busy near-end weeks of a semester seem to be, keeping us occupied with work that although might be for our highest aspirations, can turn tedious and trying. I can certainly say it’s been difficult for me in recent times to find time for myself and enjoy outside interests without feeling guilty about abandoning my to-do list! Thankfully, I found a book to lose myself in this past week that made me grateful I took the time to escape.
Crystal Smith’s 2019 release Bloodleaf caught my attention as soon as I spotted it on the shelf and kept it until the moment I closed it with a satisfied sigh. Although they say never to judge a book by its cover, I have to admit, the cover is what first piqued my interest. The beautiful indigo background showcases the likeness of the main character, Aurelia, in front of it, her gaze locking you into a staring contest as soon as you make eye contact with her. Thankfully, the pages inside held content just as good as the cover art. The blurb on the back promised me a princess willing to risk everything to save her kingdom, a bloodthirsty and witch-hunting enemy, and love in the midst of chaos, and it definitely delivered. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with the characters and become invested in their good intentions and fast team work. In fact, I fully believe that if you crack open this book and give Aurelia and her band of trusted allies a chance, they will welcome you too into their quest to save their kingdoms from the clutches of hate.
What I enjoyed the most about this book and what I think other fantasy lovers will also enjoy is the unique take on magic. Traditional spellcasting with the wave of a wand or a staff is perfectly exciting- goodness knows I am a sucker for anything with magic of that sort- but Bloodleaf offers blood magic and the spirit realm in its place. This combined with the hidden identities and unpredictable plot twists will leave you reeling and shouting aloud at the pages (I happen to know from experience, as do my housemates). The construction and pacing of the constant surprises kept me in step with the characters the whole way and made me wish for a hundred more pages when I reached the inevitable end.
Thankfully, Bloodleaf is the beginning of a series whose next installment has already been released, so look for me in the nearest Barnes and Noble scouring the shelves for Greythorne. Just take it from me- make some time in this busy season to bury your nose in Crystal Smith’s new and exhilarating series. You won’t regret it!