Blood Magic (The Blood Journals #1) by Tessa Gratton
Published: 7th July 2011
Publisher: Doubleday children's
For Nick Pardee and Silla Kennicot, the cemetery is the center of everything.
Nick is a city boy angry at being forced to move back to the nowhere town of Yaleylah, Missouri where he grew up. He can’t help remembering his mom and the blood magic she practiced – memories he’s tried for five years to escape. Silla, though, doesn’t want to forget; her parents’ apparent murder-suicide left her numb and needing answers. When a book of magic spells in her dad’s handwriting appears on her doorstep, she sees her chance to unravel the mystery of their deaths.
Together they plunge into the world of dark magic, but when a hundred-year-old blood witch comes hunting for the bones of Silla’s parents and the spell book, Nick and Silla will have to let go of everything they believe about who they are, the nature of life and death, and the deadly secrets that hide in blood
This book was a great, copper-tinted breath of fresh air. I loved the concept of magic using blood-really original and gave a feeling of macabre to the whole story. Silla was a really strong character, as was her brother. I wasn't totally sold on her confessing about the magic, but it was nice to see a supportive guardian in a YA novel for a change. Nick was pretty cool but just a hint nothingy for me. I appreciated his comments on his stepmom though, they were pretty funny. Their relationship did venture slightly into insta-love territory, but not too much that it bothered me. What did bother me was Nick calling Silla 'babe'. It just didn't seem to fit with his personality and I genuinely winced whenever he said it.
I thought the writing was an excellent part of the novel, the narration was really good and reminded me slightly of the narrative style of the wolves of mercy falls books, what with the changing perspectives. I loved the way, at a particularly tense moment, it changed every line or so-I thought this added a lot of tension to the event. The narration was funny as well, sarcastic and quick without being too obviously so.
The actual plot of the novel was interesting,the way everything and everyone was so intertwined, but the mystery element of it fell down slightly for me. I did enjoy the diary elements from Josephine Darly, I loved how they didn't seem relevant at first, except to outline what the magic could be used for. There was no exposition in this book, as the characters discovered the magic as the reader did which was something I liked. The ending was so tragic, but I loved that the author was brave enough to do that. Not a cliffhanger exactly, but enough to leave me feeling satisfied and anticipating the 2nd installment-albeit not with desperation.
This book is creepy and exciting and a definite must-read for anyone who enjoys magical elements to their YA. I give it 4/5