I picked up Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton on a whim. It was one of those books I pulled out of the pile because I absolutely did not know what to read next. I thought if I made it a few chapters in I would keep going. Two pages in I knew I was going to love it. Utterly.
Silla has it rough. A few months ago both of her parents died, by her Father’s hand. Now most of school treats her like a freak and Silla has withdrawn into herself. Her brother, Reese, and her Grandmother, Judy, try to do what they can to help heal the rift but it’s a battle of Sisyphean proportions. One day Silla receives a journal that belonged to her father from an unnamed source. She finds within a magic that is very powerful but also exacts a price from the user – blood.
Meanwhile, Nicholas has moved into town and his path crosses Silla’s at an unfortunate moment; in the graveyard between their houses, while Silla is practicing her first spell, and spilling her own blood. Nick doesn’t seem shocked at all and finds himself drawn to the strange and brooding Silla.
There is so much to say about this book and so much I don’t want to ruin for you all. Rest assured it’s fabulous. I am so in love with this book. It has everything that I like in it; small town, unique outcast, outsider, magic, angst, lots of red herrings, aging diaries, masks, Shakespeare, keys from the past, immortality, mystery, intrigue… Yeah, it’s pretty damned fabulous. But there’s so much not to say about it too.
I enjoyed Silla. I love her conflict, I love that she doesn’t let everyone see who she is. I loved her strength, even if it was expressed in very off beat ways. I loved that Gratton didn’t glamourize cutting in this book and that Silla knows it’s not cool. I loved (lovedlovedloved) Nicholas too. Good gods… LOVED with a capital “I’d like this man to be real so I can idolize him shyly from afar”. He’s brash, and sexy, and completely original. And I want him to be mine.
I visually crafted him as Nick Cave in my brain, hence the photos. I had to, it’s the “slicked back longer hair and pinstripe suits” that did it. Truth. I also appreciated that Gratton had him listening to Swedish Electronica, because I immediately had an excuse to put The Knife on my i-tunes, not that I really needed one, but Squee!
This book sizzles, it’s radiant. It’s everything right. It’s awesome contemporary Southern Gothic Young Adult romance, etc. etc. It’s gritty and it’s real and has a pretty damn good love story too. I was annoyed I had to do other things while reading this, I wanted to turn the world off. I wanted to hole up in a field on a sunny day with a bottle of wine and The Dead Brothers playing for background. I wanted to devote myself to this book, and I am just so glad it delivered. It’s become my first real “favourite” book of 2011.
Now the trouble is this – what do I read now? I read this one on a lark because I didn’t know what else to pick up and now my brain is broken. I’m always at a loss as where to go after I love something so much. The next read cannot possible measure up to the previous. As if it weren’t obvious enough, this one ranks high. 10 out of 5. It’s severely good.
* Blood Magic does not release until May 24th.
(this turned out to be very musical. Here’s more Dead Brothers… just cuz)
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