“Enchanting, visceral, and twisty”— New York Times bestselling author of Ash Princess, Laura Sebastian
“BLOODLEAF feels like a classic in the making.” – Sara Holland, New York Times bestselling author of Everless
A roar of a dark and luscious epic fantasy that’s layered with heady romance, bloodthirsty magic, and ghostly intrigue—an absolutely wicked delight.
Aurelia is a princess, but they call her a witch.
Surrounded by spirits and burdened with forbidden magic, she lives in constant fear of discovery by the witch-hunting Tribunal and their bloodthirsty mobs. When a devastating assassination attempt reveals her magical abilities, Aurelia is forced to flee her country with nothing but her life.
Alone and adrift in an enemy kingdom, Aurelia plans her revenge against the Tribunal, desperate to bring down the dark organization that has wrought terror upon her people for hundreds of years. But there's something deeply amiss in her new home, too, and soon she finds herself swept into a deadly new mystery with a secretive prince, the ghost of an ancient queen, and a poison vine called Bloodleaf.
Aurelia is entangled in a centuries-long game of love, power, and war, and if she can't break free before the Tribunal makes its last move, she may lose far more than her crown.
As the first girl born to Renaltan royalty in generations, Princess Aurelia must marry Prince Valentin of Achleva to fulfill the treaty that ended the kingdoms' centuries-long war. Seventeen-year-old Aurelia, a witch, resents the arrangement; she has feelings for her guard, Kellan, and rumors allege that Valentin is unwell. But when Renalta's puritanical Tribunal and magic-fearing populace decide to execute her for witchcraft, she makes a run for Achleva and its magically protected borders. There, she faces a Princess Aurelia imposter and an unknown assailant systematically dismantling Achleva's border wards. Aurelia wants to challenge her pretender, but even more pressing is the possible destruction of the kingdom's mystical shield. Guided by a spirit dubbed the Harbinger, Aurelia poses as a peasant and partners with a boy named Zan to find and foil Achleva's mysterious foe. Debut author Smith explores the power of sacrifice in this darkly romantic reimagining of the Brothers Grimm's "The Goose Girl." Smith's rich mythology and affecting love story provides ample distraction from the occasional, overtly telegraphed plot twist, and subtly drawn characters illustrate the story's interest in the difference between piety and goodness. Ages 14 up. \n
The storytelling kept the pages turning, I read it in two days. The characters were likable and fairly diverse and there were several unexpected twists which kept my interest. It was definitely written for teens but there’s nothing necessarily bad about that. I’m looking forward to reading the sequels.