Blue de la Cour has her life planned: hide the magic in her blood and continue trying to turn metal into gold so she can help her city’s homeless. But when her father is murdered and a cruel but powerful woman claims custody of Blue and her property, one wrong move could expose her—and doom her once and for all. The only one who can help? The boy she’s loathed since childhood: Prince Kellan.
Kellan Renard, crown prince of Balavata, is walking a thin line between political success and devastating violence. Newly returned from boarding school, he must find a bride among the kingdom’s head families and announce his betrothal—but escalating violence among the families makes the search nearly impossible. He’s surprised to discover that the one person who makes him feel like he can breathe is Blue, the girl who once ruined all his best adventures.
When mysterious forces lead to disappearances throughout Balavata, Blue and Kellan must work together to find the truth. What they discover will lead them to the darkest reaches of the kingdom, and to the most painful moments of their pasts.
When romance is forbidden and evil is rising, can Blue save those she loves, even if it costs her everything?
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Tags: Fantasy, Fairytale Re-telling, Dark Fairytale, Romance, Royalty, Cinderella, Magic, POC, Speech Impairment
(I received a free copy of this book, thanks to Balzer+Bray and Edelweiss, in exchange for my honest review. This does not affect my opinions on the book.)
Silly me didn’t realise this was a Cinderella-retelling until a quarter way in 😛 Maybe that just shows how well C. J. Redwine has re-fashioned the age-old fairytale! The incorporation of the key elements, like the glass slipper or stepmother, were almost seamlessly achieved, so much so that it’s a story of its own! Readers will find it fun to spot them.
I didn’t know that this was book #4 in the Ravenspire series but it does very well as a standalone. Although it’s still best to read them in order as certain outcomes of the previous books are revealed when those characters make a cameo in The Blood Spell. Since I’ve not read the others in the series, here’s a question for those who have: was there one about the kingdom of Loch Talam? One with the Evrard’s oldest son? Because there might be minor spoiler about that. On the other hand, readers who’ve read the previous books will love the cameo appearances of past characters.
Blue de la Cour is a strong character defined by her iron-clad will to uphold justice, helping less fortunate people and putting her loved ones above all else. Kellan shares similar values but with a reckless spirit where Blue’s is logical. Both despise each other until a tragedy occurs which brings them closer and makes them realise that there’s more to what meets the eye about one another. I do feel their relationship was a bit fast for my taste but most readers will love it(at least it wasn’t insta love!). But I loved how compatible they were for each other and made for a strong team.
The world-building was good, though not the best. I especially loved the food mentioned! Apple puffs, fig twists, fried apple cakes, peach tea and maple fritters. YUM!!! I also appreciated how readers got to see the workings behind Blue’s alchemy and apothecary projects.
It was a little slow-going up until two-thirds in, from there something just clicked and I found myself glued to the story, wanting to know the outcome of the characters.
There’s one time where I wasn’t sure if it was a plot hole, when Blue suspected Dinah Chauveau about her true motives. If Blue already shared her suspicions with Kellan about Dinah’s motives, possibly having Blue’s father killed and the Chauveau family being bankrupt, then why did Kellan get puzzled as to why Dinah didn’t have any guards around? That she didn’t have the money to hire them.
The Blood Spell is an innovatively blended retelling of Cinderella with diversity; it’s got a Princess with speech impairment and people of color as main characters. It also doesn’t shy away from the darker elements of fairytales, like the original ones. I found it fun trying to guess which characters had potential for the next fairytale spin in this series(there were plenty to choose from!). I have my eyes set on getting the other installments from the local library!
Parental Guidance: 12+
Violence – Physical abuse, murder, dark elements
Sex – Tense attraction between two characters
Religion – No
Profanity – No
Recommended for: Fans of slightly darker fairytales and enemies-turned-lovers trope.