Review: Bloodspell by Amalie Howard

Review: Bloodspell by Amalie HowardBloodspell by Amalie Howard
Series: The Cruentus Curse series #1
Published by Langdon Street Press on June 1, 2011
Pages: 394
Format: Paperback
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The spell was simple...

Cruentus Protectum (Defend the Blood)

But what do you do if your blood is your enemy?

Victoria Warrick has always known she was different. An outcast at school, she is no stranger to adversity. But when she receives an old journal for her seventeenth birthday, nothing prepares her for the dark secrets it holds -- much less one that reveals she's a witch with unimaginable power.

What's more, when she meets the dazzling but enigmatic Christian Devereux, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. Enemies will hunt her. Friends will turn on her. The terrible curse that makes her blood run black will stop at nothing to control her. And Christian has a sinister secret of his own...

Without knowing whom to trust, can Victoria survive her blood's deadly desires? Or will she lose everything, including herself?

It literally hurts my heart to have to write this review. Amalie is one of my favorite authors and favorite people. I’ve read all her currently published books ((Waterfell [The Aquarathi #1], Oceanborn [The Aquarathi #2], The Almost Girl, Alpha Goddess)) and I loved them all so much! Sadly, Bloodspell (Amalie’s first book and the one I was most excited for, given my love of vampires and witches) left me wanting more. And that made me Sad Panda :(

First, let me discuss some of the things I liked! I loved the world that Amalie created. The magic and the rules and the way everything worked was truly fascinating. The plot itself was something I haven’t really read before – yes, I’ve read a LOT of vampire and witch books over the years – they’e two of my favorite supernatural creates to read about! – but the idea of Le Sang Noir and the Cruentus Curse were pretty original (to me, anyway) and I loved the whole vampires versus witches theme (I’ve always loved stories where they are enemies, I don’t know why..)

Now.. Unfortunately, it was very obvious that this was Amalie’s first book. And it’s very much a book of its time. Meaning, from roughly 2005/7-2011, Young Adult books had a very different tone to them. They had a certain structure and certain things happened. This was especially true with supernatural/paranormal books of this time period. At the time, these structures and plot devices were new, so they were awesome and fascinating. Now, they’re considered cliche. On the one hand, these plot devices/tropes brought me back to that time in my life, when reading was simple and fun, before blogging and critically analyzing everything I read took over. On the other hand, I’ve outgrown many of these plot devices/tropes and I couldn’t help but cringe at some of the things that went down.

There was a lot of telling (as opposed to showing) and it made me feel a bit disconnected from the story and the characters, especially in the beginning. Some of the characters were a bit cliche, as were some of their actions. It was a little hard to grasp how quickly Tori came into her magic and how she knew all these spells and things without even trying. I know she practiced with Leto, but it still felt like it happened super quick. Christian was very cliche vampire. I found myself comparing him and Lucian to Stefan and Damon. Charla was way too perky for my liking (I don’t know why perky female characters always end up being untrustworthy in YA, but they just are for some reason…) and I didn’t trust Gabe from the moment we met him. I really liked Holly and Angie, though. And Enhard.. Ugh, the way his story ended? Crushed me!

I constantly felt like I had missed something with this book. Something would happen and I’d be like, “Wait, when did ____ do _____?” And the pacing was all over the place. Sometimes I sped through several chapters, finding myself (finally) pulled in to the story. Other times, I had to push incredibly hard just to read one chapter. Now, I will say that I had some things going on in my personal life while reading this. My family suffered a terrible, unexpected loss. And it was very difficult for me to even find the energy to read. So that might be part of the reason this book was so meh for me.

To be brutally honest, if it weren’t for the fact that it’s Amalie, I would have DNF’d. But I adore Amalie and I know from reading her other books that she’s an AMAZING writer. I always love her books/plots, her characters and the worlds she creates. She always has a unique take on things and I love that! So I pushed through. The last 80 pages actually really picked up and, though the ending was a bit cliche, it was also really intriguing and I’m very excited to read the sequel, Bloodcraft. My thinking is, Amalie has grown SO MUCH as a writer over the years and Bloodspell had so much potential, it’s the perfect equation for an epic, wonderful, brilliant sequel!

If you haven’t read any of Amalie’s books, I suggest starting with a different one. Amalie’s amazing and her books are amazing. Bloodspell started off weak and she had some growing pains, but her other books are wonderful! If you’ve read Amalie’s other books and you’re uncertain about this one, I urge you to read it with an open mind and remember how fabulous her other books are!


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