A River of Royal Blood — Book Review

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  Author:     Amanda Joy
   Genre:    YA/Fantasy
   Pages:    368
   Format:   hardcover
   Rating:    
      

   Description:

Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of marrow and blood–a dark and terrible magick that hasn’t been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its last known practitioner was Queen Raina, who toppled the native khimaer royalty and massacred thousands, including her own sister, eight generations ago, thus beginning the Rival Heir tradition. Living in Raina’s long and dark shadow, Eva must now face her older sister, Isa, in a battle to the death if she hopes to ascend to the Ivory Throne–because in the Queendom of Myre only the strongest, most ruthless rulers survive.

When Eva is attacked by an assassin just weeks before the battle with her sister, she discovers there is more to the attempt on her life than meets the eye–and it isn’t just her sister who wants to see her dead. As tensions escalate, Eva is forced to turn to a fey instructor of mythic proportions and a mysterious and handsome khimaer prince for help in growing her magick into something to fear. Because despite the love she still has for her sister, Eva will have to choose: Isa’s death or her own.

A River of Royal Blood is an enthralling debut set in a lush North African inspired fantasy world that subtly but powerfully challenges our notions of power, history, and identity.

Review

Is it a five star read?!?! Yes! I even tweeted about it as I read it, which should tell you something. I got ridiculously invested in this world – which is funny because at first I wondered if I was going to like it. It didn’t seem like it was going to be my type of book just from the plot of two sisters fighting. I’m more of a fan of sisterly bonds, but wow. This book honestly and totally blew me away and I was so shocked by it. It came out of left field.

I went to great lengths to avoid discussing my sister.

The Writing
Amanda Joy is an amazing writer. I felt that I really connected with her writing all throughout the story. Which is an amazing thing, because sometimes even if I love the writing I can be jolted out of a story by a weird sentence or two. Instead, I was kept afloat by all this lovely writing. The combination of the dialogue and the description painted such a beautiful picture for me. It felt vivid and it certainly evoked emotions in me. I just loved it, and that’s all I can say.

Princesses bound for death couldn’t have romantic entaglements.

The Pacing
The pacing was good too – for the most part. There were a couple places that it felt as if it stuttered to me. It wasn’t a major issue, because, obviously, I gave this five stars. It was such a minor issue, but I had such a reaction to this book that the minor pacing issue didn’t throw me all that much. I felt certain parts of the pacing might have been a little too slow or unnecessary, but overall, I think the pacing was fine. The dialogue, characters and plot more than made up for this little hiccup.

The Plot
Now, as I said at the beginning of my review, the plot wasn’t something I might have normally sought out. I go for more sisterly affection books. But something about this book and the cover lured me in, and I couldn’t resist. I decided I had to give it a try. Of course, now I’m really glad I did, because the plot was very nuanced. There was always something happening that was pushing the plot or characters forward in some way, shape or form. The plot isn’t just about rival sisters, it becomes something more, something that is about the state of the world. Suffice to say, I was highly impressed.

This was our birthright: to kill and become Queen, or die.

The Characters
Can Joy not do anything? NOPE. Because the characters are fabulous. I love Eva, she is so sweet, but she is also strong. I love her arc in this book so much as she begins to come into herself. There is something so satisfying for me as I followed Eva’s journey. Joy doesn’t short the other characters either, Falun, Baccha, Aketo, Anali – they were all wonderful. I just loved all the relationships between these characters and what we get from them.
The slow building romances as well were great. They weren’t a huge feature, but they existed and were done well. I was immensely happy with it, because sometimes I don’t love romances.

The Worldbuilding
I had no trouble diving into this world. While at first the system was a little confusing, it quickly righted itself for me. The more I read, the more I began to understand which is so lovely. Sometimes that is the best thing, even if you want more information (but for it not to be an info dump) waiting is the best idea. I did like the magic system of this world. I think it was well done and creative; it was a new and interesting take for me.

Overall
Clearly, I enjoyed this book. There is little I can say about it that isn’t good. It took me through a series of emotion, and it made me so happy. I am also now DESPERATE to read the next book in the series because I need to know what happens next! I am so glad I found this book because I needed in my life.

”No one relinquishes power easily.”

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