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Bloodleaf
Cover of Bloodleaf
Bloodleaf
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"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.

"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.

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About the Author-
  • Crystal Smith is a writer, photographer, and artist who developed an early love of storytelling in a family of voracious readers. She resides in Utah with her high school sweetheart husband and two lively sons. When she isn't writing or creating, she can be found re-watching Jane Eyre or reading ghost stories with all the lights on. Twitter/Instagram: @crysrensmith

Reviews-
  • School Library Journal

    Gr 9 Up-In fear for her life following an assassination attempt and accusations of practicing witchcraft, Princess Aurelia is sent to the neighboring kingdom of Achleva to meet her future husband, Valentin, and gain some protection against the charges levied against her. Shortly before she arrives at the city gates, Aurelia's escort turns on her, demanding her documents of introduction and takes her brother and sister (who plans to assume Aurelia's identity) to the castle. She narrowly escapes death and eludes her escort long enough to hide in the poorer section of the city. Befriended by Kate, a seamstress, and her husband Nathaniel, Aurelia manages to live incognito for some time until she meets Zan, a quiet and somewhat mysterious young man who seems to know a great deal more about the castle and the royal family than a street rat should. The writing is strong and engaging if sometimes convoluted. However, romance, danger, and magic make for a winning combination that will keep readers glued to the pages long after bedtime. VERDICT A lovely, dark, and twisted fantasy for those of who have never quite outgrown fairy tales.-Jane Henriksen Baird, formerly at Anchorage Public Library, AK

    Copyright 1 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    January 1, 2019
    Magic and royalty interweave with contemporary concerns in this dark fantasy.Renaltan princess Aurelia is a witch. She studies forbidden books and avoids contact with the ghosts she sees while trying to hide her powers from a magic-fearing populace. She'll be safe once she marries the prince of another monarchy, quelling a centuries-old feud, but secretive, scheming powers knock those plans awry. Fleeing to the magically fortified city of Achleva she pretends to be a commoner with uncommon magical skill as deadly machinations swirl around her. Aurelia's and her friends' skin colors range from pale to dark brown, but racial identities don't come into play in the story. The plot is breathlessly fast, complete with creepy spirits, a satisfying romance, and complex but clear political twists and turns. The plot is purely fantasy, involving a cure-all that only comes after bloodshed, a horrifying ghost called the Harbinger, and the violent undoing of protective spells. However, some aspects--a protective but deadly wall, corrupt leaders who manipulate a repressive, pleasure-denying religion for their own ends, and King Domhnall, a hypocritical, whoring, "very stable genius"--will feel immediately relevant to savvy readers. The mythology feels classic yet fresh and interesting, though descriptions of "blood magic" (where practitioners often make themselves bleed) might warrant a trigger warning for self-injury.Political, romantic, magical, timely, yet also traditionally appealing. (Fantasy. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 25, 2019
    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.

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Bloodleaf
Bloodleaf
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