Bloodleaf

Crystal Smith. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-328-49630-0
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. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 02/21/2019
Release date: 03/12/2019
Genre: Children's
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