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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Audio ARC Review: Blood Heir by Amelie Wen Zhao

Please Note:  I received an advance audio copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions in my review in any way.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.

When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue.

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all.


Review:
I had been rather tapped out with YA fantasy books about rebel princesses.  The tropes for this genre (a royal wrongly accused of something, a criminal who is just misunderstood) have been overused of late.  But Blood Heir, by Amelie Wen Zhao, takes these tropes and gives them such depth, that the result is a  compelling read.  With fantastic world-building, fun characters, an action-packed story, and riveting narration, this is a wonderful book.

What I Liked:

Narration:
Emily Woo Zeller does a wonderful job with the narration for this book.  I love how she was able to make each character unique.  While Anna was all haughty and anxious, Ramson was pure charm.   Her interpretations of the male characters were really compelling.  I would really like to hear her other works, now that I've listened to this audio book.

World-building:
The author slowly adds more and more details as to what affinites are, what they can do, and why they are so feared my non-affinites.  


               
via GIPHY
I also liked that there were other nations that held affinites in high esteem.  This showed me that it was really the Cyrilian Empire that was the problem, not people with special abilities.

There were also lots of details about clothing and how people lived in various areas of the empire.  One could clearly see the differences between rich and poor, and how affinites were essentially slaves.

Characters:
The two main characters, Anna and Ramson, are immediately at odds with each other.  They see each other as untrustworthy.  But they also each need the other in order to get what they want in the story.

I loved how they got to know each other.  This was not an "insta-love" situation because they were both really focused on their ultimate goals:  Anna wanted to clear her name, and Ramson straight up wants revenge!  But they do eventually come to value each other's traits.

The other thing I really enjoyed about the characters is that they were quite complex.  Anna, even though she is a princess, is just as flawed as Ramson, the criminal.  Sometimes they make terrible decisions, but they work to do better.

Themes:
One of the major themes in the book is that we are defined by the choices we make.  And even though we do make some bad choices, we can still start over and choose the right way.  Again and again there are examples of characters who stray down the wrong path by supporting the slave trade.  But most have a moment when they can choose to do better.  Their poor choices still remain, but they are not forever tainted by what they did.

Story:
The story was action-packed with lots of captures, and daring escapes.  There were friendships, and betrayals.  And what royal fantasy would be complete without the staple of a masquerade ball!  Yes, that was such a cliché, but it was also lots of fun.
                
via GIPHY

Overall, this was a really fun book and start to a trilogy.  I liked that the main plot points were resolved, but that there were plenty of cliff-hangers to make me want to read book two.


Rating: 




Release Date:  November 19, 2019

Author:  Amelie Wen Zhoa

Genre:  YA Fantasy

Audio Publisher:  Listening Library

Audio Length:  13 Hrs, 57 Min.

Audiobook Narrator:  Emily Woo Zeller

Print Publisher:  Delacorte Press

Print Book Length:  464 Pages

Format I Reviewed:  Audio Book

Source:  Penguin Random House Press

Recommendation:  A wonderful, action-packed YA fantasy.  If you like this genre, you will enjoy this book.

 

 
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1 comment :

  1. I am burned out on the Royal Princess in trouble trope too. But this sounds good, and I love the cover. thanks!

    ReplyDelete




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