Book Talk: Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
Publisher: Random House
Date: April 22, 2011
Series or Standalone: First in series
Format: Hardcover, 416 pages
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First line: My name is Josephine Darly and I intend to live forever.
Blood Magic has a lot to offer. First, there’s magic. Second, there’s blood. Third, there’s a hot boy named Nicholas. Fourth, there’s Silla—who’s all kick butt and doesn’t play. (That’s a pun. She's an actress.) Fifth-Ninth, there’s a mystery, a secret, a book, a bunch of crows, and a brother. Tenth, Tessa Gratton wrote it. And it rocked.
The story follows three people. It opens with a journal from a mysterious character named Josephine Darly. Silla and Nicholas are the main characters. Both bring extremely different voices to the story. The other two characters are Silla—who’s just lost her parents—and Nicholas—who’s just moved to town & spotted Silla. At first, it seems that these three characters have nothing in common, but the truth is that they have everything in common.
That’s what I loved most about this story. Tessa Gratton weaved together this story with precision and detail. It was like pulling a thread and seeing the whole thing unravel perfectly—it’s all that connected. It takes a certain kind of grace and skill to make a story have this much life.
Silla’s story opens in the graveyard, where she holds a mysterious book and sits at her parents grave. She’s just learned about magic and she jumps right in. Those first two pages tell so much about her character. When you read the book, go back and double check. It will change the way you read. Silla is an actress, which is important. She spends her life pretending. When her parents die, she wears mask after mask and no one really notices—until she meets Nicholas and he sees through it all. He gets her in ways no one else has, in ways that even she doesn’t understand and she grows because of that. I would say that more of this book is supposed to be Silla’s story—but I found myself leaning toward Nicholas.
Nicholas was a surprise to me. From the first page of his story, I love him. He’s snarky and fun and for me, I found myself believing his character most, wanting to read the next line from him throughout the whole book. I’m sure that will read differently to everyone, but I liked Nicholas a lot. He seemed more...relatable, even thought I’m a girl. His part of the story opens at dinner with his dad and stepmother, where tensions are high. When he ventures out into the graveyard, he sees Silla doing blood magic and everything changes for him.
Again, I want to say that Blood Magic unfolds like no other story I’ve read. I keep thinking about how flawlessly each detail was put together and came out—subtly sometimes, loudly other times—but always in perfect time. I especially loved the aspect of Josephine Darly’s journal and all the things therein.
Blood Magic is a lot of things and I can’t think of a single word to describe it. There’s everything from steamy make-out scenes (many!) to bloody magic (sometimes detailed. You don’t miss it for sure!) to action and mystery and drama. It covers all the basics. There are even some sad parts in it. If you’re a queasy person, you may want to be prepared. The title is called Blood Magic because (here’s a spoiler): This story involves blood.
Ultimately, I like what it teaches you: that who you are matters. The things that have happened to you, the things you know and experience and learn all make you who you are. And you have to know yourself to truly live. The beauty of life is finding someone who can see through the mask, help you look in the mirror and then start to heal. And that power lies within, as much as it does in someone else.
I don’t know if everyone got that message, but I did. I think Silla and Nick learn that you can separate out parts of yourself, or wear masks to hide away from the past or the truth. Even if you want to face those things, it doesn’t mean they go away; they remain until you are ready to see. Eventually, you’ll have to deal with them—or they’ll deal with you.
Talk about in the comments! Have you read this book? What did you think? Do you want to read it?