Title: Blood Heir
Author: Amèlie Wen Zhao
Series: Blood Heir #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, High Fantasy, Retelling, Romance
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication date: November 19th, 2019
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.
“You want me to be the monster? Ana lifted her faze to the corridor where Ramson had disappeared. I’ll be the monster.”
Another Anastasia retelling? Yes, please! I was so anticipating this book because I love retellings and I’m such a fan of anything Anastasia related, but unfortunately all the Anastasia retellings I’ve read in the past didn’t quite meet my expectations, but nonetheless I went into it with pretty high expectations, and after finishing it, I have to say that I think it’s my favorite Anastasia retelling I’ve read so far, which was a pleasant surprise for me.
I would say it took me a couple of chapters to start getting into the story, because in the first few pages there was a lot of information that my brain had to retain, so it took me a bit to begin to enjoy the story and know all the characters and elements of the world and the magic system. But once I did, I flew through it I was shocked. I think because it was such a fast paced and there were a lot of things happening, I didn’t have time to think about anything else but continue with the novel, which is something that I deeply appreciated.
Regarding the magic system and world building, I would say I was pretty impressed by it. I really enjoyed that the magic was one of the main focused of the story and we got to explore the different types of magic and its limitations throughout the story, because it added such a unique take to the retelling and made me like it and connect with it a lot more. Also, though I would say the world building wasn’t one of the most complex I’ve read, it’s true that there was a lot of information about the society and we got to travel through different places and get to know it more, so I can’t really complain about that. I hope that in the sequel we get to explore it even more and learn more things about it, because it was such an interesting fantasy world, with a cool and different magic system.
“Perhaps Sadow had been right after all. Perhaps there was some twisted part of her that was monstrous, no matter how hard she tried to fight it.”
But I think the most outstanding thing about the book (at least for me) was the characters, and that’s something that I’m quite picky in my Anastasia retellings. And I freaking adored the ones introduced in this book. I think there was a great blend between the author’s creating something unique and having parts of who they were inspired from, which honestly is what makes a good retelling. I adored Ana and her evolution throughout the story. She was such a brave and witty character, and sometimes quite morally grey but still had a conscience, that it made her inner monologues stood out to me. I also really enjoyed her relationship with Ramson and the dynamics going on between them throughout the book.
Plus, I love me a good enemies to lovers, and I think this one checked all the marks for me. Not only there was a good reason of why they hated each other, but also the evolution of that relationship was so well done that I couldn’t help but love that romance. It was so slow burning and angsty, and that development was pretty realistic in my opinion, so I cannot wait to read more about them.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by Blood Heir, and even though I went into it with pretty high expectations, it was great to know that I ended up adoring an Anastasia retelling. I cannot wait to pick up book two, because after that ending I need to know what’s going to happen next.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t change my opinion whatsoever. All thoughts are my own.
“May you be free, and may you be loved. May you be blessed by the stars above.”
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