Newly returned from boarding school, he must find a bride among the kingdom’s head families and announce his betrothal—but escalating tension among the families makes the search nearly impossible. He’s surprised to discover that the one person who makes him feel like he can breathe is Blue, the girl who once ruined all his best adventures.
When mysterious forces lead to disappearances throughout Balavata, Blue and Kellan must work together to find the truth. What they discover will lead them to the darkest reaches of the kingdom, and to the most painful moments of their pasts. When romance is forbidden and evil is rising, can Blue save those she loves, even if it costs her everything?
Synopsis from Goodreads
The first time I read this synopsis, I wasn't actually sure what fairy tale Redwine was going to be retelling (I hadn't seen the cover yet), so I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that she'd decided to play with the story of Cinderella. Redwine had done a great job reimagining Snow White's story in The Shadow Queen, so I was excited to read her rendition of a Cinderella story. These are traditionally relatively weak women in their fairy tales and I was ready for them to get a major upgrade.
My Favourite Retelling of the Series
This is definitely, hands-down my favourite retelling of a classic fairytale that Redwine has given to us. I adored Blue and Kellen’s relationship and the way that it developed, I loved the inclusion of Nessa and sign language, and I thought that the story was really nicely developed. I thought the Blue was such a strong character and really held her own throughout this book. Cinderella is classically a tag-a-long in her own story, often waiting for others to rescue her and does little to help herself. In this case, Blue was on equal footing throughout the story with Kellen and I really think that made their relationship that much stronger. It honestly just makes sense that they would be drawn together because they share so many of the same values: honesty, love for their people, and the need to protect others. My only complaint is that it took so long for them to kiss, but I was OK with it by the end.
An Excellent Villain
Redwine does a really good job with female villains and we haven’t seen one this good since The Shadow Queen. Dinah is everything you would expect from an evil character. She’s manipulative manipulative, she’s cruel, she literally cares about nobody except for herself, and her end goal is simply to seize as much power as possible. I thought it was brilliant the way that her story develops, and we really see her show her true colours by the end. At first I questioned why we were told so quickly that she was the villain, but it actually made the story that much better because we could see her downward spiral into just being power-hungry beyond sanity. So many moments between her and Blue made me really uncomfortable because I didn’t know what Dinah was willing to do to win. She was a great adversary for this story and I really liked how the evil stepmother in the classic Cinderella story really stepped it up a notch in this retelling.
Slow Start, Intense End
My only complaint about the story was that it seem to take a really long time to move the story along. There’s a lot of backstory that needs to be established, which I completely appreciate needing, but it still felt like there was a lot of chunkiness in this book that I would’ve liked to see removed. A lot of the conversations between Blue and Kellen seem a bit repetitive near the middle, and I would’ve like to see the whole story move a little bit faster. On the other hand, the ending is so intense, and moves so quickly that you are just rushing to read it so you can find out what happens! I thought it was a really strong ending to the book, and I was very, very happy with how Redwine tied up all the loose ends.
I really enjoyed The Blood Spell and thought that Redwine did a great job of creating a new version of the Cinderella fairy tale. I loved how magic was still involved in the story, but not in the Disney way some might be expecting. If you've enjoyed the rest of the series (The Shadow Queen, The Wish Granter, and The Traitor Prince), you'll definitely enjoy this book!
FINAL RATING: 4/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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