Thank you to BookishFirst & Putnam for an ARC of this book in exchange for a review.
So. I just finished 'A River of Royal Blood' by Amanda Joy, and I'm mad. It's the crazy-making kind of mad that only a voracious reader would understand when a great book is left on such a cliffhanger. How long do I have to wait until the next installment comes out to see where this leads?!!
The cover of this book initially pulled me in with its gorgeous depiction of two girls, both so different in appearance, but who you almost-immediately find out are sisters. The differences don't only lie in appearance, however, as you come to find out that there's a rivalry between the two that goes deeper than your average sibling-rivalry. In this case, it's a prophesized rivalry that means one must kill the other in order to eventually become Queen of Myre.
The kingdom where Evalina & Isadora live is made up of four types of beings: humans, bloodkin (vampire-like creatures), fey & khimaer (half animal, half human). Humans had originally inherited magick from the fey & then began to colonize & take over the kingdom (as humans usually do). While there are many types of magick in this world, the most rare is the magick of marrow & blood. The most powerful queen in history, Raina, had this magick, and because it is so rare, nobody remembers how it us used.
When the rival heir to the throne, Eva, is born with magick of marrow & blood, the kingdom is sure that she will eventually become queen. But Eva can't access her magick, and as it gets closer to her 17th birthday, she starts to find out the real reason(s) why she has had such a hard time finding that vital part of her being. Her search for magick takes her out of the palace, where she meets historical creatures, learns stories of her ancestry, and becomes the target of an assassin, among other adventures.
The book is set in a lush world of beautiful fantasy creatures. The descriptions pull you into this magical world, and it almost feels like you're right there alongside Eva & her court. I'd highly recommend this book to fans of YA fantasy, and I can't wait for the next installment from Amanda Joy. 5 stars.