Review – Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith


Title Bloodleaf (Bloodleaf #1)

Author Crystal Smith

Description from Amazon

Princess Aurelia is a prisoner to her crown and the heir that nobody wants. Surrounded by spirits and banned from using her blood-magic, Aurelia flees her country after a devastating assassination attempt. To escape her fate, Aurelia disguises herself as a commoner in a new land and discovers a happiness her crown has never allowed. As she forges new bonds and perfects her magic, she begins to fall for a man who is forbidden to rule beside her. But the ghosts that haunt Aurelia refuse to abandon her, and she finds herself succumbing to their call as they expose a nefarious plot that only she can defeat. Will she be forced to choose between the weight of the crown and the freedom of her new life?

Initial Thoughts

I have had this book on my shelf since March and I just over the weekend decided to finally give it a read.  I didn’t have any reservations about it, I just hadn’t gotten to it.  I think I missed the initial hype on Instagram over it so I didn’t feel like I was missing out like I have with some other new releases.

Some Things I Liked

  • The magic system and world building.  I liked the idea of two kingdoms connected by promises and diplomacy.  I thought the interactions between the two were very interesting and made for a unique political landscape.  I’m excited to see more of the world Crystal Smith created.
  • The pace of the story.  I felt that this story took an appropriate amount of time to complete.  What I mean is that sometimes, I read books where the main characters travel the span of an entire continent, fight in like 3 wars, and fall in love in about a week and a half.  This book spanned several months and had a realistic timeline.  I have to respect that.

Some Things I Wasn’t Crazy About

  • Some of the plot twists were super transparent.  I don’t have a huge problem with that, but some of the “surprise” elements felt like I could have seen them from a mile away.
  • The death toll.  Once again, I find the death toll in a book too high.  Don’t get me invested in characters only to take them away!  My fragile little heart can’t take it!
  • The ending.  That scene right at the end where Aurelia literally said “Oh, I forgot”.  Major face palm moment.  I thought that was a major oversight for a character that I never considered stupid, until that moment.  It definitely makes me seriously consider my timeline for the next book.

Series Value

I think this series has a lot of potential.  I would absolutely continue with it, but, I think that I would wait until the next two books are out (completing the series), before I read them.  The ending of Bloodleaf was satisfying enough that I don’t feel desperate to read Greythorne right now.

Final Thoughts

I liked this book a lot.  Some of the plot elements were obvious to me, but then again, I consider myself to be the Sherlock Holmes of plots.  No clue left unthought about.  Therefore, I think a reader with fewer over thinking tendencies would really love this book.  Also, I’d like to say, while the plot twists were transparent at times, I always liked the directions they took.  They made the story progress in the way I wanted to see it unfold.


Recommendations for Further Reading

  • Greythorne by Crystal Smith — this book will not be released until March of 2020 but, if you liked Bloodleaf, I’d strongly consider the next book in the series.
  • Defy by Sara B. Larson — so many of the same elements in these stories.  Trilogies, characters pretending to be someone they’re not, secret royals, and forbidden magic.  Definitely give this series a try if you liked Bloodleaf.
  • Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan — technically, I haven’t finished this one yet, but, if you liked the arranged marriage, people aren’t what they seem elements of Bloodleaf, do yourself a favor and check out Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon.

2 thoughts on “Review – Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith

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