From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-This somewhat ponderous companion to Blood Magic (Random, 2011) only glancingly involves the romantic couple of the first book, but it shares the same blood-sacrifice-without-vampires witchcraft, this time on the Kansas prairie land protected by its leader. Mab, daughter of the villain in the first book, is assuming her duties as Deacon, magical head of the blood witch family, after the death of Arthur, her mentor and surrogate father, who raised her as his "little queen." When Mab creates a magical creature imbued with the hostile spirit of a rose garden she was meant to destroy, the animated mud-man crashes into Will and his two dogs, bringing the two teens into a romance and a battle to win Will's health and freedom from the evil curse that has befallen him. Combed among the strands of a boy-girl dual-point-of-view story is yet a third: the account of Evelyn, a woman who sought blood magic sanctuary and eventually love with Arthur several decades before. Eventually, the significant link between the two women's stories comes into focus. Meanwhile, all manner of romanticized bloodletting, essential to the working of this magic, seems to glorify self-inflicted wounds. That said, the world could still be a rich one for patient readers of supernatural romance who prefer witches who must use blood and the earth, not wands, to work spells, more Wicca than Hogwarts. Characterization mostly works, but the narrative drags a bit until the last quarter. Its bloody spell may still bind readers old and new.-Suzanne Gordon, Peachtree Ridge High School, Suwanee, GAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Blood and roses, love and death, past and present, the mundane and the magical; all intertwine in this dark fantasy, a stand-alone companion to the well-received Blood Magic
(2011). Will Sanger, high school soccer star, only wanted to free himself from his recurrent nightmares. Mab Prowd, neophyte guardian of the blood magic, only wanted to understand the curse buried beneath her rose garden. But when their choices bind their fates together, an old love story and a long-concealed crime begin to creep into the present. As Will is forced to confront his family's recent tragedy and the demands of their expectations, Mab is called upon to devise rituals and seize powers well beyond her training. Their alternating perspectives interweave to form a nightmare of steadily building desire, obsession, sacrifice and violence. The power of this narrative lies in the gorgeous prose, lush with a gothic sensibility, ripe with sensual images of horrific beauty. . . . It's all about feeling: Passion, heartbreak, yearning and dread bleed from every page. A perfect book for those who loved Wuthering Heights
and are looking for an essentially American gothic.
Mab Prowd's blood magic is an essential part of her. Her new leadership role as deacon, however, is proving difficult to grow into. She is now responsible for the magical upkeep of acres of land and for the well-being of her extensive magical family, all while still grieving the loss of her beloved mentor, the former deacon. Will Sanger, a typical high school student, has suffered recent traumas that have made him question his previously well-ordered existence. When Will and Mab meet, they are unexpectedly bound together by the evil of an old curse and must fight for both their freedom and to find their places in the world. This is a companion novel to the excellent Blood Magic (Random House, 2011/VOYA June 2011). Mab and Will are new, but characters from the first volume of the series do play a part in this story. Mab and Will narrate in alternating chapters, each speaking with a believable, interesting voice. This is a paranormal story, full of magic and curses, but it is also a coming-of-age tale. The writing is lyrical and dark, deftly evoking both tragedy and beauty. The characters are well drawn and sympathetic. The plot is nicely paced, moving along with a perfect balance of suspense, excitement, and introspection. Will and Mab grow a great deal on their journey together, as they explore the nature of responsibility and sacrifice. This book will be eagerly anticipated by fans of the first novel and is a must for any collection that serves readers of paranormal fiction.