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The Blood Keeper (The Blood Journals) Library Binding – August 28, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

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.

Review

KIRKUS REVIEWS
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.

VOYA
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.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Blood Journals
  • Library Binding: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (August 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375967346
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375967344
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.4 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,487,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tessa Gratton has wanted to be a paleontologist or a wizard since she was seven. Alas, she turned out too impatient to hunt dinosaurs, but is still searching for a someone to teach her magic. After traveling the world with her military family, she acquired a BA (and the important parts of an MA) in Gender Studies, then settled down in Kansas with her partner, her cats, and her mutant dog. She now spends her days staring at the sky and telling stories about monsters, magic, and teenagers. Visit her at tessagratton.com, @tessagratton, tessagratton.tumblr.com.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Lane on September 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The Blood Keeper is a dark magical story that takes time and patience to get into, but is well worth the effort. It's a companion novel to Blood Magic with previous characters showing up, but focused on a whole new cast.

In this story, there are two POVs in the present, Mab and Will, and one from the past, Evie.

Mab is the new Deacon, a leader and guide of the blood witches, after Arthur the previous Deacon passed away. Arthur, Grandma Lyn, Donna and a hodge-podge group living at The Pink House are more of a family to Mab than her own mother, Josephine. Her mother dropped her off there when she was two years-old, only visiting and staying occasionally. We know from Blood Magic, Josephine was busy tracking down and stalking her love, or more accurately, her obsession, Philip. This ended tragically for Josephine, Philip, and his wife. Thankfully, Mab is nothing like her mother, and it really was a blessing in disguise that Arthur and Granny Lyn raised her. Arthur's final request before he died was for Mab to "destroy those roses," yet everything Mab tries, fails. Finally, to get to the bottom of this mystery, Mab fashions a "doll" (not really what you'd call a doll, more of a mud-monster) with the spirit of the roses and the curse that dwells in them. Little does she know what evil she's about to unleash.

There had been a secret planted under my bedroom window all my life. I knew I should have spent my creating a spell to burn the curse away, to turn the roses into ash and spread the pieces on the wind and on the river. It's what Arthur told me to do. But that isn't what I chose.

Will knows what he doesn't want. He doesn't want to follow in his father's and brother's footsteps into a military career.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RobinM on August 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
My daughter and I have been waiting for the second book of the Blood Journals hoping that it would meet our expectations after our delight with Blood Magic.
Often second books are a let down but I am happy to report: NOT this one.

The Blood Keeper exceeds Blood Magic in my opinion. It is rich and deep and poetic, taking all the great elements of Gratton's first book and expanding them.

I loved these things:

This was a stand alone book I could have enjoyed without reading Blood Magic.
BUT as a fan, I loved that the story grew past Silla and Nick.
I loved how Gratton took the original cast and spread out and connected these characters to the ones in Blood Magic. The weaving of story, past and present, was excellent.

I loved the Magic. Yes, it was bloody. There was lots of blood. But the magic was primordial and ancient and the philosophy was so beautiful and natural and profound. What Gratton says about connection is beyond story telling. It is myth making and quote worthy. This is not YA fluff with sketchy lessons for our young people. Blood aside, I support the themes and messages as very positive influences for this audience, especially young women.

I loved the characters. Mab is just amazing. For once, we have a confident and self aware lead character rather than the angst ridden we so often see in YA. When Mab makes a mistake, it is just that. An error in judgement. And she problem solves with strength and faith, she does not freeze or whine or ask someone else to fix it. Now that is good role modeling.
Will is also completely believeable. He has suffered great loss and struggles with his place in his family but it does not make him weak. He is a real boy who loves his family and realizes the hero within.
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Format: Hardcover
Poetically haunting, gorgeous prose, and unseen magic in the natural world provide a fantastic sequel to Book I, BLOOD MAGIC.

From my opening statement, you can probably conclude the direction my opinion of this book will go. It. Was. Awesome. And for many reasons.

At the onset, Mab seemed torn, struggling to figure out herself, her family, and her purpose in life. The difference from this natural teenage mental battle was Mab's real struggle revolved around strange roses that could not be destroyed. First impression of Mab was creepy, which I personally liked. The scene permeated in eerie fog, but teased my curiosity to continue reading. She was just plain interesting, strange, and different. And although the story's beginnings were slow - at least for me, I soon recognized the need for such a start. Gratton had to give the reader a large amount of information in order to properly set up the story.

As facts fed me, a picture of nature's invisible mist and magic blotted to the surface, posing questions of nature itself and what might truly be there that we ignore everyday. It wasn't long before I honestly couldn't put the book down.

This tale was superbly written. A story within a story, love story within a love story, and a mystery within a mystery purposely mingled throughout the pages to bring the past to the present and the future to new possibilities. Elements were strategically revealed through three POV characters, who gave interesting views of nature's magic and the world it creates. Mab and Will shared their world of the present, while a mysterious third party unearthed the past and history of the land Mab lived on.

I got a completely different feel for the story, depending on which point-of view I was seeing through - Mab or Will's.
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