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- Publisher: Random House Children's Books
- Publication date: 8/28/2012
- Pages: 432
- Source: eARC from Netgalley/Publisher for review
Paranormal romance fans who are looking to up the ante will be drawn to this tale of horror, fantasy, and romance. For Mab Prowd, the practice of blood magic is as natural as breathing. It's all she's ever known. Growing up on an isolated farm in Kansas with other practitioners may have kept her from making friends her own age, but it has also given her a sense of purpose—she's connected to the land and protective of the magic. And she is able to practice it proudly and happily out in the open with only the crows as her companions. Mab will do anything to keep the ancient practice alive and guard its secrets. But one morning while she is working out a particularly tricky spell she encounters Will, a local boy who is trying to exorcise some mundane personal demons. He experiences Mab's magic in a way his mind cannot comprehend and is all too happy to end their chance meeting. But secrets that were kept from Mab by the earlier generations of blood magicians have come home to roost. And she and Will are drawn back together, time again by this dangerous force looking to break free from the earth and reclaim its own dark power.
After reading Blood Magic last year I was super excited about reading The Blood Keeper. This is a companion novel, not a sequel. I was hoping to love this as much as I loved The Blood Keeper, but unfortunately I didn't. I did still like this, but I didn't really feel the characters and it took a long time to get into. I liked the creepiness and the magical aspect of it, but I felt really distracted by a lot of the other things going on in the book. This book goes from present day in Mab and Will to a letter that Evelyn had written to Arthur. It was pretty disorienting at first. I did eventually get used to it, and the story picked up, but honestly it was about 200 pages into the book before I really started to get into the story.
We get to know Mab a little bit first. The book starts with her bringing a doll made out of the earth in the rose garden to life with her blood and a crows sacrifice. Awesome way to start out the book. She is the Deacon since Arthur is gone. She is very talented with her blood magic, but still young. As the story progresses we learn a bit more about her and her background. I did like Mab, but I never connected with her. She is smart, brave, and wise beyond her years, but she still does have some typical teenager traits. I liked her interactions with Will, but they weren't convincing to me.
Will was interesting, but kind of boring. His family is a military family. His father, and both of his brothers. That is not the path he wants to choose though. Losing his brother Adam really made him realize that he wants to make his own choices and do what he wants. He doesn't want to join the Marines or the Navy or whatever just because he's expected to. He ends up getting linked to Mab in a crazy sort of way and they actually help each other besides the whole magic thing. I never felt like we got to know Will though. He was there, and we knew what he was going through, but I never felt like we got to know the real him.
So don't get me wrong, the writing is good and there is all sorts of stuff going on in this book, but I felt like so much of it was dragged out and the important things weren't really pushed enough. I felt bored reading a lot of this book and though I was interested to see where everything was going, it wasn't a page turner for me. I wanted to love this, I really did. It just didn't grab me the way that Blood Magic did. There is still some really cool and dark magic that I really enjoyed reading, but the characters were bland and the story was slow. Perhaps at a different time I might like it more. 3 out of 5 stars.