FICTION
Bloodleaf
384p. HMH. Mar. 2019. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781328496300. POP
COPY ISBN
Gr 9 Up–In fear for her life following an assassination attempt and accusations of practicing witchcraft, Princess Aurelia is sent to the neighboring kingdom of Achleva to meet her future husband, Valentin, and gain some protection against the charges levied against her. Shortly before she arrives at the city gates, Aurelia's escort turns on her, demanding her documents of introduction and takes her brother and sister (who plans to assume Aurelia's identity) to the castle. She narrowly escapes death and eludes her escort long enough to hide in the poorer section of the city. Befriended by Kate, a seamstress, and her husband Nathaniel, Aurelia manages to live incognito for some time until she meets Zan, a quiet and somewhat mysterious young man who seems to know a great deal more about the castle and the royal family than a street rat should. The writing is strong and engaging if sometimes convoluted. However, romance, danger, and magic make for a winning combination that will keep readers glued to the pages long after bedtime.
VERDICT A lovely, dark, and twisted fantasy for those of who have never quite outgrown fairy tales.

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