The Blood Spell

448p. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. Feb. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062653017.
Gr 7 Up—Blue works hard to disguise the magic in her blood, especially when she's working on her attempts at turning metal into gold. Magic has been illegal in the kingdom of Balavata for 16 years, ever since a blood wraith was imprisoned on the outskirts of the royal city, not far from the cottage where Blue and her father live. She's worried about the homeless children in the city, who have started to go missing. The protagonist is also giving alchemy lessons to Nessa, the young princess and Blue's dear friend. Who has time for magic when Kellan, the irritatingly charming crown prince, is suddenly hanging around all the time? This reimagining of "Cinderella" presents all the markers of the fairy tale, complete with a magical shoe that secures Blue's fate, but Redwine has crafted a world filled with dark magic and intrigue as the setting for her story. Blue is an active and passionate protagonist who is invested in helping others, frequently at her own expense. The romance between Blue and the prince is a slow, simmering burn as childhood antagonism turns to something that is deep and true.
VERDICT For general purchase and fans of romantic fantasy.

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