I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This book may be unsuitable for people under 16 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug use, alcohol use, language, and/or violence.Bloodrealms by Aurora Whittet
Series: Bloodmark Saga #2
Also in this series: Bloodmark
Published by Wise Ink on October 31st 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Source: ARC from publisher
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Werewolf princess Ashling Boru's eighteenth birthday is only a year away, which means that she only has twelve months before she is claimed and fulfills her prophecy to unite the packs and lead her people. Her father decrees that her four suitors must fight in the Bloodrealms, the werewolves' ancient underground fighting world, and the winner will have King Boru's choice to win Ashling's hand. The wolf laws are rigid and barbaric, and Ashling's illicit love for Grey, if discovered, will mean his death. But when Ashling and Grey get trapped in the blood-soaked depths of the Bloodrealms, they find ancient horrors far greater than Ashling's father's rule.
With betrayal around every corner and old nemeses set to destroy Ashling, she is more divided than ever between the destiny she didn't choose and the love that she did. To make matters worse, her decision will not only set the course of her future, but the future of her entire race.
Bloodrealms is the second novel in Whittet’s Bloodmark saga.
There were a few errors but mostly the writing was very good.
The book had a very slow start- it wasn’t until about halfway that it really picked up, and then I absolutely could not put it down. It was captivating.
I absolutely could not put it down. It was captivating.
In general, I felt like this sequel had way more substance than the first book, which is surprising to me based on the first book itself but also because sequels don’t generally tend to live up to the first book (to my way of thinking).
I’ll start with the negative. I never really felt the relationship between Ashling and Grey. Sure, it’s very convincing and I’m sure it’s everything it seems to be, but I’ve never really been able to get behind it. Which is disappointing because it’s a major part of the story. But I personally tend to focus more on Ashling as a person. She’s fascinating.
The story mainly focuses on her growing into her role as a leader to fulfill the prophecy. But I feel that she’s doing it for more reasons than just the prophecy. She’s doing it because it’s who she’s meant to become. She feels instinctively that she has to protect people- everyone good, both humans and wolves and even the misguided enemy. She doesn’t truly realize the extend of this until the end, but it’s incredibly important that she does. She gains much-needed confidence in herself, and it allows her to stand up against her father. That was a huge breakthrough. Throughout both books until the end of this one, he was a looming presence in her life that she both feared and craved the approval of. And he certainly didn’t do anything to make it easy to warm to him. The only thing we had to go on was Ashling’s mother’s love for him. And he showed his true colors when it mattered. But when Ashling was able to stand up to him, that broke a barrier between them and I feel like a huge burden will be lifted off her shoulders from now on. Now she will truly be able to be Queen.
A really interesting point to note was also the contrast of identity in the Bloodrealms and outside of them. Outside the realms, it meant everything that she was a Princess, not to mention the one of the prophecy. Everyone was trying to protect her and they continued to try to make decisions for her and basically control her in some way. But in the Bloodrealms, it meant absolutely nothing that she was a Princess. There were no rules, and she was left to take care of herself. I felt that this truly allowed her to grow as a person. No more was she constantly in the care of others. No more could she always rely on someone to save her. That was a huge breakthrough. Especially after Grey wasn’t there. She had to find her own way or be helped by random people. This definitely contributed to her protective feelings in regard to her people. She realized who she was and that she was meant to love and protect, especially those who help her.
She realized who she was and that she was meant to love and protect, especially those who help her.
The suitors were an interesting story in their own right. They each wanted to win for different reasons, and only half of them actually wanted her. Eamon was probably the most interesting character in the entire story. The most mysterious, and arguably bipolar. His mystery is one of the most satisfying to figure out, although it is quite sad. And just for the record? I never trusted Odin. It’s just a shame it took her longer to figure that out.
Another huge underlying element was her memories of Adomnan. She basically had PTSD. He haunted her all the time. I don’t think she’ll ever get over it, but talking about it definitely helped. But in a way, it’s a good thing, because it means she won’t be the innocent unspoiled girl that everyone expects to be queen. Those memories, combined with the hardships she faced in the Bloodrealms, will help her be a strong and empathetic Queen. Because now she knows the true evil in the world firsthand, and she will do anything to stop it and protect her people from it.
Because now she knows the true evil in the world firsthand, and she will do anything to stop it and protect her people from it.
Also, I must mention that I did almost cry at a few points in the book. I was totally not expecting to, and I wasn’t even sure I felt for the characters that much, but I was overwhelmed and everything just sort of hit me all at once. It was beautiful.
As for the ending, there was a little bit of deus ex machina and a little bit of luck (it was just kinda unrealistic, or convenient) but there were some parts, like the breakthrough with her father, that absolutely solidified it into a fantastic conclusion.
Good vs. Bad
This book left me absolutely stunned and blown away. It started off really slowly, but at about halfway I literally could not put it down. There were feels everywhere that I did not expect. The plot and messages are very well done and explored thoroughly and the character motivations were intriguing. The romance was well done even if I wasn’t exactly feeling it, and some things were a little bit convenient (very few though) but the writing and ending were great and satisfying. Would I read more by this author? Without a doubt. Would I recommend this to others? Definitely.