Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Friends with ARCs | The Blood Spell + The Beast's Heart

The Blood Spell is a Cinderella-inspired tale set in the same world as the rest of the Ravenspire series. It follows two main characters: Blue de la Cour (a girl with magic in her blood who desires to use her ability to find a way to help Balavata’s homeless) and Kellan Renard (the crown prince who must balance politics and power as he chooses his future queen from among the head families of Balavata). The pair have known each other since childhood, though there’s no love lost there as Blue has been a constant foil to all of Kellan’s adventures and Kellan has always been a thorn in Blue’s side. But when mysterious forces put the kingdom and its citizens in danger, Blue and Kellan must team up to figure out what’s going on and how to save everyone… no matter what the cost.

I do love a fairytale retelling, but it’s a rarity for me to enjoy the ones inspired by Cinderella. Additionally, I was a little concerned going into it, as I hadn’t enjoyed the last novel set in this world all that much. So, it was with a little hesitation that I dove into this story. Friends, I’m pleased to report that The Blood Spell surpassed all the expectations I had for it! I really enjoyed immersing myself in this tale from start to finish. Redwine expertly wove elements of the original Cinderella tale (in ways that were recognizable, yet specific to her retelling) into a story rife with political intrigue, magical mayhem and a healthy dash of family, friendship and romance. But what particularly cemented my love for this novel were the two main characters, Blue and Kellan, who both popped off the page from the very start and who won me over almost immediately – both as individuals and as a pair. I’m happy that I adored The Blood Spell so much (I’m seriously giddy just thinking about it) and, in case it wasn’t obvious, I’d highly recommend checking this one out. 

What is your favorite adaptation of Cinderella? I’m going to go a little old school and say that I adored the Rodger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella film released in 1997. First of all, Brandy plays Cinderella and Whoopi Goldberg plays the Fairy Godmother and they are both delightful and well-cast. Second of all, the prince is played by Paolo Montalban… who is Filipino! I just loved this particular version of Cinderella when I was growing up, and now I’m tempted to track down a copy so I can watch it again. (Two other runners-up are Ever After, which is beautifully done, and A Cinderella Story, which puts a fun rom-com twist to the story.)

The Blood Spell by C.J. Redwine | Series: Ravenspire #4 | Publisher: Balzer + Bray | Publication Date: February 12, 2019 | Source: e-ARC downloaded from Edelweiss (Thank you!)


We all know how the Beauty and the Beast story goes – a man treats an enchantress terribly and is cursed to live out a beastly, solitary existence, a father seeks refuge in the Beast’s home during a storm and a daughter exchanges her father’s life for her own. The Beast’s Heart doesn’t stray from this set-up, but it does put its own spin on the classic fairytale by narrating it from the perspective of the Beast.

As already mentioned earlier, I am partial to fairytale retellings, and Beauty and the Beast happens to be one of the fairytales that I am always excited to find retellings for. The Beast’s Heart offers readers a glimpse into the Beast’s mind and heart as the story of Beauty and the Beast unfolds, which is the most interesting aspect of this novel. The author’s writing style did take me a couple of chapters to get used to, but soon enough, I got used to her depiction of the setting, the characters (including the rest of Isabeau’s family) and the relationships. Unfortunately, because it was basically just the same exact story as its source material, it isn’t a standout read. I also found it disappointing that I didn’t feel any more invested in the Beast, since I had expected this novel to offer a chance for me to be more sympathetic to him and interested in his character. It was, to put it plainly, just fine, but I do feel like it’ll ultimately be forgettable to me in the end. 

What fairytale would you want to read from the guy’s point of view? This is actually a difficult question for me to answer! But I think, in the end, I’m going to go with Sleeping Beauty. I’d want to know what motivated the prince to try and slay a dragon and rescue a princess, and whether his reason was really romantic or more on the practical side or maybe something entirely unexpected.

The Beast's Heart by Leife Shallcrowss | Publisher: Berkley | Publication Date: February 12, 2019 | Source: ARC received from the publisher (Thank you!)

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