Book Review: A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy (ARC)

A River of Royal Blood

Author: Amanda Joy

Publication Date: 29 October 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 368

Publisher: Putnam

Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of marrow and blood–a dark and terrible magick that hasn’t been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its last known practitioner was Queen Raina, who toppled the native khimaer royalty and massacred thousands, including her own sister, eight generations ago, thus beginning the Rival Heir tradition. Living in Raina’s long and dark shadow, Eva must now face her older sister, Isa, in a battle to the death if she hopes to ascend to the Ivory Throne–because in the Queendom of Myre only the strongest, most ruthless rulers survive.

When Eva is attacked by an assassin just weeks before the battle with her sister, she discovers there is more to the attempt on her life than meets the eye–and it isn’t just her sister who wants to see her dead. As tensions escalate, Eva is forced to turn to a fey instructor of mythic proportions and a mysterious and handsome khimaer prince for help in growing her magick into something to fear. Because despite the love she still has for her sister, Eva will have to choose: Isa’s death or her own.

A River of Royal Blood is an enthralling debut set in a lush North African inspired fantasy world that subtly but powerfully challenges our notions of power, history, and identity.

Before I even get started on this review, I want to take minute to gush about how incredible this cover is! I about died when I saw the cover reveal, and all I wanted was to hold its gorgeousness in my hands. Anyways, now onto the book.

From the first few pages, A River of Royal Blood immediately pulls you into a beautifully vivid and dark fantasy world where sisters must fight to the death to prove their ability to rule as the True Heir and Queen of Myre. Princesses Isdaora and Evalina are night and day when it comes to looks and the magick abilities that they each possess. Eva possesses the magick of blood and marrow. Her magick is known for bringing death and destruction. At the age of nine, the Queen separates Eva and Isa from each other after an incident with Eva’s magick leaves Isa injured.

Now that Eva approaches her eighteenth birthday, it is almost time for her to face her sister in the ultimate battle for the Queendom. Weeks leading up to Eva’s birthday, tensions with Isa are at an all time high. When an assassination attempts are made on her life, it seems that Isa is not the only one that wants Eva dead. Eva must enlist the help of Baccha (leader of the Wild Hunt) and Aketo (a mysterious khimaer prince) to teach her how to use her magick and defend herself once and for all.

I honestly couldn’t help getting swept up in this incredible story. The magick and world building was absolutely incredible. We learn about feuding races and each of their legacies. I loved learning the history behind Meyre, Dracol, and the Rhoune lands, as well as the magick and abilities that the people of those lands possessed. I thought that Baccha’s historical retellings very much felt like those intricate fairytales that are passed down over generations, and I was completely entranced by them.

I found all of the characters to be intriguing and complex. My favorites were definitely Baccha and Aketo. Baccha clearly has secrets to hide, but there’s something mysterious and alluring about an immortal being as old as he is. Aketo is the gorgeous, quiet type who definitely wears he feelings on his sleeve so to speak. There’s definitely a budding romance in this tale, but it’s unclear if Eva’s sights are set on Baccha or Aketo…to be fair, I was rooting for both because each one of them has electrifying chemistry with Eva.

Overall, if you love an emotionally charged dark fantasy wrought with incredible world building, magick, and a sibling rivalry unlike no other then definitely read A River of Royal Blood!

Thank you to Penguin Teen for providing an ARC. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

Grab your copy of A River of Royal Blood here.

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