Review: The Blood Keeper by Tessa Gratton
from Goodreads.com: Paranormal romance fans who are looking to up the ante will be drawn to this tale of horror, fantasy, and romance. For Mab Prowd, the practice of blood magic is as natural as breathing. It’s all she’s ever known. Growing up on an isolated farm in Kansas with other practitioners may have kept her from making friends her own age, but it has also given her a sense of purpose—she’s connected to the land and protective of the magic. And she is able to practice it proudly and happily out in the open with only the crows as her companions. Mab will do anything to keep the ancient practice alive and guard its secrets. But one morning while she is working out a particularly tricky spell she encounters Will, a local boy who is trying to exorcise some mundane personal demons. He experiences Mab’s magic in a way his mind cannot comprehend and is all too happy to end their chance meeting. But secrets that were kept from Mab by the earlier generations of blood magicians have come home to roost. And she and Will are drawn back together, time again by this dangerous force looking to break free from the earth and reclaim its own dark power.
My Take: This book lives up to it’s title: if you are the least bit squicky about blood, this is not the book for you. Blood is mixed in potions and food, splattered, smeared and dripped on everything and everyone. Lots of cutting and pain and … squicky. In this age of HIV it seems a bit dangerous, or creepy (like Angelina carrying a vial of Billy Bob’s blood).
The Blood Keeper takes its time to build. It is slow and sometimes I wished it would just get on with it, and that’s not just because the book clocks in at 432 pages. However, the slow pace suited the timeless feel of this story, set in a small Kansas farmhouse in the heat of the summer. I enjoyed the back and forth between Mab and Will’s modern narratives and Evelyn’s letters written in the past.
I liked the heroine, Mab Prowd. because she was so confident and content in her life: she knows what her calling is and she loves what she does. Will is also a great character, because he’s precisely the opposite – his life has changed drastically and he doesn’t know what he wants from life or what he wants to do. The death of his brother and another smaller event reminded him of the uncertainty of life. It brings him to the lake where he meets Mab, with all her magic and mystery. These two characters are the heart of this book, and I loved them both.
Evelyn and Arthur are two characters we get to know well through the letters interspersed between chapters. Evelyn tells her story about coming to Arthur’s home and learning about her magic, and the other magic practitioners who live there. We get to know Arthur through Evelyn’s eyes as she falls in love with him, but also through the eyes of a grieving Mab, who misses her mentor and father figure.
I have not read the first book in the series, but this is a companion book and not a sequel so I didn’t feel lost.
See you in the STACKS!