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I Belong

DNF Review: Bloodwitch by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

BloodwitchTitle: Bloodwitch

Author: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: The Maeve’ra (Book #1)

Publication Date: May 13th, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 288 Pages

ISBN-10: 0385743033 (Teens@Random)

ISBN-13: 978-0385743037 (Teens@Random)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin


Vance Ehecatl was raised with every luxury he could imagine in a beautiful greenhouse within the powerful empire of Midnight. Vampires are the only guardians Vance has ever known since he was abandoned by his shapeshifter family as a baby quetzal, and he is grateful to them for generously providing for all of his needs. When an act of violence forces Vance from his sheltered home, he is startled to meet Malachi Obsidian, a fellow shapeshifter with conflicting ideas about Midnight and its leader, Mistress Jeshickah.

Malachi claims Vance is a bloodwitch, who Jeshickah and her trainers, Jaguar and Taro, are trying to control. Vance doesn’t know anything about the rare and destructive magic Malachi says he possesses, and he can’t believe Jeshickah would use it to hurt others. But when his friends begin falling ill, Vance starts to realize his perfect world may not be as flawless as it seems. Now Vance must decide who to trust—the vampires he’s always relied upon, or the shapeshifters who despise them.

Quick & Dirty: There are redeeming qualities. However, they were not enough to hook me or connect me to the plot or characters, and in the end, I couldn’t do it anymore.

Opening Sentence: Yesterday, as Lady Brina worked on her latest masterpiece, she shared with me a myth she had recently learned about quetzals.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Vance is a shapeshifter in the possession of vampires. He’s always adored his masters, but people begin to warn him — he has powers, and they will use him. Will Vance find the truth and himself?

I got 50% through Bloodwitch before I had to put it down. It killed me inside; this will be the first review book I’ve ever DNFed.  I just couldn’t deal with the book any longer. I had been on vacation when I read this, in Hawaii; the perfect reading environment. Imagine pure white beaches, swaying palm trees, the scent of honeysuckle, a light breeze… Paradise. And yet I simply couldn’t get through this story. I had to push myself to read pages at a time before giving myself a break. It got to a point I realized that I didn’t care what happened, which is rare for me, and I saw no reasons to continue. Nevertheless, I pushed forward in a second attempt when back from Hawaii, wanting to give it a second chance. Once again I failed to connect.

Vance is so naive. I understand, he’s had a sheltered upbringing, but 50% through the book and not a shred of development. He seems so innocent for his age. I didn’t like the other characters either. For example, Vance’s master at the beginning of the story, a vampire whom I found stiff and rude. The thing about books is that usually that makes me feel angry towards the character, or irritated. In this novel I simply noted in the back of my head that she wasn’t the nicest. Then there was the guy that first warns Vance to not be so trustworthy of everyone, I don’t remember his name. The only name I remember is Vance’s because I looked it up. Anyway, that guy didn’t make me connect either.

The world building in this book was the only interesting concept, but sadly wasn’t enough. The idea of shapeshifters was cool, and I haven’t read many books with an idea alike to this one, unless you count werewolves as shapeshifters. There were also vampires, but all of those seemed slightly odd and detached. I found a few plot holes in the half of the novel I did read and there were some parts of the story the writing was more shaky than others. I’d have to reread a few passages to clarify what had just gone down.

I stuck through the book for a reasonably long time before I decided it wasn’t something I wanted to spend time with. I wish that I had given up the first time I DNFed so I wouldn’t have had to go through the shame of stopping again, but aw well. It makes me sad to write these words, knowing that I am turning away readers from this book by saying I didn’t enjoy it. The cover and premise is nice enough. There are redeeming qualities. However, they were not enough to hook me or connect me to the plot or characters, and in the end, I couldn’t do it anymore. Maybe other readers will have more success? Please realize I’m not trying to bash the book or say it’s not worth buying, but these are my opinions, and I didn’t enjoy the story. I would recommend this to fans of middle grade; the writing reminded me of middle grade more so than YA in its simplicity and fantasy. I think that there are readers who will like this. But not lovers of action or romance or intrigue like I am, unfortunately.

UPDATE: found this out after the review! This is a companion/spin-off sort of novel! This makes more sense, now I understand why they didn’t explain the world as much before diving in. I can’t see myself reading the first book of this series still. But there you go.

Notable Scene:

Maybe later I could find her, and explain, and ask forgiveness. She had been upset and had lashed out…

No. She wouldn’t have hurt me that way if she cared about me the way I cared about her. I was a nuisance. Clutter.

The Maeve’ra Series:

1. Bloodwitch

2. Bloodkin (April 14, 2015)

3. Bloodtraitor (2016)


FTC Advisory:  Delecorte Press/Random House provided me with a copy of Bloodwitch.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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