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I Belong


Review: Bad Blood by Demetria Lunetta

Title: Bad Blood

AuthorDemetria Lunetta

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: N/A

Publication Date: March 14, 2017

Format: Hardcover, 266 Pages

ISBN-10: 1101938056 (Penguin Random)

ISBN-13: 978-1101938058 (Penguin Random)

Reviewed by: Tara

Synopsis:

Scotland is in my blood…

All sixteen-year-old Heather MacNair wants is to feel normal, to shed the intense paranoia she’s worn all year like a scratchy sweater. Ever since her compulsion to self-harm came to light, Heather was kept under her doctor’s watchful eye. Her family thinks she’s better—and there’s nothing she wants more than for that to be true. She still can’t believe she’s allowed to spend her summer vacation as she always does: at her aunt’s home in Scotland, where she has lots of happy memories. Far away from all her problems save one: she can’t stop carving the Celtic knot that haunts her dreams into her skin.

Good friends and boys with Scottish accents can cure almost anything…except nightmares. Heather can’t stop dreaming about two sisters from centuries ago, twins Prudence and Primrose, who somehow seem tied to her own life. Their presence lurks just beneath the surface of her consciousness, sending ripples through what should be a peaceful summer. The twins might hold the key to putting Heather’s soul at rest…or they could slice her future deeper than any knife.

Quick & Dirty: A dark paranormal mystery set in Scotland with a centuries-old family curse, excellent female friendships, and an adorable romance.

Opening Sentence: Black smoke scalds my lungs.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

When I first read the summary of this book, I was incredibly intrigued. The combination of witchcraft, a family curse, and Scotland meant that this one immediately made its way to the top of my to-read list. However, the execution of the plot wasn’t quite what I expected and the book dealt with mental health very poorly.

Bad Blood begins with Heather, the main character, about to be released from the hospital her parents sent her to after discovering that she has been carving symbols onto her skin. There are then very detailed scenes where she sneaks away to refresh the symbols. Throughout the book, Heather never acknowledges that her compulsion to carve is a problem. I was underwhelmed by the way the author dealt with mental health. Additionally, I also found it incredibly unbelievable that her parents would send her to a foreign country to live with an aunt who has health problems of her own.

One of the best parts of the book was the setting. The author manages to bring Edinburgh and rural Scotland alive for the reader. I loved finding out more about the Scottish culture and history. One of my favorite scenes in the novel was the ceilidh. The addition of Primrose and Prudence’s story allowed the author to explore another time period while adding a bit of mystery to the book. Their story did seem somewhat overly dramatic but I understood what the author was building toward.

The plot had such potential but the pacing was off. Most of the book was slow, exploring Heather’s day-to-day life with her friends. I did enjoy getting to see what life was like for them. However, the last 10% of the book was incredibly rushed, as if the author was running out of space and had to fit everything in. Had that bit been more developed and the magical aspects deepened, I think the ending would have been much more satisfying.

I also wasn’t a huge fan of the romance because it seemed somewhat shallow and happened very quickly. If there had been even a mention of a hint of mutual attraction between the two of them before this summer, I would have believed it more. As is, Heather becomes attracted to her childhood friend not for his personality but because of his sudden good looks. I did like Heather’s relationship with her aunt because there was a unique dynamic between the two of them. Since her aunt and most of her friends had been born without powers, there wasn’t a lot of magic in the novel except for a few short scenes.

Bad Blood had a lot of potential but couldn’t find the right balance between the stories the author was telling. The modern-day mystery lacked tension and a sense of urgency while the flashbacks were creepy and horrifying but not long enough to allow the reader to form an emotional attachment to the characters.

Notable Scene:

“You were talking about witches,” I say, studying her.

“Witch … what a dreadful word. No’ at all accurate. The women in our family have always healed with herbs, called upon nature to help us out a time or two. No’ exactly the evils of witchcraft, if you ask me.”

Gram just means our ancestors were midwives and medicine women, often accused of being witches back when people were ignorant and quick to hate a woman who was even a little different. I place the cup back down on the table.

“Oh, but that Blood Magic, that’s another story. Unnatural, that.”

“Blood Magic?” I repeat. “What’s that?”

“Some nastiness you need no’ concern yourself with. Just know that sometimes the women in our family go … wrong. It doesn’t happen often, though. Either type. I mean, look at Abbie. I love that girl, but there isn’t an ounce of magic in her.”

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

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