Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao

*Spoiler free*

The Cyrilian Empire: a glittering white sprawl of frozen tundras and ancient, snow-capped forests, where ice spirits roam beneath the flickering northern lights, and where slavers hunt Affinites — those born with powers to manipulate elements. Born with an horrifying Affinity to blood, Anastacya Mikhailov has never believed herself to be anything more than a monster. Her curse rings true when an accident in the dead of the night results in the death of her father, the Emperor of Cyrilia — and she is sentenced for his murder. But Ana knows what she saw that night: the scent of poison in Papa’s blood, and the face of a murderer vanishing into the dark. Alone, hunted, and on the run, Ana makes a bargain with Ramson Quicktongue, a handsome yet dangerous underground crime lord: help her find the true murderer and clear her name in exchange for her alliance. When Ana’s search lands her in the lair of the most powerful slave trader in the Empire, she uncovers a horrifying truth. A new monarch stands poised to lead the empire to a path of hatred and divisiveness, and Ana must stop her before Cyrilia falls to darkness. But first, she must come to terms with the monster she thinks she is and the heir she was destined to be.

Will this review be more than just me screaming? Will I be able to form actual words! The answer to both those questions is a resounding “I don’t know”!!! I’ve been looking forward to this one for awhile and it was so, so good.

This was pitched as a dark Anastasia retelling and boy does it DELIVER. I was expecting darkness and blood and cruelty. But WOW. This book looks at the creulness of humanity. On how people can do such horrible, horrible things. And on top of that there is Ana’s bloody affinity and a con man trained to kill. It was dark. You are swept off your feet within the very first chapter and you never regain your footing. It’s fantastic.

The setting and worldbuilding were really strong. The way it was written made it easy to slip into the world and get accustomed to it. While the world is broken and evil men are in positions of power, there are sprinkles of hope throughout that make you feel like this world is something worth fighting for you. I felt connected to Ana in that way. I got what she was doing, even without her backstory helping me along.

This book takes a look at good and evil and the grayness in between. It’s done in a way that I don’t think I’ve seen before. It’s about the goodness and badness that is inside each person. And the choices they make that tip the scales. It’s about choices defining you. And how you have the power to make the right ones.

I should have expected it, but I did not expect this book to break my hearts as many times as it did. There were parts that are so real and it touched me in a way that I can’t quiet articulate. This story isn’t afraid to go to places you didn’t think it would go. It takes your heart and crushes it with no mercy.

I’m not sure how to describe my love for the characters. Ana is fierce, stubborn, and I love her so much. She wants more than anything to be good, when she believes she is a monster. She’s angry and she’s ready to fight for what she believes in. And she’s ready to fight anybody who gets in her way. I’m glad I was able to see her journey and I can’t wait to see where she goes next. And then there’s Ramson, the con man who has his own agenda. But how I love him so.

And ahhhh, the sequel is so far away! I have absolutely no idea what could happen. Usually, I have an inkling of an idea, but this could go anywhere. I want to learn more about this world, I want to be with these characters again, and I want to get to know the ones I only just met.

Blood Heir is a snowstorm. It’s cold, beautiful, and unforgiving. There are snippets of hope sprinkled throughout the book, the sun shining through the clouds, a small daisy being nursed back to life. This book is all about clawing your way to what you want. It’s about making the world you see and making it one you want to live in. It is wonderful, spectacular, fantastic, and I love it so much.

Blood Heir comes out June 4th, 2019! You can add it on Goodreads and pre-order a copy in the meantime!

Thank you for reading!

2 thoughts on “Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao

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