The Blood Keeper by Tessa Gratton

12476341The Blood Keeper by Tessa Gratton
Random House Books for Young Readers
432 pages
Blood Magic, Romance
How I obtained the book
Hardcover, Library


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.

THE BLOOD KEEPER is a book that started off smoothly and had everything I loved: blood magic, action, and mystery; however it didn’t continue like that. A few days after reading the initial hundred pages or so, I picked it up again and to my great disappointment, it soon felt like a completely new book.

This book is actually a sequel, something I didn’t find out till a few moments before writing this review. I didn’t even suspect it since this book felt like a standalone. From what I see, the first book has nothing to do with this book – please correct me if I’m wrong however.

There are three POVs in THE BLOOD KEEPER – Mab’s, Will’s and Evie’s. Mab’s POV and Will’s POV are very similar, the only difference being Mab knows what she’s doing and Will is basically doing what ever Mab wants. He’s so infuriatingly spineless. He needs to be saved every few minutes and he never seems to stop fainting (ok, I’m exaggerating – I think he only fainted once or twice).

Evie’s POV is set a few decades in the past, I think 1920s. I think it is meant to be a surprise why it was linked to the story but it was all quite predictable. However, I still enjoyed the short story that the POV told, finding it darker than the rest of the book.

While I have no problem with YA romance – or romance in general – I do hate when the romance seems to govern the plot, like in this book. The romance seems to overtake anything, including the interesting blood keeper concept, which is why I loved the first 100 pages so much more than the rest of the book.

Mab is the Blood Keeper, which basically means she maintains the land around her with her blood magic which is cool and all but she doesn’t really do that in the book. She mostly dreams about Will and saves him and possesses people (actually that’s pretty cool).

Will is the one of the weakest heroes ever. He doesn’t do anything. I don’t like heroes who can do anything but I sort of prefer them to do something other than ask Mab what to do. I think he’s like that so the Gratton can say “wow look at me, my heroine is so strong. Flipping around gender stereotypes, yes sir.” I’m sorry but it doesn’t work like that.

Will’s only strength is his amazing ability to whine and whine and never stop whining. Practically the whole book was spent whining about how is parents want him to join the military and how he doesn’t want to and how they’re like totally not understanding.

Dude, I get it, you don’t want to join the military and I fully understand and appreciate that but in case you haven’t noticed, something really bad is going on and I don’t think whining about your evil parents is the right thing to do right now.

The romance between the two happens to be the worst part about it. Scenario:

Will and Mab are talking about how horrible what’s going on is. Will then think about how much he wants to kiss her. Switch to Mab’s point of view and she’s pretty much thinking the same thing. After longing looks are exchanged, they go back to talking about how dire the circumstances are.

The saddest thing is that this scenario happens all the time in the book. I swear, it happens at least five times. Romance = good. Romance at the wrong time = very bad.

Plot and Writing
The concept of blood magic which is tied to the land instead of the as an antithesis to nature is an interesting take on the subject. Most authors go with the conventional blood magic is evil thought, which I have to admit I was part of. I never really thought of blood magic as tied to the land, the animals, and life, which makes complete sense if you think about it.

As you have seen, I loved the concept. Blood magic in YA fantasy is almost unheard of, or at least not all the common. Though I would hate it become the new dystopian (I highly doubt it will), I’m glad to see that blood magic is popping into YA lit.

My major qualm with THE BLOOD KEEPER is the lack of defined plot after a certain point. Though you can always tell what the main plot is, it seems like the characters are more focused on how beautiful the other one looks at the moment.

Once again, I will say that I have no problem with romance in my books, but when either the romance takes over the plot or interjects itself into the scene at the weirdest moments I don’t want it in my books. At all. Ever.

While it wasn’t terrible, I was extremely annoyed at the lack of word building. Mab spent most of her time in a forest – or is it a valley? And where? It’s obviously close to a biggish city where Will lives but if Will goes there to swim or something, does that mean anyone could go there? It seems like it’s too open for a place with secret witches…

Likes and Dislikes
– Blood Magic
– The Beginning

– Everything Else

In conclusion
THE BLOOD KEEPER had a very promising concept but sadly, the execution was lacking extensively. I am very sad to say that I cannot recommend this book to anyone.

2 thoughts on “The Blood Keeper by Tessa Gratton

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