A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy
Reviewed by Sam!
What I drank prior: literally all of the white wine left in my house.
An enthralling debut perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone set in a North African-inspired fantasy world where two sisters must fight to the death to win the crown.
Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of marrow and blood–a dark and terrible magick that hasn’t been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its last known practitioner was Queen Raina, who toppled the native khimaer royalty and massacred thousands, including her own sister, eight generations ago, thus beginning the Rival Heir tradition. Living in Raina’s long and dark shadow, Eva must now face her older sister, Isa, in a battle to the death if she hopes to ascend to the Ivory Throne–because in the Queendom of Myre only the strongest, most ruthless rulers survive.
When Eva is attacked by an assassin just weeks before the battle with her sister, she discovers there is more to the attempt on her life than meets the eye–and it isn’t just her sister who wants to see her dead. As tensions escalate, Eva is forced to turn to a fey instructor of mythic proportions and a mysterious and handsome khimaer prince for help in growing her magick into something to fear. Because despite the love she still has for her sister, Eva will have to choose: Isa’s death or her own.
A River of Royal Blood is an enthralling debut set in a lush North African inspired fantasy world that subtly but powerfully challenges our notions of power, history, and identity.
Spoiler-free Overview: so there’s a princess rivalry and we’re following the younger. The older, isa, has got her magic and knows it. Our MAIN LADY, Eva, has blood and marrow magic but she’s never been able to use it. Fast forward, there like months before the girls gotta fight and oh em gee she’s finally found a teacher. That’s the story.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: we’ve got a bunch of different species, human, fey, bloodwhatevers, and something-that-starts-with-k. There’s a lot of telling and not showing but the ending was compelling so it’s tough
Characters: so. Ha. They are so fucking typical. I kinda like Eva because she “just wants to be normal” but like… actually is trying to make that happen. Which is refreshing. But then… instalove but then also student teacher love and then a triangle? I’m confused. Also #TeamBacca but it’s not really a thing don’t listen to me.
Sober note: I really really didn’t understand the sister. At all. What were her motivations? Why did she suddenly hate her sister? There’s literally no love left? It makes zero sense.
Plot: it was slow. Like really slow. The fastest part was the last like… 4 chapters. Otherwise it was all worldbuulding.
Writing Style: eh.
World Building: This world is fucking brutal man. Parental emotional abuse, blood magic that will literally cut you, brutal sisters? Idk man, it’s just.. really brutal but written in a way that it’s just so nonchalant.
What to pair it with: a typical drink… a vodka soda. So bland but does the job.
Rating: 2/5 shots
Until next time, we remain forever drunkenly yours,