Sara 's Reviews > Blood Spirits

Blood Spirits by Sherwood Smith
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's review
Dec 21, 11

bookshelves: fantasy, romantic-fantasy
Read in December, 2011

This sequel to "Coronets and Steel" was a fun and enjoyable read, just like the first book. These books are about Kim, a young woman from California who goes to Europe to find out about her family history, learns a lot about the secrets of the past, and gets involved on a personal and political level with the complexities of a tiny (fictional) Eastern European nation called Dobrenica.

SPOILER WARNING: YOU MAY NOT WANT TO READ FURTHER IF YOU HAVE NOT READ CORONETS AND STEEL.

"Blood Spirits" begins with Kim back in America a couple of months after the first book ended, with the Christmas holidays approaching. Let's just say that she ends up returning to Dobrenica pretty fast (no one would be surprised about this). As anyone who read the first book might expect, there are all sorts of schemes, plots, intrigues, and surprises waiting for her there. The paranormal talents Kim discovered in the last book are key to figuring out what's going on, and hopefully saving someone Kim cares about.

I really like the characters in these books--Kim is an awesome heroine whose laid-back attitude and attempts to make the right decisions are believable and relatable. There are plenty of interesting side characters too. You find out more about a lot of Dobrenica's blueblood families in this book, and it was interesting to me to begin differentiating among them and learning who is movtivated by what. They came across as more individual than they did when Kim met them during the last book.

The setting of Dobrenica evokes old-world romance. It's a small country that resists technology and accepts unexplained magical happenings. It has a complex history in which the country tried to keep its traditions alive while being invaded frequently by Germany and Russia. This book takes place in winter, around Christmas and New Year's, so this romantic setting takes on a snowy aspect. There are carved wood sleighs pulled by reindeer and so on, which is fun to read about at this time of year.

The plot is definitely complex, and I was occasionally confused about the timing of events. Occasionally, a person or occurance seemed to come out of left field. This is just a minor thing, though.

There's an unexpected sincerity to these books. The consequences of actions are thought through, and a lot of Kim's thoughts and other characters' actions ring true. I appreciated this aspect of the book.

I looked at the author's website and I see that she is going to write another book in this series. This one has a good ending that I think readers will be happy with, but the option was definitely left open for a sequel. I'm really looking forward to it!
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