This is the sequel to CORONETS AND STEEL, a contemporary Ruritarian romantic adventure that will take you to a small middle European country you will swear must exist – but doesn’t? (Don’t recognize the word Ruritarian? Go hit Wikipedia. I’ll wait. Seriously, think “The Prisoner of Zenda” as a feminist tale.) BLOOD SPIRITS is the continuing tale of an American girl who finds out that her roots are not what she expected – and that some secrets may be literally deadly.
You will be fascinated and stunned by the detail Smith has put into her tiny country. Kim has matured from her first sojourn in Dobrenica, no longer the best and worst of an LA just-past-teenager, too trusting for her own good. Now she asks questions, and knows when she can’t ask questions, but must figure things out another way. A vision of her cousin Ruli, now the uncrowned queen of Dobrencia, calls her back to that tiny foreign country. Help me! Kim does not know what else to do but try.
The magic that is worked by the elders of the country – no matter what their religion, prayer, in any language, has a lot to do with magical power – is fascinating and given more force here. Complexities in language and culture are smoothly handled, giving us a travelogue even as the mystery advances.
And there will be mysteries, one on top of another, as this time Kim faces not only family politics, fiercely competing clans, and ghosts, but murder, still more secrets – and the presence of creatures both faerie and undead.
I can’t say much more without giving things away. Suffice to say that the book is intricate, at times bewildering, for we are seeing with Kim’s eyes, and yet it pulled me on, in small but complete packets, through a hard time in my life. I did not see coming some of the loose ends that were neatly stitched up. And so I recommend it to you. If you liked the first book, if you like Smith’s writing, give this one a try.