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A River of Royal Blood by Amanda  Joy
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A River of Royal Blood ✵ Amanda Joy ✵ 3.5/5

“Blood had no place among all this royal blue and white.”

A River of Royal Blood was a solid debut novel and had a lot of potential, but it didn’t consistently live up to that potential.

For starters, the voice of the main character felt very much like a lot of other YA protagonists. In the first half of the book, Eva was constantly swinging between confidence, desire, and ineptitude. One moment she was a powerful fighter who had a bad relationship with her family and the next she was calling her parents ‘Mama’ and ‘Papa.’ She was also very typical in that she didn’t know how to use her magic in the beginning and we had to watch as she slowly figured herself out, which I always dislike reading in fantasy books. Her interactions with the royal court were horrible to read and I found myself skimming through them, which is never a good sign. However, things leveled out in the second half and I really started to enjoy the writing style, characters, and twists.

Next up: the side characters. They were all far more interesting than Eva; likely because they had a better hold on their magic and were all older than her by at least a few years. I think if Eva had been written more maturely, she would’ve been able to fit into their dynamics much more, rather than standing out for being the young, annoying, and emotional one. She definitely improved in the second half, which was a delight to read.

“But even in the memory her eyes looked as cruel as they were now.”

Isadore, Eva’s sister, was really emphasized in the synopsis and we saw her throughout the book in flashbacks, but we didn’t really know much about her until the end when we understand why she is the way she is. She had much more charisma than Eva and I loved how Joy wrote her to be the enemy of Eva yet a potential leader with much more potential to be a good ruler than Eva. She said it herself when she said in passing that being queen was more than a title; it required charisma and loyalty, which Eva didn’t seem to understand. I’m kind of totally on board with her being an enemy whom I support just as much as (or more than) the protagonist. I just thought she was so well-written and very consistent in characterization throughout the horrible first half and fantastic second half.

The writing also got a lot more descriptive and less focused on Eva in the second half, which allowed me to enjoy the beauty of Amanda Joy’s writing a lot more. When Eva’s party travelled to (view spoiler), the descriptions of the landscapes hit me in the emotions with their brilliance. Again, I wish the first half was more like the second. It would’ve likely bumped my rating a lot higher.

I also appreciated the lack of romance between Eva and an ancient and very skilled being. It isn’t every day in fantasy where the main character doesn’t even consider the beautiful and timeless man as a romantic interest and instead chooses someone her own age. However, I didn’t really appreciate the relationship between Eva and (view spoiler) because it felt a lot like insta-love and we didn’t really get to see their relationship grow. Eva was simply attracted to him and they seemingly randomly just started being in a relationship. Don’t get me wrong, it was an adorable relationship, but it was also super rushed and not well explained.

Another thing I appreciated was the magic system. It was unique and interesting to learn more about, and when Eva finally starts to get a hold on her own magic, watching her use it was one of the most fun things about the book. I’m excited to learn more about the khimaer and alternative ways people use their magic in this world in the sequel!

Lastly, I absolutely adored the entire ending. It made my jaw drop and I had to reread it like three times to be able to fully appreciate how amazing it was. The plot twist and resolution were *chef’s kiss* so satisfying. It tied up the first book very nicely but also has me dying to read the next in the series.
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Reading Progress

June 22, 2019 – Started Reading
June 22, 2019 – Shelved
June 22, 2019 –
page 126
July 13, 2019 –
page 253
68.75% "👀"
July 14, 2019 – Finished Reading
August 18, 2019 – Shelved as: reviews

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