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Coming Soon:
~Review: The Killing Woods
~Review: The Waiting Sky
~Review: A Certain Slant of Light
~Review: Timepiece
~Review: Infinityglass

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Review: Blood & Flowers

Blood and Flowers (ARC) by Penny Blubaugh
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub. Date: March 1st, 2011
Pages: 352
Age Level: 14+
Source: For review, from publisher.

Synopsis via Goodreads
Three years ago, Persia ran away from her drug-addict parents and found a home with the Outlaws, an underground theater troupe. With time, this motley band of mortals and fey, puppeteers and actors, becomes the loving family Persia never had, and soon Persia not only discovers a passion for theater but also falls in love with one of the other Outlaws. Life could not be more perfect.

Until an enemy makes an unfair accusation against the group and forces them to flee their world and hide in the neighboring realm of Faerie. But in Faerie, all is not flowers and rainbows. With bloodthirsty trolls, a hostile monarchy, and a dangerous code of magic, the fey world is far from the safe haven the Outlaws had hoped for....

Following up her critically acclaimed Serendipity Market, Penny Blubaugh has created a beautiful and mysterious world where anything can happen—especially what you least expect.

Beguiling and delightfully bizarre, Blood and Flowers is a new and refreshing addition to the fantasy genre courtesy of YA author, Penny Blubaugh.

One of the things I loved about Blood and Flowers was that Blubaugh didn't just focus primarily on one main character; instead, she equally focuses her attention on the story of the Outlaws as a whole. First we have a runaway, Persia, the witty narrator who has a wonderful habit of being able to pull the Outlaws back together whenever they start to stray apart. Lucia is the broken girl from a broken home and I loved watching her grow in confidence and strength. Nicholas is studying to be a lawyer and also acts as Persia's romantic interest. Floss is the somewhat bossy and snarky fae of the group as well as the magic behind the magic of the puppet shows performed by the Outlaws. Last we have Tonio and Max, the lovable gay couple that founded and lead the Outlaws. Each of these characters possessed distinct personalities and had they're own role to play as a member of the Outlaws. There were also some really great supporting characters. There was Fred, Floss's brother and Lucia's love interest; El Jeffery, a griffin and old friend of Floss's from Faerie; And Bron, a restaurant owner in Faerie as well as Floss's romantic interest. The only problem I had with any of the characters were the villains. For example, let's say Major; to me, while he was plenty rotten, he just didn't come off as evil and formidable enough. I really would have liked to have seen stronger, nastier bad guys.

Blood and Flowers has a strange, yet enchanting, story-line as well as some subtle romance. Just to name a couple of its eccentricities, there are tons of puppets, including a dog with turquoise dinosaur fur, and a Welsh-Mexican restaurant run by a couple of faeries. No not Max and Tonio, but two actual Faeries. To me though, all of this just added to the charm. Blood and Flowers also seemed to be more character-driven at times, versus plot-driven, which I thought very refreshing for a fantasy. I think Blubaugh was able to pull this off because of how natural all the fantastical and quirky elements felt, like that was just how things were. It's really kind of hard to explain it in words and I can only say that you'd have to read it for yourself. Though there is some action, this story isn't brimming with it. That being said, this did not hinder my enjoyment of this novel, but I do feel that a little more action could have amped it up a bit.

The writing style was gorgeous, descriptive, wacky, and intoxicating; I loved it! Blubaugh's use of imagery was also very beautifully done and I felt that I could see the story dancing vividly before my eyes in all it's colorful glory. While the pacing isn't exactly fast, I found I preferred the more relaxed approach that was taken as it allowed me to better soak in everything.

The ending for Blood and Flowers didn't really knock my socks off or anything but it was a happy and satisfying ending. One thing I was glad to see was that Major actually had stronger motives for what he was doing than originally thought. Though maybe a bit abrupt and late in the game, this proved to be a nice twist.

Blood and Flowers is a magical, unique read and I was very reluctant to leaves its pages to re-join what I now can't help but see as a dull, dull world. While I do highly recommend this book, close-minded homophobes be fair warned that there is some homosexuality in this novel; though not a main theme, it is still there. For that reason, this book may not be everyone's cup of tea but I can honestly say that you'll be missing out if you don't give it a try. Personally, I can easily see myself reading this one again and I'm looking forward to more of Penny Blubaugh's work.

Characters: B
Writing: A-
Plot: B+
Ending: B
Recommendable: B+
Enjoyment/Likability: B+

Overall: B+

Cover: A+
(Fits the plot and writing style perfectly!)


Critica said...

This looks interesting... I might get it from the library or something. Thanks for the review!

BookGeek said...

What a beautiful cover! I think the premise is interesting, but it looks like you loved the characters. I love that about god books - you really get invested and fascinated by the character's lives.

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

The cover for this is so striking...and I love that. While the book does sound interesting enough, with all the eccentricities and puppets, it doesn't really sound like something for me. For some reason, I've never been a huge fan of faerie stories. Maybe I'd like this one if I gave it a shot though. I'll keep it in mind for a day when I really want to escape.

Great review!

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Hello all! My name is Briana, I'm 20, and I live in the beautiful state of Georgia. I love reading and photography.

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