Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao

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In Amélie Wen Zhao’s highly anticipated debut, an outlaw princess with an Affinity for blood teams up with a con man to seek revenge on the man who killed her father, the king, and framed her for the murder.

The plot was intriguing and complicated, focusing on both Ana and Ramson’s intent on revenge. The storyline was full of twists and turns, betrayals and alliances. It surprised me at every time with secrets revealed, and I loved that. However, it also revolved around the slave trade of Cyrilia, where those with Affinities were effectively slaves, sold and bought without their permission. As Ana travels more of her country, she sees how dire this situation has become and is determined to do something. This is an important topic and I hope it is discussed even further in book two.

I loved Ana, she was brave and feisty and loving.  She was badass and brutal, but also loyal and kind. What a perfect heroine. She goes through a lot and it’s amazing how strong she stays. I loved watching her grow as a character as she came to terms with her power and the world she lived in, and I can’t wait to see her grow more in book two.

Ramson is bound to be a fan favourite. Handsome? Sure is. Morally grey crime lord? You bet. Tragic backstory? Of course. Totally soft for Ana and kind of a really sweet guy? Duh. I couldn’t help but love him, his wit and resilience. One of my favourite things was seeing him warm to Ana and realise he couldn’t bear to betray her. Now that’s character development. The romance between these two is an enemies-to-lovers slow burn that hasn’t happened just yet but is definitely implied it will happen eventually. There is definitely some chemistry between Ana and Ramson, but I’d love to see more of their friendship before their relationship develops further.

I also really hope we’ll see more of Lynn in the next novel because listen, she’s so badass and awesome but also so soft and beautiful.

“In the face of fear, one could choose to run, or to rise.”

Amélie Wen Zhao’s writing is stunning – from vivid, stunning imagery to captivating battle scenes, it blew me away. The way she builds the world of Cyrilia and the surrounding countries is beautiful and intriguing. There are so many little details that make the world feel alive and made me fall in love with it, from icehawks and Whitecloaks to busy markets and sweet treats.

Being YA fantasy, Blood Heir wasn’t able to escape the tropes of the genre, but I enjoyed it none the less, finding each trope to be woven well into the intriguing storyline. The only thing I didn’t really like about this novel (or more like didn’t understand) is that it’s meant to be a retelling of Anastasia Romanov, and past the Russian-esque setting, Ana’s name, and her being a displaced royal thought dead, there was barely any comparisons between Anastasia Romanov’s story and Blood Heir, which made me sad because I was so excited to see how the author would explore the original story.

Blood Heir was an intriguing, intricate and bloody book that is bound to be a hit with lovers of high fantasy, and I really enjoyed it. It was a thrilling and well-written story set in a vivid and beautiful world, and I would definitely recommend it to fans of Throne of Glass, Six of Crows and Children of Blood and Bone.

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