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Bloody Spade by Brittany M. Willows – ARC Review!

A girl full of heart
A thief touched by darkness
A boy with a fiery temper
An unwitting servant of evil

The era of magic was once thought to be a myth, but after the Reemergence ushered forces both dark and light into the mundane world, it has since become a harsh reality. Now those affected by this strange power—a specialized group of Empowered called Jokers, known collectively as Cardplay—must protect their world from the darkness that threatens to consume it, all the while fighting for equality in a society clinging to normalcy.

But the Reemergence was only the beginning.

When another influx occurs on the seventh anniversary of that fateful event, an unfortunate encounter at ground zero lands Iori Ryone, a teenage boy in possession of a corrupt and legendary magic, in the care of recent Joker graduate Ellen Amelia Jane. From him, she learns the Reemergence may not have been the inevitable natural disaster it first seemed.

Someone is trying to tear down the barrier that separates the magical realms from the mundane. The question is, can Cardplay stop them before it’s too late?

Bloody Spade quickly wormed it’s way into my heart, with its lovable characters and intriguing magic system, I found it almost impossible to put down and am eagerly anticipating what the author has in store for us with book two!

The Reemergence caused an Influx of magic into the world affecting a small percentage of the population. Now highly regulated, magic can only be used by those chosen to work for the elite Jokers, Empowered people who protect their city from rogue users. But the Reemergence was just the beginning, something dark lurks and it will take all users both light and dark to work together if they are to protect the world from the true evil out there.

The strength of Bloody Spade definitely comes from it’s characters. Iori is an Orphan and wearer of the Spade, one of the elite magic suits. He has been on the run from Cardplay and the Jokers for years, never really having somewhere to call home. His power is touched by the Void and because of that he is seen as a danger when in reality he is just a scared kid desperately in need of someone to care for him. He’s snarky and more than willing to put up a fight, but it’s all just a front to hide his trauma and man did I just want to give him a hug.

Ellen Jane lost her parents on the night of the Reemergence, so when she realised she had powers her only goal was to join the Jokers and bring peace and safety to the city. Her power is one the rulers of Cardplay take great care to keep hidden, she is able to remove the void from infected people, something that has never been seen before. She isn’t one to break the rules, but when she finds Iori bruised and beaten and determined not to be taken to Cardplay she secrets him back to her house, hiding him from her brother Alexander.

Alexander Jane is the star boy of Cardplay, he lives in the limelight, but in reality wants a life where his powers can do more good. He blames the Spade for the original Reemergence, and the death of his parents so when he finds out that his sister has been working with him, helping him, he feels betrayed. But Alexander may be more similar to Iori than he would like to admit. He is prejudiced, a bit of an arse and my least favourite character if i’m being honest, but I did sympathise with his reasons for acting the way he did.

Kyani is a character we meet later on in the book and another Suit holder like Iori. She is a gentle and kind person that is stuck in a situation there is no escape from, which leads her to do some pretty terrible things to protect those she loves. As well as these four main POV’s we are introduced to a magnitude of side characters who are all brilliantly brought to life. I loved meeting the fellow members of Cardplay and nearly every character has an important part to play in the story.

The magic system was wondrously unique, but I do feel like it could have done with a little more explaining. Willow’s descriptive writing really brings her magic system to life and the fight scenes were amazing, but I just never fully understood the magic system, what exactly the ‘Suits’ had to do with it and, and though we do get more information on that towards the end of the story, I’m still not 100% sure I truly understand it. That being said, whether I really grasped it or not ( and it might be me being a bit picky) it was just brilliantly written. Some of the fight scenes were like watching a movie being played in my head and I would love to see this book make the transfer to movie/TV.

The romance in this was so ridiculously sweet. If you like slow burn, idiots in love then this is the book for you. I loved seeing them slowly overcome their trauma together. Neither rushed the other, they both wanted to make sure that they were in the same place when it came to their feelings, and honestly it just felt really natural. They really bring the best out in each other, like two sides of the same coin, and I loved seeing their relationship develop over the pages.

If you’re looking for an fun and unique read, with lovable characters and a well built world and magic system then look no further. I can’t wait to get my hands on book two!

5 replies »

  1. This sounds like such an interesting concept for a fantasy! I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anything similar to it (with the cards and magic) and I’m definitely intrigued! Plus, this cover is really cool, too. Great review, Becky!

    Liked by 1 person

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