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Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn – ARC Review!

The shadows have risen, and the line is law.

All Bree wanted was to uncover the truth behind her mother’s death. So she infiltrated the Legendborn Order, a secret society descended from King Arthur’s knights—only to discover her own ancestral power. Now, Bree has become someone new:

A Medium. A Bloodcrafter. A Scion.

But the ancient war between demons and the Order is rising to a deadly peak. And Nick, the Legendborn boy Bree fell in love with, has been kidnapped.

Bree wants to fight, but the Regents who rule the Order won’t let her. To them, she is an unknown girl with unheard-of power, and as the living anchor for the spell that preserves the Legendborn cycle, she must be protected.

When the Regents reveal they will do whatever it takes to hide the war, Bree and her friends must go on the run to rescue Nick themselves. But enemies are everywhere, Bree’s powers are unpredictable and dangerous, and she can’t escape her growing attraction to Selwyn, the mage sworn to protect Nick until death.

If Bree has any hope of saving herself and the people she loves, she must learn to control her powers from the ancestors who wielded them first—without losing herself in the process.

Bloodmarked picks up soon after the events of Legendborn, and if you need a quick re-cap before jumping into book two, check out this one I found. Bree managed to infiltrate the league of Legendborn, only to find she was the Scion of King Arthur himself. Nicks father, none too happy with this turn of events, kidnapped his son and is on the run. Sel, after his shocking declaration, is giving Bree the cold shoulder, and the Regents, the people who are supposed to protect and revere the Scion of Arthur want nothing more than to keep her a secret, especially after they learn just how Bree’s and Arthur’s lines got intertwined. But Camlann is coming, and thanks to the Regents determination to keep this hidden, Bree finds herself on the run determined to rescue Nick, and find a place for Bree to learn to control both her Legendborn and Root powers. For if Bree is to save her friends and win this war, she must learn to wield the powers gifted by her ancestors, she just has to make sure she doesn’t loose herself to them first.

Bree has always been a favourite character of mine, but her actions and growth in this book just made me fall even more in love with her. She is incredibly strong, especially when you realise she has these powers, her Legendborn ones, because her ancestor was raped, something she now has to live with the knowledge of. She is put through so much in this story, betrayal, loss, heartbreak, but through it all she just wants safety for herself and her friends. She’s one of the most realistic ‘ya’ MC’s I’ve ever read. She’s got that resilient, almost indestructible mindset that teenagers have, always running headfirst into danger, she’s confused about her love life, determined to learn to control her powers, basically she tries to carry the world on her shoulders. But what’s truly amazing to see is just how much she grows through this book. She learns that in putting herself in danger, she is endangering those who are bound to protect her, that now she is the Scion of Arthur, there is no such thing as working alone.

We also get treated to loads more William, Alice and Sel in this book which made me so happy. Sel may not always show it, but these three are Bree’s true believers and supporters. As a Knight, William is bound to protect her, but he also views her as a friend and someone he cares deeply about. Alice, thanks to not being from the Legendborn world gives Bree a sense of normalcy. She is someone who has known, and supported Bree for most of her life and is the one person who Bree can count on being there for her, not because of an oath, but because she loves her. Sel is… complicated. As a sucker for an enemies to lovers romance, as well as a bad boy redemption, I was a sucker for him in the first book, something that absolutely carried through to this one. We learn more about his past, his feelings towards Bree, and apart from a certain part where he was an idiot, I just fell more in love with him. The interactions between these four were some of my favourite parts of the book. The snark from Alice and Sel, the eye rolling and patience from William, Bree trying to keep the peace. It all added a levity to a heavy hitting and sometimes dark read.

As with the first book, Deonn writes Bree as a strong Black female MC, and through her shows the slights, both small and large that Black women deal with on a daily basis. Between the regents not wanting to accept Bree as the Scion of Arthur, to how she is treated by some of the other Legendborn as well as regular mortals, Deonn paints a bleak, but realistic story on how women like Bree are treated. But she also uses Bree, as well as the magic system to celebrate Black heritage. One of my favourite parts of this series as a whole has been learning about Bree’s Root magic. How it ties her to her ancestors, how through it she can commune with and receives visions of them. Like the Arthurian legend and magic shiz is cool, but the POWER she shows through the Root magic, the power of a people who had to hide who they were for fear of being killed, it was incredibly well done, and some of my favourite, spine tingly and emotional scenes where when her Root magic was being used or she was communing with her ancestors.

I’m always amazed when an author can put that much detail into book one… lets be honest, it was a chunk, and yet still manage to build on it and surprise us with new bits of information in the second book. I think it’s safe to say that Deonn has never heard of second book syndrome because there was no part of this book where the story lagged, the pace slowed down, it meandered. Instead the story takes off from the first page and the pace never really lets off. There are plenty of plot twists to keep us glued to the pages, as well as making us wonder who we can really trust, and if there is one thing Deonn writes spectacularly well, it’s fight scenes. I sometimes struggle visualising fight scenes in my head, but these play like a movie. Her descriptive writing effortlessly brings them to life and I loved reading the parts where the Legendborn and Rootcraft powers were used.

Ok, I’m calling it. 2022 is the year of the killer cliffhanger because the ending of this book destroyed me! I knew it wasn’t going to end well, especially after the ending of book one, but I think the author is determined to torture us because I cannot be expected to wait a WHOLE YEAR to find out what happens next. I think it’s safe to say I loved this story SO MUCH. The year wait for the final book will be torturous, so ignore me while I just sit here and cry. But on a serious note… pick up this book. If you enjoy Arthurian Lore but just want MORE then this is the series for you.

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