A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy (a review)
Genre: YA fantasy
Length: 351 pages
In the queendom of Myre there live two sister princesses. Eva and Isa must, upon their seventeenth nameday, fight to the death. Whichever princess remains will be the next queen. In order to survive, Eva must learn to use her rare magick of blood and marrow.
I loved the main protagonist, Eva, who was very compassionate and committed to social justice. She wanted the throne not for her own vanity but for the good she could do for those disadvantaged in her society. I thought it was clever how the sweet sister (Eva) possessed a dark magick (that of blood and marrow) while the cruel sister (Isa) had the magick of light and persuasion.
The only reason this book did not get 5 stars from me is because, unfortunately, the sister relationship (the conflict which is at the heart of the story) felt underdeveloped. We had only glimpses of both past and present day interactions between them.
The novel had overall good pacing. The plot kept a steady pace and was ideal for someone like me who doesn't like books where the plot moves like molasses. It kept me wanting to read more to find out what happened next.
This world, inspired by North Africa, felt very unique, interesting and well developed. I loved how the characters existed in a queendom (meaning only female monarchs) and how there were four distinct, sentient species who existed within varying levels of power/privilege within their society. It made the world feel more believable.
Final Rating: 4 stars