One Sentence Synopsis
After years of surviving as a vigilante with superpowers, Neela is forced into a competition to determine who the next ruler of the domain she lives in will be.
“Let’s see, to me I guess [the stars] represent the souls of those we’ve lost. Well, the souls of the good people, at least.”
“What happens to the souls of the bad people then?”
“They become part of the darkness the stars shine so brightly against, their punishment being hidden from the eyes of the living humans below.”
Before I jump into this, I wanted to thank the author, Kaitlyn Legaspi, for sending me a free e-book in exchange for an honest review. I had a fun time and it was definitely appreciated! Now, let’s dive in.
Red Blood is the start to a new YA fantasy series that features a young woman named Neela. Neela lives in a world where there are two types of people: bound and unbound. Bound are your every day citizens, living every day lives. But the unbound are people that have incredible powers, like the ability to move at super speeds or produce flames. Neela is an unbound who uses her powers as a vigilante in the slums of the domain she lives in. Because unbound are often treated like no more than animals and Neela is determined to fight back. Then her entire world is turned upside down when the current Queen of Cards, the ruler of Neela’s domain, dies and there is to be a competition between all unbound with multiple powers to see who will replace her. Now, she is fighting for a place that she’s always viewed as corrupt to make sure it doesn’t fall into the hands of someone far more sinister.
I think my favorite aspect of this book was the action. This was such an exciting beginning to a new fantasy series! There were parts of this story that had me absolutely breathless! I thought the pacing was fantastic. There is never a dull moment in this story, even when there isn’t any fighting going on. Gotta love a high stakes tale with assassins and superpowers! Kaitlyn Legaspi has created a wonderfully unique world in this story, as well. There’s a lot of moving pieces to it and I felt like I couldn’t quite get a grasp on it all, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a good time learning about it! This is world that is centered around a deck of cards, with fifty two different domains, so there’s a lot going on. On top of that, there are so many different types of unbound powers that it took a second to wrap my head around it. But I think the author does a good job of feeding us information as the story unfolds. I just wanted more!
The characters are also a great aspect of this story. Neela is a fantastic main character! She’s tough, she’s smart, and she has a level of sass that I loved. She doesn’t always make the best decisions, but what seventeen year old does? I enjoyed the fact that she was flawed and had a softer side that we got to see as the story progressed. I will say that she was the most layered and developed character of the crew. Though I enjoyed the other characters we meet throughout the story, they felt like caricatures that were there to support Neela’s story arc. They didn’t feel as fleshed out to me, though I still found myself caring for them. What can I say, I’m a sucker for the found family trope 🤷🏾♀️ The amount of times that we got descriptions of hair/eye color for all of the characters, however, was a tad excessive. Still, I have a firm picture of all of them in my mind and that’s not a bad thing!
Final thoughts: This was such a fun, fast-paced story that had me on the edge of my seat! Though I got a bit lost in the world-building and some of the characters felt a little flat, I still found myself enjoying the overall story. I flew through this book, which is always a good sign! I think, for the start of a new YA fantasy, this is a solid beginning. If you’re a fan of complex worlds, with an interesting magic system, a wonderfully crafted main character, and the found family trope (*chef’s kiss*), I think you would enjoy Red Blood!