Monday, April 4, 2011

Review of Blood and Flowers by Penny Blubaugh

Blood and Flowers
Three years ago, Persia ran away from her drug-addict parents and found a home with the Outlaws, an underground theater troupe. With time, this motley band of mortals and fey, puppeteers and actors, becomes the loving family Persia never had, and soon Persia not only discovers a passion for theater but also falls in love with one of the other Outlaws. Life could not be more perfect.

Until an enemy makes an unfair accusation against the group and forces them to flee their world and hide in the neighboring realm of Faerie. But in Faerie, all is not flowers and rainbows. With bloodthirsty trolls, a hostile monarchy, and a dangerous code of magic, the fey world is far from the safe haven the Outlaws had hoped for....

Following up her critically acclaimed Serendipity Market, Penny Blubaugh has created a beautiful and mysterious world where anything can happen—especially what you least expect.

I confess, I was dubious going into Blood and Flowers. While I thought the premise sounded intriguing, the title felt a little overdramatic. I still don’t think the title is the perfect fit for this story, and I certainly had issues with the novel, but I enjoyed getting caught up in Blubaugh’s world.

Blubaugh has created a place where the mortal world and Faerie exist side by side, albeit at odds. The world building was nicely explained and an original concept. While no particular passages of prose stuck out to me as being particularly mindblowing, all of the description tied together made me want to see an Outlaws show, or visit a shop where I could buy thread to make books. Occasionally there would be lists in the middle of this story, produced by Persia, the main character and narrator, and while I thought this was a fun idea, it sometimes made the story choppier.

Speaking of characters, they were what I loved most about this story. I think they all could have stood alone, but I loved reading about their family-like dynamic. Meanwhile, I felt that the romances in the story stuck an excellent balance between being sweet and overdone.

As many good things as I have to say about this novel, the pacing felt really off to me. It seemed like we didn’t really get to the primary conflict of this story until about the last 75 pages. Furthermore, everything that happened in the last chapter felt incredibly rushed, and read like the author cut corners in an attempt to finish her manuscript. I would have preferred that section a lot more if it had been two or three chapters with a bit more meat. I read an ARC of this book, though, so maybe it’s different in the final version.

Complaints aside, Blood and Flowers was a unique read. While Blubaugh did a nice job of tying up her plotlines, she also left a couple of lingering questions at the end, as well as room for a sequel. I loved the Outlaws so much that if she wrote another story about them, I would definitely pick it up. While I don’t think this novel is for everyone, I think fans of fey will find this book to be quick and entertaining.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Star Book Tours.

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