Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Blood Magic Review

Book: Blood Magic
Author: Matthew Cook
Grade: B+

I just finished Blood Magic. It's not the type of book that I would normally give a second look, let alone buy and read. But while browsing the bookstore isles the cover caught my eye and after flipping through a few pages I wanted to know more about Kirin.

*Spoilers Below*

Blood Magic tells the story of Kirin, a necromancer. Her story is presented in alternating chapters that switch between her past and present before finally coming together at the end.

Through her past we find a quiet girl who was very much the opposite of her outgoing, identical twin. She found solace in books and playing outside where her twin found her fun in boys, one boy in particular. Over time her sister falls more and more for the guy until she is determined to marry him, but not without Kirin marrying his best friend as well.

Through the manipulations of her twin, Kirin's parents are convinced that she should marry and both twins are. The marriages serve as a catalyst for the turn of events in the story that lead Kirin to seeking out the knowledge of a wise woman, Kirin's twin being killed, and eventually, Kirin killing her twins murder and forever changing her life.

Through her present we see Kirin fighting in the war against the Mor, creatures that come out of their underground dwellings every few generations and go on a human killing spree. We also see Kirin battling a war with herself; one against her dead twin who, Kirin had bound herself to and now lives within her. It should also be noted that we never find out Kirin's actual name. 'Kirin' is the name of her late twin sister. After binding her sisters soul she takes her sister's name as well.

Kirin uses a power that she has acquired but doesn't really understand to raise the dead at first (in her past) for company, but eventually (in her present) in order to help with the battle. She refers to these creations as her sweetlings or children and she feels a motherly affection for them regardless of how grotesque they look. Her power as a necromancer doesn't gain her any fans and Kirin is looked at as a demonness of sorts. This does not bother her though or stop her from raising the souls of the dead to help her in battle.

A series of events which include meeting the beautiful elemental Lia Cho, having one of her creations turn against her and finding out that she is pregnant, steadily lead up to Kirin reexamining her profession.

While the story is full of action I did find myself a little bored with it all. Mainly because I didn't like that all we really know about the Mor is that they don't like humans. We never understand why. We get some suggestions: Like they might not like that humans took their land, but that's it. Never knowing the actual motivation behind the Mor made story very one sided.

I did like the alternating chapters of past and present and felt like Cook pulled it off very well. I also liked Kirin and her lack of apology for who she was and what she did. I did find a little thread of attraction between Kirin and Lia Cho. It seemed to me that Kirin became enamored with Lia and Lia with Kirin. It will be interesting to see how things progress between the two in the upcoming book. Grade B+

The second book in this trilogy, Nights of Sin, will be released in August.

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