Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn. New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, .
The middle book(s) in a series always feel a bit like a letdown. You know you’re not going to get resolution and answers to all of your questions, and it is easy for the story to get swamped down in details and foreshadowing for the next book.
That didn’t happen in Bloodmarked. Deonn has written a wonderful second entry in the Legendborn Cycle that lives up to the promise of the first novel, and gets you ready for book three!
Bree is getting ready for the rite that will awaken Arthur’s Table and complete her transformation into Arthur’s Awakened Scion. She is woefully unprepared, given that she hasn’t spent her life getting ready for this moment, like the other Legendborns. Luckily, she has her friends – Alice, William and Sel – to help her prepare for the Rite and deal with the pressure from the Regents and the Legendborn leaders. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have her boyfriend Nick, who is Lancelot’s Scion and was abducted by his father after Bree was Called. And she is having little success crafting armor and weapons from aether. Most of the time, she just burns herself.
Bree wants nothing more than to complete the rite so she can go rescue Nick, but, of course, nothing goes as she plans. After being betrayed by the Regents and the Legendborn leaders, Bree runs for her life. She goes to Volition, a Root stronghold, where she will be safe and can figure out her next move, but what happens next changes everything.
This is a book you don’t want to put down because every chapter brings a new danger to Bree and her friends, as well as an escalation of the “will they, won’t they” sexual tension between Bree and Sel. Being a Gen Xer, it reminds me of the Angel/Spike love triangle in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s hard to choose between Nick and Sel, because they both love Bree, and they love each other, having been bonded for so many years. They bring out different sides of her, and she needs both of them in her life.
Deonn’s world-building is fantastic, and her description of the two branches of aether/root magic is fascinating. She has taken all of the racial unrest of the South (and all of the U.S.) and expressed it through the magical structure of her world. It feels all too familiar when people express racist sentiments and treat Bree as less-than in both the magical and non-magical world.
Now we have the long wait for the next book!
Mary Beth Adams is the Community Engagement Librarian for Alamance County Public Libraries. She can be reached at email@example.com.