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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Blood Song by Rhiannon Hart. Sydney: Random House, 2011

Zeraphina is the younger princess of Amentia, a small queendom in the south of her continent. It's cold, getting colder and the crops are failing regularly. Her mother needs to make an advantageous match for her older daughter, Lilith - to be blunt, a rich one. When an offer comes from the northern country of Pergamia, which is much warmer - and wealthier - than Amentia, the queen is thrilled.

Zeraphina is happy, but for different reasons. Unlike her red-haired mother and sister, she is dark, with pale blue eyes, after a strange childhood illness. She craves blood. And something is calling her north. She isn't sure what, but she knows she needs to go. The worrying thing is - what if something dreadful is about to happen, not only to her but to her beloved sister?

And why won't anyone talk about the mysterious Lharmellins, who live in the bleak far-north country of Lharmell?

Despite the Gothic cover art (which girls are going to love, by the way!) the novel is a fun read. The language is colloquial and chatty and Zeraphina is a likeable character who isn't planning to be Cinderella waiting for a prince, even if she wasn't worried that she might end up biting him. She's no swooning Gothic heroine either, unless they've started doing archery and going on dangerous quests. When she does something stupid, she admits it, to herself if no one else.

It's the first in a series, it seems, so there will be something for young readers to look forward to.

This one is going straight into my school library.

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