Bloodmarked is a rich, complex, immersive, and powerful YA fantasy with amazing writing, theme, and twists. There are few points that were disappointing but I’m still going to get third book and I sure recommend this series. I buddy read this with Toni @ readingtonic
Bloodmarked (Legendborn #2) by Tracy Deonn
Publication Date : November 8, 2022
Publisher : Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Read Date : June 18, 2023
Genre : YA / Urban Fantasy
Pages : 576
Previous book in Series –
The shadows have risen, and the line is law.
All Bree wanted was to uncover the truth behind her mother’s death. So she infiltrated the Legendborn Order, a secret society descended from King Arthur’s knights—only to discover her own ancestral power. Now, Bree has become someone new:
A Medium. A Bloodcrafter. A Scion.
But the ancient war between demons and the Order is rising to a deadly peak. And Nick, the Legendborn boy Bree fell in love with, has been kidnapped.
Bree wants to fight, but the Regents who rule the Order won’t let her. To them, she is an unknown girl with unheard-of power, and as the living anchor for the spell that preserves the Legendborn cycle, she must be protected.
When the Regents reveal they will do whatever it takes to hide the war, Bree and her friends must go on the run to rescue Nick themselves. But enemies are everywhere, Bree’s powers are unpredictable and dangerous, and she can’t escape her growing attraction to Selwyn, the mage sworn to protect Nick until death.
If Bree has any hope of saving herself and the people she loves, she must learn to control her powers from the ancestors who wielded them first—without losing herself in the process.
Review of Bloodmarked
Bloodmarked is as complex and immersive YA fantasy as its predecessor Legendborn that started right after the end of the Legendborn. Bree is struggling with all the revelation of her being a Medium, a Bloodcrafter, and Arthur’s Scion. She is struggling to have control over her magic and power and she wants to fight and go out looking for the boy she fell for but the Regents who rule the Order don’t want her to go looking for Nick and risk harm falling on Arthur’s scion which can end the Line, harm other Legendborn and end the Order. In fact, the Regents don’t want the war at all, they are hiding Bree is a Scion, Nick is missing and Camlan is coming… they are trying to keep the power in their hands and soon Bree has to run for her life from the Order, Regents, Morgains, and also from the Demon hunting Rootcrafter. There are very few she can trust and she doesn’t have long to learn to control her power.
The plot is as complicated and twisty as I expected. I couldn’t guess what would happen next, where this will go. I had a little ideas/theories but they all turned out wrong. While I was happy to get many answers about the magic, past, and complicated relationships between characters, at the same time there are still some questions yet to answer which I wasn’t expecting as somehow I kept thinking this is duology and this is last book but clealy there is third book coming out next year.
Like the previous book, grief, loss, racism, and intergenerational trauma is the main theme in this book. I liked how realistically author showed how in small or big part the racism continues to be part of the system. While the first book focused on Bree’s loss and grief in this, Bree experiences losing friends and fear of losing them and we also get how grief and loss is different for bonded scions and squires. I loved this quote about grief,
“But grief isn’t a competition. It’s not an identical pain that we all meet one day when death finds us. It’s a monster, personalized by our love and memories to devour us just so. Grief is suffering, tailored.”
There is also layers of being the first person to break the barriers of the past, the burden of expectations and responsibilities, and facing judgments along with politics and deception.
Friendship is the best part of the book. I loved how Alice, William, Sel, other Lieges, and Rootcrafters helped Bree at every step. She wouldn’t have come this far without all their support and care. Their willingness to stand between her and harm was admirable. It’s all the secondary characters who made the story much more interesting than Bree alone could.
I was surprised to see so less of Nick and at the same time, I don’t feel bad about it as I never liked him. William is of course my favorite character and I sure want more of him in next book of the series. Alice was mindblowing throughout the book. I didn’t expect her so strong, witty, and kick-ass. She literally lightens the serious and tense plot. Valec is my new second favorite. It’s interesting to know about him. I wondered how he evaded catching order’s eyes and control and how he could live for so long and discussing it with Toni we could see another point how order and oath are bad for not just Legendborn but also for Merlins.
Speaking of Merlins Selwyn Kane is my most favorite character in this book. I loved knowing more about his Merlin blood. I felt for him the most. It was sad to see how he was forced to bond a boy he didn’t know and who didn’t like him as a kid, never getting the love of parents, and now forced to stay away from the oath which is making him more demon as the time passes. I didn’t exactly get his and Nick relationship in Legendborn but here more light was shed on it and how their childhood rivalry and jealousy affected their oath and bond. I was expecting he would meet his mother in this book but she still remains a no show. I hope to see her in next book or I would be sorely disappointed. What happened to him at the end is tragic and heartbreaking. He deserves a lot better, a better mother, a better place to belong to, and a better lover as well.
What I loved most is the world and magic. It has been expanded more in this book. I enjoyed knowing more about Arthur Legend, how Arthur and his table got the power through eternity spell, knowing how magic works for merlins, bloodcrafters, rootcrafters, and legendborn and how they are different from each other. It was sad to read how abatement affects Legendborn.
It is heartbreaking to read the history of slavery and about the setting of Volition, a plantation site in the fourth part. While the first book showed there is only Bree, a black person among the circle of white Legendborn, this book contradicts it. We see it’s not the case, she isn’t the first black who is part of the circle but there are other lieges and squires out there. The Legend of the Hunter and who he really is another interesting part.
There are many twists and turns and action-packed scenes. Most surprising part is climax and the last part– about what Arthur did and the revelation of who The Hunter is. I didn’t see that coming. Even though I didn’t like Bree for most of the book, I worried for her in this last part. It was brilliant how they found way out.
End is not as satisfactory as I was expecting and what happened to my favorite characters is just heartbreaking. I liked what Bree did in the end about her root and ancestors. Some readers think it’s disappointing but I and Toni both think it’s a huge statement and also a real first step in her development. It shows what the author said in the note about breaking through the burden of the past.
Why 4 stars-
I was disappointed with some of the things in this book that I didn’t expect after the spectacular first book. So here they are –
There is lots of chase in the first three parts. We sure get to know about every party’s intention and how horribly racist Regents and some of the Order members are but it kept building tension and then everything is rushed in the last two parts. The rescuing of Nick that I was anticipating from the beginning didn’t exactly happen in the first half of the book. I don’t think I clearly understand what Arthur did and how exactly that worked. I wish there was more explanation.
I didn’t like the love triangle and complications in romance. I rooted for Bree-Sel ship in this book after that moment in the first book and it was clear Bree has feelings for him but we don’t get that until the second last part. Bree kept ignoring her feelings for Sel (literally and keep finding excuses to excuse those feelings) and kept saying she loved Nick and kissed him in memory walk which made me confused and frustrated. I wanted to shake her and tell her to make up her mind and don’t play with boys, especially with Sel’s feelings. And when it was clear they are not going to find Nick unless he wants to she kissed Sel. Uh! After that point, I seriously think Sel deserved better than Bree. If she chose Nick in third book, I sware I would hate it not just because it’s a personal opinion but it would be the biggest abandonment Sel would experience knowing how he has been abandoned and used by everyone in his life.
Bree was reckless, not just in the first part of the second part but in the whole book. I get the author wanted to show her as a teenager and she sure is going to mess up like any other person of her age which made her character very realistic but at least in the last part I expected her to learn from her mistakes and not make another epic mistake. She kept putting everyone around her in danger because of her impulsive and single-minded nature. She wasn’t even listening to her friends. Sel explicitly worded how she putting herself in danger increases the danger ten times for everyone else. I can’t believe this brave courageous girl could be so idiot who thinks her friends are helping and saving her because of the Line and they have to AGAIN word it out to her what friendship is. Every time she made mistakes, every time she felt guilt and regret, said sorry, and then she would repeat the mistake-sorry cycle again and again. I would have kicked her in the ass if I could.
We also don’t get where Nick was after the third part and what he was doing or what his intention was . I hope we get more clarity on that in third book.
As I said end didn’t feel satisfactory and as strong as I was expecting.
Overall, Bloodmarked is complicated and immersive with a powerful plot and writing but I was disappointed with the lack of development in Bree’s character and romance.
Thank you for reading! Let’s chat..,
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