Monday, May 1, 2017

Spells of Blood and Kin - Review

Title:  Spells of Blood and Kin
Author:  Claire Humphrey

Synopsis:  “Some families hand down wealth through generations; some hand down wisdom.  Some families, whether they want to or not, hand down the secret burdens they carry and the dangerous debts they owe.
     “Lissa Nevsky’s grandmother leaves her a big, empty house and a legacy of magic: folk magic, old magic, brought with Baba when she fled the Gulag.  In the wake of her passing, the Russian community of Toronto will depend on Lissa now to give them their remedies and be their koldun’ia.  But Lissa hasn’t had time to learn everything Baba wanted to teach her – let alone the things Baba kept hidden.
     “Maksim Volkov’s birth family is long dead, anything they bestowed on him long turned to dust.  What Maksim carries now is a legacy of violence, and the does not have to die to pass it on  When Maksim feels his protective spell fail, he returns to the witch he rescued from the Gulag, only to find his spell has died along with the one who cast it.  Without the spell, it is only a matter of time before Maksim’s violent nature slips its leash and he infects someone else – if he hasn’t done so already.
     “Nick Kaisaris is just a normal dude who likes to party.  He doesn’t worry about family drama.  He doesn’t have any secrets.  All he wants is for things to stay like they are right now, tonight: Nick and his best buddy, Jonathan, out on the town.  Only Nick is on a collision course with Maksim Volkov, and what he takes away from this night is going to crack open Nick’s nature until all of his worst self comes to light.
     “Lissa’s newfound knowledge of magic might hold the key to Maksim’s salvation, if she can unravel it in time.  But it’s a legacy that comes at a price.  And Maksim might not want to be saved.”
Review:  I love the main premise found in Spells of Blood and Kin, you know the one: the main character, who is usually a young woman, is left a magical legacy by a dead/ missing/ retired mysterious older relative.  This main character must then figure out the details of this magical legacy which is usually a business of some type.  While discovering the ins and outs of this business she meets her love interest and by the end of the novel she is running the business successfully and the young couple is happy and in love.           While this is the main premise of Spells of Blood and Kin I found myself not loving this novel.  I found the characters to be unlikable.  I honestly though Lissa was whiny and a bit pathetic.  Her half sister Stella was never really fully fleshed out.  Maksim and Nick are sort of antiheroes, they are evil but don’t want to be evil, but they were so unlikable that I honestly didn’t care if they became redeemed or not.  Claire Humphrey’s writing is good, her setting is believable, and I enjoyed the Russian element of the novel.  Unfortunately I just couldn’t get past the unlikable characters.

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press/ Thomas Dunne Books

If you like this book you may want to read:

The Enchantment Emporium (Gale Women #1) by Tanya Huff

Carousel Tides (Carousel Tides #1) Sharon Lee

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