Blood Heir (Blood Heir Trilogy #1) by Amelie Wen Zhao #bookreview #YA #fantasy

This hot debut is the first book in an epic new series about a princess hiding a dark secret and the con man she must trust to clear her name for her father’s murder.

In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.

When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue.

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all. 

Honestly, mention a con man in a book description, and I’ll usually jump to read it.  I’m sure that speaks to something psychologically, but the books generally turn out to be fantastic reads.  And Blood Heir was absolutely was.

Every time I thought this book was falling into predictable YA territory, it surprised me and threw in a curve.  Love it when that happens.  The magic system is intricate, well done, and unlike anything I’ve come across in other YA fantasies.  I also appreciated that even though this is the first in a series, it doesn’t end with a cliffhanger, but is still open-ended.

I really felt for Ana and her situation.  Losing her family is tragic enough, but being framed for her father’s murder is devastating.  I did wonder how she managed to survive during her time away – she tends to strike first and deal with the consequences later.  But if you don’t have flawed characters, where’s the conflict?

Ramson had me from the first page.  He has the whole charismatic, streetwise, cocky, but completely untrustworthy thing going on.  Utterly charming.  Being at a crucial crossroad in his life, his character arc is riveting and easily my favorite.

This book had a rocky start, but I’m so glad it’s being published.  An outstanding debut from an author I plan on reading more of.  If you enjoy flawed characters with questionable loyalties, a complex plot, and a unique magical system, add Blood Heir to your TBR.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

22 thoughts on “Blood Heir (Blood Heir Trilogy #1) by Amelie Wen Zhao #bookreview #YA #fantasy

    1. I’ve been on a pretty good roll, Mae. I’m struggling with one right now, but it’s more that it’s a complex world and a different style of writing. Hoping to finish it today.


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