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A River of Royal Blood

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An enthralling debut perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone set in a North African-inspired fantasy world where two sisters must fight to the death to win the crown. Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of marrow and blood--a dark and terrible magick that hasn't been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its An enthralling debut perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone set in a North African-inspired fantasy world where two sisters must fight to the death to win the crown. Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of marrow and blood--a dark and terrible magick that hasn't been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its last known practitioner was Queen Raina, who toppled the native khimaer royalty and massacred thousands, including her own sister, eight generations ago, thus beginning the Rival Heir tradition. Living in Raina's long and dark shadow, Eva must now face her older sister, Isa, in a battle to the death if she hopes to ascend to the Ivory Throne--because in the Queendom of Myre only the strongest, most ruthless rulers survive. When Eva is attacked by an assassin just weeks before the battle with her sister, she discovers there is more to the attempt on her life than meets the eye--and it isn't just her sister who wants to see her dead. As tensions escalate, Eva is forced to turn to a fey instructor of mythic proportions and a mysterious and handsome khimaer prince for help in growing her magick into something to fear. Because despite the love she still has for her sister, Eva will have to choose: Isa's death or her own. A River of Royal Blood is an enthralling debut set in a lush North African inspired fantasy world that subtly but powerfully challenges our notions of power, history, and identity.


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An enthralling debut perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone set in a North African-inspired fantasy world where two sisters must fight to the death to win the crown. Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of marrow and blood--a dark and terrible magick that hasn't been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its An enthralling debut perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone set in a North African-inspired fantasy world where two sisters must fight to the death to win the crown. Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of marrow and blood--a dark and terrible magick that hasn't been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its last known practitioner was Queen Raina, who toppled the native khimaer royalty and massacred thousands, including her own sister, eight generations ago, thus beginning the Rival Heir tradition. Living in Raina's long and dark shadow, Eva must now face her older sister, Isa, in a battle to the death if she hopes to ascend to the Ivory Throne--because in the Queendom of Myre only the strongest, most ruthless rulers survive. When Eva is attacked by an assassin just weeks before the battle with her sister, she discovers there is more to the attempt on her life than meets the eye--and it isn't just her sister who wants to see her dead. As tensions escalate, Eva is forced to turn to a fey instructor of mythic proportions and a mysterious and handsome khimaer prince for help in growing her magick into something to fear. Because despite the love she still has for her sister, Eva will have to choose: Isa's death or her own. A River of Royal Blood is an enthralling debut set in a lush North African inspired fantasy world that subtly but powerfully challenges our notions of power, history, and identity.

30 review for A River of Royal Blood

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    The November Fairyloot Arrived a bit late but there are some lovely things. Click on the GOODIES LINK under the pic to see the GOODIES! GOODIES LINK

  2. 4 out of 5

    Natasha Ngan

    A sibling rivalry like nothing you’ve ever read before. Joy weaves a dark yet delicate treatise on race, heritage and power whilst never losing that addictive ‘just one more chapter’ allure. I devoured it one sitting!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lucy Langford

    3.5*** rounded up! To become numb to violence was to forget to cherish life. This had exquisite world building and I loved all of the elements of magick. I loved the inclusion of different tribes and magical folk, as well as learning of the different types of magick humans and other mortals and immortals possess. This had a strong female MC whose view point was fantastic to read from as we see her dealing with despising and cold family members, magick, a court that underestimates her and romance, 3.5*** rounded up! To become numb to violence was to forget to cherish life. This had exquisite world building and I loved all of the elements of magick. I loved the inclusion of different tribes and magical folk, as well as learning of the different types of magick humans and other mortals and immortals possess. This had a strong female MC whose view point was fantastic to read from as we see her dealing with despising and cold family members, magick, a court that underestimates her and romance, as well as learning the wicked truth about the history of the land. Eva probably had the coolest magick in my opinion. This also focused on a fantasy world where there are political tensions, slavery, and court influence between the types of folk who roam the land. This also provides history of the land so the reader is able to understand why the court layout and political structure is the way it is. However, I would’ve liked more detail into this for certain parts of the land. This had a good reveal and is definitely setting up for the next book in the series. Some of the things that I thought would happen in this book sadly did not and will possibly happen in future books. This definitely left more questions than answers. I am curious to see where these characters go and what will happen to them in future books.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kogiopsis

    Okay, so. I liked it, but... I needed it to be about twice as long. For once I don't mean this in the simple 'I wanted more' sort of way, though I did/do. I mean that this book would have been much stronger had it been given more room to grow, and had the plot not been cut where it was for cliffhanger purposes. See, here's the thing - this is a book fraught with emotionally complicated situations and revelations, and yet the action moves so quickly that those emotions never really get explored. Okay, so. I liked it, but... I needed it to be about twice as long. For once I don't mean this in the simple 'I wanted more' sort of way, though I did/do. I mean that this book would have been much stronger had it been given more room to grow, and had the plot not been cut where it was for cliffhanger purposes. See, here's the thing - this is a book fraught with emotionally complicated situations and revelations, and yet the action moves so quickly that those emotions never really get explored. Take the most basic concept outlined in the blurb: two sisters who will have to fight each other to the death. We get a bit of insight into their relationship and how it has changed over the years, but while Evalina felt well-developed and her memories of Isadora as children hinted at Isa's depth, in the present day her sister came off flat, with simplistic motivations and little sense of agency, and that in turn made the conflict between them less interesting and engaging. Overall, I felt like the emotional aspect of this story ended up being told, not shown, as the plot barreled on at full speed ahead, and that's a real shame because it distracted from an otherwise excellent read. Give me at least another hundred pages for Joy to expand on character development and relationships between rapid-fire plot events and I would have absolutely adored it. Here's hoping the sequel gets more room to grow! (p.s. still utterly in love w/ the cover, even if Eva's tattoos are the wrong color.)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Elise (TheBookishActress)

    this will be a super dark, morally ambiguous, duel to the death, correct

  6. 5 out of 5

    Fares

    RTC --------------------------------------------------- North African inspired?! Where have you been all my life?! Please don't disappoint, imma cry my heart out if you do RTC --------------------------------------------------- North African inspired?! Where have you been all my life?! Please don't disappoint, imma cry my heart out if you do 😭

  7. 5 out of 5

    Angela Staudt

    I received an ARC from BookishFirst in exchange for an honest review. “Even if I had to become the wicked girl of my nightmares, a maelstrom of marrow and blood, I would do whatever it took to stay alive.” I really enjoyed this book, which is about sibling rivalry and on their namesday, they have to challenge one another for the throne. The winner and soon to be queen is the sister who defeats the other and kills her. This was a very dark book, but had such a unique fantasy that it kept me on the I received an ARC from BookishFirst in exchange for an honest review. “Even if I had to become the wicked girl of my nightmares, a maelstrom of marrow and blood, I would do whatever it took to stay alive.” I really enjoyed this book, which is about sibling rivalry and on their namesday, they have to challenge one another for the throne. The winner and soon to be queen is the sister who defeats the other and kills her. This was a very dark book, but had such a unique fantasy that it kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved the magic and the history of how it came to be, but also the political system was very intriguing and I wanted to know more. The only real trouble I had with this book, is the main focus was on siblings/sisters who have to fight to the death, but I didn’t really get to know their relationship. That was kind of like in the background of the plot the whole time, like you knew the killing had to happen, but there were more important things to worry about. I didn’t get to really know Isadore, one of the sisters, that well so I really didn’t care if she was the one who died or not. Also, I really wish I could have had more to read, this was action packed, but almost too much. It went from one crazy thing to another, and I wish there could have been a bit more information to explain what was going on. Don’t get me wrong though, the action had me on the edge of my seat and flipping pages so fast to see what would happen. I highly enjoyed this book, and it was definitely a different take from most books, which interested me from the start. I was shocked by the ending and still can’t believe what happened. That cliffhanger??? That cliffhanger was the best, but also the worst because now I have to wait until book two!! A River of Royal Blood is a really good fast paced read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    may ➹

    me accidentally getting two ARCs of this in a period of two days: it’s called winning at life A River of Royal Blood follows a princess named Eva, who must fight her sister Isa to the death in order to rule the Queendom of Myre. She’s the first person in a century who has had the magick of blood and marrow, and she must learn to control it in order to win the battle. First of all, I absolutely adore the concept of rival sisters, because it allows for so many different themes to be tackled. And I me accidentally getting two ARCs of this in a period of two days: it’s called winning at life A River of Royal Blood follows a princess named Eva, who must fight her sister Isa to the death in order to rule the Queendom of Myre. She’s the first person in a century who has had the magick of blood and marrow, and she must learn to control it in order to win the battle. First of all, I absolutely adore the concept of rival sisters, because it allows for so many different themes to be tackled. And I loved reading how Eva and Isa used to be close but drifted apart as they were forced to be pitted against each other. While I feel like their relationship could have been explored further, it was overall well-executed and that aspect lived up to my expectations. Eva never really believed she could be queen and basically set herself up for death, but she doesn’t want to die. So she finds someone who teaches her how to control her blood magick, and hone it in preparation to fight her sister. I loved how she battled with herself about the morality of killing vs. the need to keep herself alive, and in general, she was a character worth reading and loving! Even if I had to become the wicked girl of my nightmares, a maelstrom of marrow and blood, I would do whatever it took to stay alive. Other side characters also added to the book: Falun, long-time friend of Eva, Baccha, her blood magick teacher and the mysterious Lord of the Hunt, Aketo, the beautiful prince of an oppressed race, and Anali, the captain of Eva’s guard. However, I definitely think that this is more of an action-packed, plot-focused story than a character-driven one! One of my favorite parts in the book was the inclusion of the stories recounting the history of how this world of magick came to be. They were written so beautifully, and were sprinkled in just the right places. Plus, the way they were told (along with the memories to Eva’s past) helped feel like the story was building up to something. Perhaps the most captivating thing was all the magick that this world included. Honestly, the entire fantasy world was fascinating too, and I say that as someone who’s not usually one for worldbuilding or setting. Another shining highlight of this novel was its interwoven themes of power and identity, and most of all, erasure. The discussion of how the history of one race was erased draws parallels to colonization and supremacy, and it was so, so well-written. Unfortunately, the beginning started off a bit roughly for me. Objectively I could tell that things were happening to move the plot forward, but it just felt like the author was trying to set too much up in the beginning of the story. For me, there were too many looks into character backstories and worldbuilding in the beginning; once things continued, those became a lot more enjoyable for me! I think the biggest thing that prevented me from enjoying this more, though, was the lack of proper development of the characters’ relationships. Things were told to the reader, but not everything was actually shown, so the connections between characters seemed off and almost manufactured. That being said, it improved a lot over the course of the story as they got to know one another more! Once I moved past the first 100 pages, I didn’t want to put it down. “I’ll remind you every chance I get, even if you don’t want to hear it: you deserve to live, you deserve to fight, and you deserve to survive. The throne, all its glory and bitterness, is your birthright.” That being said, I still enjoyed reading the book: It was dark and thrilling, and the fantasy world that Joy came up with is so enthralling. If you don’t mind less development of character relationships in favor of intriguing worldbuilding and plot, I recommend this enchanting fantasy! :: rep :: POC (North African-inspired) MC, multiple POC (North African-inspired) characters, mlm character, multi-gender attracted male POC character :: content warnings :: multiple depictions of blood (!!), death, animal death, murder, racism Thank you to Penguin for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a spot on the blog tour! This did not affect my opinions in any way. All quotes are from an advance copy and may differ in final publication.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Aaryn Flott

    Love love love!!! The world building was sooooooo intricate! A tad predictable but fun none the less! RTC

  10. 4 out of 5

    Laura Silverman

    EPICALLY GOOD. Y'all don't even know. But you want to know. So preorder the second you have a chance.

  11. 5 out of 5

    ♠ Tabi ♠

    the magic in here is super special cause it's got a K

  12. 5 out of 5

    Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)

    3.75 Stars “It took some time, but I stood taller. I Breathed deeply; trough the air burned in my throat, I welcomed it. I allowed the smoke to cloud my mind and bade my thoughts to silence, except for one refrain: enemy, obstacle, Queen.” I went into this expecting a dark sister fantasy story and I was half right. While A River of Royal Blood is filled with whimsy and unique magic, it’s really Princess Eva’s story with her sister Isadore playing a small role. Born with a feared blood and 3.75 Stars “It took some time, but I stood taller. I Breathed deeply; trough the air burned in my throat, I welcomed it. I allowed the smoke to cloud my mind and bade my thoughts to silence, except for one refrain: enemy, obstacle, Queen.” I went into this expecting a dark sister fantasy story and I was half right. While A River of Royal Blood is filled with whimsy and unique magic, it’s really Princess Eva’s story with her sister Isadore playing a small role. Born with a feared blood and marrow magic not seen since the vicious Queen Raina conquered Myre for humans generations ago, Eva must try and master these unknown powers if she wishes to fight for the throne, and only the strongest Rival Heir will survive. Things I Liked The worldbuilding hooked me from the very beginning. I loved the different types of magicks and the different histories for Myre, Dracol, and the Roune Lands. I especially loved getting stories from Bacchas - they felt like fairytales, which was so very enchanting. And I really loved learning about the different races in Myre. There was some great commentary about race and legacy in the story as well. I truly loved a lot of the characters. Princess Eva goes through quite a journey from shying away from her powers to embracing them. Bacchas was a scene stealer - so charming. Aketo has this commanding presence and I loved learning more about Khimaer magic from him. I expected to get more from Isa and Falun, but maybe in the next book? I loved the chemistry between everybody too. I was rooting for basically all the possible couples from the beginning. I honestly would have been okay with any combination for a romance. Things I Didn’t Like Miscommunication was used a few times in the story, and one time really bugged me near the end. You can’t be mad at somebody taking action with the information they have, then judge them based on the greater amount of information you have. It was just mildly frustrating. I feel like the book spoiled itself unintentionally. I don’t want to say too much and give anything away, but it was very easy to tell what certain reveals were going to be based on information the story gave us - and I don’t mean foreshadowing or clues. The cover art confused me bc it was all wrong. When I got descriptions of Eva’s white tattoos, I thought she was on the left. But when she described how she took after her father: darker skin and hair, so she was clearly on the right. I got confused before I realized that the cover art was just wrong. It didn’t take away anything from the story, obviously. And it’s a stunning cover, again obvious, just want to give you a heads up in case you tried to figure out which sister was which while reading. A River of Royal Blood is a rich fantasy story with excellent worldbuilding I can’t wait to dive back into. The characters are complex and captivating and the magick is unique. If you’re looking for a fantasy story that will hook you from page 1, look no further. I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tucker

    loving this cover

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer

    Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer... The Buzz I was on the lookout for African based fantasy YA so I was totally interested in A River of Royal Blood when I saw the cover. And while the cover doesn't slay me it's strength lies in giving us a sense right away of what this book is going to be about. Obviously magic and sisters! If we're using characters on the cover though the art should be true to those characters and not have wrong details. A River of Royal Blood is not a title I Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer... The Buzz I was on the lookout for African based fantasy YA so I was totally interested in A River of Royal Blood when I saw the cover. And while the cover doesn't slay me it's strength lies in giving us a sense right away of what this book is going to be about. Obviously magic and sisters! If we're using characters on the cover though the art should be true to those characters and not have wrong details. A River of Royal Blood is not a title I love, its rather obscure, but it does come directly from the text... which I do like! The Premise A River of Royal Blood is about a nation ruled by a Queendom. Every generation the next queen is chosen through combat... with her sister. Eva is the underdog in this fight as she was born with magick of marrow and blood. This magick hasn't been seen since the first queen brutally toppled the original khimaer royalty. And I have to say the magic and the different races were the best part of the story! From the premise and even the excerpt I read I didn't get the sense that this would centered on an internal struggle Eva deals with not wanting to kill. You're raised with the idea that you HAVE TO kill your sister to survive... so you accept that. It was really quite distracting how Eva kept going back to the past and reminiscing on tiny interactions with her sister. She only lived with her sister when very young so I just didn't get where the extreme bond came from. It was very thin for me. So when Eva kept beating her chest about killing her sister I just didn't buy it. I did adore the different races! I've always loved the fae and we also got the khimaer, humans with animal traits like horns, sharp teeth and claws, etc. Top this with the very regular humans and we have a recipe for racial tensions! And the different races and their specialties were used really well! In fact I totally fell for many of the secondary and minor characters who embodied these races. And I liked where the story took these tensions in regards to the plot. However I felt like we were on a mouse wheel the entire middle of A River of Royal Blood. Things happened okay. Like we met the characters that I came to adore. But I just felt like we didn't get anywhere. It felt like endless setup and then BOOM! We have a battle and it's over. The pacing just didn't work for me. I ended up feeling way more bored than I should have. My Experience After reading the excerpt I was really excited to read A River of Royal Blood. I was so jazzed about the different races, the magic and the African fantasy setting. There seemed to be a rich back history to the Queendom and to Eva's life. And the end has some explosive reveals. I wasn't a fan of the sister's battle but we end at a neat part. I would actually read the next book to see where the races and the characters I love go with it all. I didn't truly get the gravity of the racial tensions while the story was setting up, which is really neat. There is a lot to like. There is a lot of potential. But I wanted more and better interactions between Eva and her sister. IN. THE. PRESENT. I wanted LESS running around doing nothing. And I needed a character whose motivations were supported by all the back history we went over. A River of Royal Blood has a fascinating world with three great races that I was dying to learn more about... and I got to explore them with some fabulous secondary characters. We get a true blue teenage protagonist and while I found her boring, I did find her situation heartbreaking. ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐ Authenticity ⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Writing Style ⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ World Building B+ Cover & Title grade Thanks to Bookish First and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. It has not influenced my opinions. ______________________ You can find this review and many others on my book blog @ Perspective of a Writer. Read my special perspective under the typewriter on my reviews... Please like this review if you enjoyed it! *bow* *bow* It helps me out a ton!!

  15. 4 out of 5

    MariaWitBook

    I can only say that I loved the book! I was fortunate enough for a friend to get it even before I got my copy and because she finished it in one sitting she called me straight way asking if I want to read something really really good! I’m grateful that I said yes straight away! As reading this book give him hours of pure enjoyment! I will totally recommend it! Specially if you went through a reading slump and you are looking for a pick you up book look no further! Great book! Strong powerful I can only say that I loved the book! I was fortunate enough for a friend to get it even before I got my copy and because she finished it in one sitting she called me straight way asking if I want to read something really really good! I’m grateful that I said yes straight away! As reading this book give him hours of pure enjoyment! I will totally recommend it! Specially if you went through a reading slump and you are looking for a pick you up book look no further! Great book! Strong powerful characters and last but not least the way the author pulls you into this fantastic world of magic is just wonderful! Wondering if this could become a series! I would love to see the art on a second cover!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rec-It Rachel

    HELL YEAH

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    You can also read my review here: https://devouringbooks2017.wordpress.... Review: 4 Stars A River of Royal Blood was a title that I was excited for the second that I had seen its cover and read the synopsis. I had followed this book through pre-publication even though I doubted that I could get my hands on a review copy, so when I learned that the publisher was sending me one I was absolutely thrilled. This book grabbed my attention and didn’t let go. I had a hard time setting it down and now You can also read my review here: https://devouringbooks2017.wordpress.... Review: 4 Stars A River of Royal Blood was a title that I was excited for the second that I had seen its cover and read the synopsis. I had followed this book through pre-publication even though I doubted that I could get my hands on a review copy, so when I learned that the publisher was sending me one I was absolutely thrilled. This book grabbed my attention and didn’t let go. I had a hard time setting it down and now that I am finished with it I am anxious for the sequel. The plot of princesses fighting for the right to rule the throne is one that I have read before, but Amanda Joy’s writing made A River of Royal Blood stand out. While the pacing wasn’t fast and the book wasn’t full of action I found it compulsively readable and had a hard time tearing myself away from it. The world that Amanda Joy created in this book was rich and filled with vivid descriptions, yet left plenty of room for growth in the following installments. The plot lines were captivating and the plot twist at the end caught me by complete surprise. I enjoyed reading about all the characters in this story, but I did feel that Eva was lacking a bit of personality and at times she felt a little flat. I think the book could have used a few lighter moments to help show more sides to the characters. Baccha was a character that really fascinated me. I loved his personality and his backstory was so interesting. I also felt that he was so mysterious and I can’t wait to get more of his story in the next book. I loved the different magical races, the fey, khimaer and the bloodkin were each so fascinating and I’m glad they weer a large part of the story. I do hope that in the next installment there will be more history of the world, but also some bloodkin characters, as in this book they were only briefly touched upon. A River in Royal Blood was an absolutely stunning fantasy debut, filled with captivating writing, a richly built world and a plot twist that I never saw coming, this isn’t a book that you want to miss. I am already itching for the next installment because I need more of this world and I need to know what happens next.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Frank-Intergalactic Bookdragon

    Prereview March 2019 Ah yes, and here we see publishers begin slapping "perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone" onto any African inspired YA fantasy. On a side note, I personally neither love nor hate the cover, it's okay. Looks like most YA fantasy nowadays.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Aimee ♥ | Aimee, Always

    dark sibling rivalry yaaaas i will read the fuck out of this book

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chloe

    *Spoiler free* Just from the title alone, I wanted to read this book. It sounds dark and a dark royal story sounds amazing. Then it just sounds better from the synopsis. I've recently fallen in love with sister stories and this one sounded complicated and bloody. There's also a Queendom, terrible magick, and handsome princes. I'm not sure how I feel about this one overall. I didn't love it, but I liked it well enough. I almost put it down, but I decided to push through since there were a few *Spoiler free* Just from the title alone, I wanted to read this book. It sounds dark and a dark royal story sounds amazing. Then it just sounds better from the synopsis. I've recently fallen in love with sister stories and this one sounded complicated and bloody. There's also a Queendom, terrible magick, and handsome princes. I'm not sure how I feel about this one overall. I didn't love it, but I liked it well enough. I almost put it down, but I decided to push through since there were a few things that were interesting. The writing was a huge thing that kept me going. It moved forward so easily and made everything more vibrant. There is a lot of information dump throughout the book. I usually don't mind, but I felt like it sort of interrupted the flow of the book and more information about the world was explained unevenly throughout the book. It probably served the plot well, but I just thought they way it was executed could have been better. Despite this, I really enjoyed the world. It was such a unique feel to it. The magic and political system is different from anything I've read. I really enjoyed both of them. They're dark and bloody. I liked how the current rulers of the Queendom were flawed and it reflected on to how the kingdom is run. Most books don't take this route and I liked seeing how things could be better in this world through Eva and the changes she wanted to make. The magic was really cool and I liked how I got to learn more about at the same time as Eva! I also really liked Eva. She's really well rounded and I liked her character. She feels things so deeply. There is such a range of emotions she goes through throughout the book and how they flowed was done really well. It felt realistic and natural. I didn't connect to this book a whole lot emotionally. A lot of the scenes that has strong emotions running through them fell flat for me. Stakes didn't feel as high as they were and I just couldn't feel the tension in some of them. When something dramatic happened, I would almost miss it because I couldn't quite connect to the feelings the scene was trying to provoke. Pacing and the development of some relational aspects were also a bit off for me. Things seemed to jump around and some things the book was going for didn't really hit the mark personally for me. There was also a lot less of the sister relationship than I thought there was going to be. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, I just wasn't expecting it. I think if Eva and Isa had interacted more, I would have been able to connect to the emotional turmoil Eva was feeling more strongly. Despite the issues I had with this book, I really enjoyed the overall story and I'm looking forward to where it goes in the next book. I think it has a lot of potential. I can't wait to see where the romance goes, how the magic develops, and the path that Eva decides to take. There's still so many secrets in this world and I can't wait to find them out.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tahirah

    I’m still so conflicted about this book. I loved the world and the rich culture that just flew off the pages. I loved the the idea of sisters fighting for the crown. I loved that it was very much focused on women. I loved the different races of the characters and the different magical beings. I loved the depiction of Eva and her moms relationship, I related so freakin much. I loved the writing as well. It just flowed effortlessly. I will say that I LOVED Prince Aketo. The representation of this I’m still so conflicted about this book. I loved the world and the rich culture that just flew off the pages. I loved the the idea of sisters fighting for the crown. I loved that it was very much focused on women. I loved the different races of the characters and the different magical beings. I loved the depiction of Eva and her moms relationship, I related so freakin much. I loved the writing as well. It just flowed effortlessly. I will say that I LOVED Prince Aketo. The representation of this sensitive black man whose power involves understanding emotion MADE ME EXCITED. Even with the little rep we get of black men in YA they’re either A. hyper masculine or B. Not the love interests. I’m so happy to now have a BLACK book boyfriend ❤️❤️❤️ I didn’t like the magical abilities. They were so circumstantial and weren’t that practical, especially Eva’s. I also didn’t really see the North African influence and idk if that’s coming from my lack of knowledge or that it just wasn’t there. I feel like all the characters were SUPER fleshed out except for Eva, her sister and her mother. Their storylines just fell very flat and it was ALOT of telling rather than showing. Eva was probably my least favorite character. Although she gained some more confidence by the end of the story she was still very bratty. She was surrounded by all these people that loved her and supported her and because the court and her mother still feared her powers she constantly dismissed any affection or praise. And lastly the most annoying thing was that Eva and Isa barely spoke. We didn’t see them fight till the end and we only witnessed their relationship through flashbacks. I would’ve preferred to see more of their relationship now because it would’ve added to the suspense leading up to the fight. All in all, I did enjoy the story and I’m WAYYYYY more excited about the next book. ARORB was a good introduction but now that Eva has come into her own and has a stronger sense of agency and now that the world has been explained we can really get into the plot and details and an expansion on the romance. This was well done for a debut author.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sami

    Joy shows massive talent in her stellar worldbuilding and tricky premise. l loved the complex system of magic and rich history of the kingdoms. My only complaint is how much I hated Eva's mother and sister. Truly, they were so awful that I was ready for Eva to end them all. Luckily, Eva is much more level-headed than me and in true heroine style, grows as a person over the course of the book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Janani(ஜனனி)

    THE COVER SLAYED ME INTO SHREDS.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Boston

    3.5 stars

  25. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    I kept waiting for the main plot of this book to pick up, but it never seemed to happen. We didn't get to learn a lot about our characters or our world in this book, we were just thrown into it. It's like the author expected us to know everything about the world and the characters already. The plot of this book moved very slowly and once it did start to get moving, it wasn't interesting and didn't keep my attention. Overall, this book disappointed me and left me confused on what had happened in the I kept waiting for the main plot of this book to pick up, but it never seemed to happen. We didn't get to learn a lot about our characters or our world in this book, we were just thrown into it. It's like the author expected us to know everything about the world and the characters already. The plot of this book moved very slowly and once it did start to get moving, it wasn't interesting and didn't keep my attention. Overall, this book disappointed me and left me confused on what had happened in the book. I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dark Lordette Jennymort ♔

    **Update 05/10/2019** why the hell is this not out yet and how do i get my hands on an arc?!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gabby

    A River of Royal Blood is a fabulous and exciting read. The premise reminding me of Three Dark Crowns, a novel I was so excited to read because of the premise, but was disappointed by. So, picking up A River of Royal Blood, I hoped it would do more for me with it's similar premise than Three Dark Crowns did...and it did. I read it all in a few short hours of receiving it. The writing immediately captured me, and the characters, and the plot, kept me enthralled. This book had great world A River of Royal Blood is a fabulous and exciting read. The premise reminding me of Three Dark Crowns, a novel I was so excited to read because of the premise, but was disappointed by. So, picking up A River of Royal Blood, I hoped it would do more for me with it's similar premise than Three Dark Crowns did...and it did. I read it all in a few short hours of receiving it. The writing immediately captured me, and the characters, and the plot, kept me enthralled. This book had great world building, with the information / backstory (which led to the books climax) slowly being weaved throughout the book, in the form of being told as a story by Eva's tutor, Baccha. I admit, I did get confused at times with all the different places, etc. But the mythology and stories behind how all these places came to be, were well thought out, and interesting. The magic system was also great, and I liked that we got to see Eva go on her journey of learning how to use it and be comfortable with herself. I feel like the book nicely weighed up her internal struggles surrounding her identity and her magick. The wide range of characters was great. In particular, I loved Baccha, and I low-key ship Eva and him together...Sorry Aketo, you are great too... I loved the way this book held adventure, action, and mystery. It all comes together at the end in a brilliant, shocking way (I feel silly for not seeing it coming. I mean, I had a slight suspicion which was along the lines of what happened, but I didn't guess it all). My one 'issue' with this book would be that I wish we got to see more of the Queen and Isadore, and flesh out their characters more. For a lot of the book, they felt like sort of stock-holder antagonists. We did have some moments with the Queen/Eva, and Eva/Isadore, that touched upon the deep complexities of their relationship, but they felt too fleeting. This didn't impact my enjoyment of the book much, as I still felt all of Eva's pain at their betrayal and abandonment, but I think the book would have benefited from exploring these relationships further. I will put this under spoiler tags, as this is a pivotal moment of the book (view spoiler)[I was a bit sad that the 'duel' between Eva and Isadore was so short, when that was the whole premise the book was built upon and the whole book was spent building to this moment. It happened very, very close to the end, and spurred the revelation of Eva's true heritage and essentially set in to motion the plot for the next book. So, I can't help but feel like the ending felt a bit too quick, with reveal after reveal happening and the BAM! ending. Don't get me wrong, this wasn't awfully done. But the whole book was built on the premise of the duel between sisters....and it barely even happened. I had a feeling from the beginning that Eva wasn't going to kill Isadore, because she's all about changing the traditions of the past and undoing the injustice done against people. (I did have another thought of Isadore actually winning, in a surprise twist, and the sequel being from her POV. With Isadore's characterisation, I'm glad it didn't. I like Eva). So, that certainly makes things interesting for their relationship in the sequel, especially with the binding between them still being present, meaning Isadore is still the only one who can kill Eva... (hide spoiler)] I am very excited and looking forward to the sequel and where it will go.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Toya

    4.5 stars rounded up! Before I even get started on this review, I want to take minute to gush about how incredible this cover is! I about died when I saw the cover reveal, and all I wanted was to hold its gorgeousness in my hands. Anyways, now onto the book. From the first few pages, A River of Royal Blood immediately pulls you into a beautifully vivid and dark fantasy world where sisters must fight to the death to prove their ability to rule as the True Heir and Queen of Myre. Princesses 4.5 stars rounded up! Before I even get started on this review, I want to take minute to gush about how incredible this cover is! I about died when I saw the cover reveal, and all I wanted was to hold its gorgeousness in my hands. Anyways, now onto the book. From the first few pages, A River of Royal Blood immediately pulls you into a beautifully vivid and dark fantasy world where sisters must fight to the death to prove their ability to rule as the True Heir and Queen of Myre. Princesses Isdaora and Evalina are night and day when it comes to looks and the magick abilities that they each possess. Eva possesses the magick of blood and marrow. Her magick is known for bringing death and destruction. At the age of nine, the Queen separates Eva and Isa from each other after an incident with Eva’s magick leaves Isa injured. Now that Eva approaches her eighteenth birthday, it is almost time for her to face her sister in the ultimate battle for the Queendom. Weeks leading up to Eva’s birthday, tensions with Isa are at an all time high. When an assassination attempts are made on her life, it seems that Isa is not the only one that wants Eva dead. Eva must enlist the help of Baccha (leader of the Wild Hunt) and Aketo (a mysterious khimaer prince) to teach her how to use her magick and defend herself once and for all. I honestly couldn’t help getting swept up in this incredible story. The magick and world building was absolutely incredible. We learn about feuding races and each of their legacies. I loved learning the history behind Meyre, Dracol, and the Rhoune lands, as well as the magick and abilities that the people of those lands possessed. I thought that Baccha’s historical retellings very much felt like those intricate fairytales that are passed down over generations, and I was completely entranced by them. I found all of the characters to be intriguing and complex. My favorites were definitely Baccha and Aketo. Baccha clearly has secrets to hide, but there’s something mysterious and alluring about an immortal being as old as he is. Aketo is the gorgeous, quiet type who definitely wears he feelings on his sleeve so to speak. There’s definitely a budding romance in this tale, but it’s unclear if Eva’s sights are set on Baccha or Aketo…to be fair, I was rooting for both because each one of them has electrifying chemistry with Eva. Overall, if you love an emotionally charged dark fantasy wrought with incredible world building, magick, and a sibling rivalry unlike no other then definitely read A River of Royal Blood! Thank you to Penguin Teen for providing an ARC. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    This was an entertaining book with a few issues. The general premise of the book sounded very interesting, this rivalry between two sisters and Eva's blood magic. Eva herself was a relatable main character. Most of her actions seemed well-informed or at least understandable. Again, I didn't really care for the romance, but I basically never do and the love interest wasn't horrible or abusive or anything. The descriptions were amazing! This book had such a lush language with vivid colours and This was an entertaining book with a few issues. The general premise of the book sounded very interesting, this rivalry between two sisters and Eva's blood magic. Eva herself was a relatable main character. Most of her actions seemed well-informed or at least understandable. Again, I didn't really care for the romance, but I basically never do and the love interest wasn't horrible or abusive or anything. The descriptions were amazing! This book had such a lush language with vivid colours and rich smells that made it really immersive to read. It was definitely one of the strongest points for me. Also, the worldbuilding was well done. The complex magic unfolded bit by bit together with the history of Myre. I appreciated this a lot. However, I had two major issues with the book: the side characters and the pacing. I found many of the side characters and especially the two main antagonists, Isa and the queen, underdeveloped. I mean, they were awful people, but I wanted to know more of them, have them feel like real people. I expected more from the sisterly relationship and had hoped this would be a focus of the story. And the pacing was way off for me. It started well, but then dragged through the middle only to rush the ending. I would habe preferred more hints and interactions with minor characters in the middle to make it more rounded. And the ending needed to be longer. The final climax was over so quickly, I felt like I missed it. So many revelations were rattled down in one long monologue. I expected more from the build-up. Overall, it was an entertaining debut that I would recommend to YA fantasy readers.

  30. 4 out of 5

    mghrebia

    ok looks interesting but i have to say i'm curious why this book is being marketed as north african. nothing about it looks north african. not the names, or character, clothes on the cover or anything. it doesn't appear to be own voices so i'm extremely skeptical.

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