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Blood Magic: Blood Journals    by Tessa Gratton order for
Blood Magic
by Tessa Gratton
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

This frightening tale of blood magic and the witches who use it takes place mostly in an old country graveyard in a small Midwest town. Nick is a high school senior who has just moved next door to an old graveyard with his dad and wicked stepmother. Silla lives on the other side of the graveyard. Nick sees Silla for the first time, sitting on a grave trying out a magic spell. The story bounces back and forth using first Silla's voice and then Nick's.

Silla is still raw with grief from the recent death of her parents. She found their bloody bodies when she returned home from school. Everyone (except Silla) believes her father killed her mother and then shot himself. She doesn't know what happened, but she knows what didn't.

Silla receives a note and a book from someone called the Deacon, who once knew her father. The book, hand-written by her father, is filled with magical spells. After her initial surprise she tries a spell in the graveyard on his grave. When it works, she begs her brother, Reese, to read the book and try the magic with her.

Reese's anger at their father is as much a part of him as Silla's disbelief that her dad shot himself and her mother. He scoffs at the book in the beginning until Silla demonstrates the magic.

Silla and Nick meet again at school and soon they are a couple. He doesn't mention that his mother does magic and taught him things during his early childhood before she deserted him. He'd forgotten most of it, but the magic comes back to him as he, Reese and Silla work spells. Before long, it becomes apparent that they are not the only ones who understand the magic comes from blood - and someone will stop at nothing to have the book and Silla and Reese's father's body.

This was a scary, magical novel that includes a love story. Gratton has left plenty of room for a sequel since not every question is answered. It'll be hard to make a follow-up as frightening as this one since readers already know about blood magic, but there's still plenty to learn about the characters.

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