Heart of Red, Blood of Blue

Young Adult

HISTORICAL:  Ever since a battle broke out at her betrothal ceremony 10 years ago, albino Princess Gisela’s life has been consumed by war.  Hidden away from the assassins and kidnappers who would use her royal blood for their own political gain or her albino blood for black magic, Gisela knows little of the world outside her governess and her tower.  After her remaining siblings are murdered, Gisela is betrothed to a neighboring king in a deal that will hopefully end the war.  However, when the lecherous king summons Gisela to his bed before the wedding, she makes a run for it, only to be captured by Bloodless Kristoff, the man deemed responsible for singlehandedly wiping out her family.  But as Gisela discovers, sometimes battle lines are murky and things are not at all as they seem.

At the outset of the novel, Gisela is painfully naive, her poor choices are cringe worthy, and the reader may want to give up in frustration. However, patience is rewarded as the transformation of Gisela from naive princess to self-assured queen in the second half of the book is well worth the wait.  More time could have been devoted to the romantic plot line in order to increase believability and up the stakes.  Nonetheless, this full-bodied novel is rich in plot twists and turns that are sure to keep reader guessing until the end.  Although the steam level of this book is kept to sweet kisses, the violence and bloodshed are on par with other war novels.  This bittersweet tale of incredible loss and redemption is sure to appeal to readers!

Elissa Blabac