We Are Blood and Thunder Dual Review: Pros and Cons of Curses, Necromancy, Fate, and Masks

January 4, 2021 by Bec | 3 stars, 4 stars, Books, Reviews

We Are Blood and Thunder Dual Review: Pros and Cons of Curses, Necromancy, Fate, and MasksWe Are Blood and Thunder by Kesia Lupo
Series: We Are Blood And Thunder #1
Published by Bloomsbury on April 4th 2019
Source: Publisher
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Barnes & Noble
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In a sealed-off city, it begins with a hunt. A young woman, Lena, running for her life, convicted of being a mage and sentenced to death. Her only way to survive is to trust those she has been brought up to fear - those with magic.

On the other side of the locked gates is a masked lady, Constance, determined to find a way back in. She knows only too well how the people of Duke's Forest loathe magic. Years ago she escaped before her powers were discovered. But now she won't hide who she is any longer.

A powerful and terrifying storm cloud unites them. It descends over the dukedom and devastates much in its wake. But this is more than a thunderstorm. This is a spell, and the truth behind why it has been cast is more sinister than anyone can imagine ... Only Lena and Constance hold the key to destroying the spell. Though neither of them realise it, they need each other. They are the blood and they have the thunder within.

The Good Things

  • Fantastic YA/NA standalone fantasy debut (one MC is 17, the other 23ish).
  • Super interesting world with a nice side of a cursed town (It’s an interesting time to read about pestilence, death, and quarantine haha).
  • Loved the steampunk elements! I was not expecting that so it was a fun surprise.
  • It’s addictive! Early on I was so caught up in the story I forgot to take notes! It was so easy to keep turning pages.
  • I loved how the story was told through two storylines. Lena’s story had most of the greater world building, where as Constance’s storyline dealt more with the direct plot and intrigue.
  • Winton was precious. Loved seeing a bit of a sibling relationship between him and Constance.
  • Interesting magic system and explanation!
  • Powerful ending! I’m mildly in shock writing this review. 

 

The Not-So-Good Things

  • I feel like this story could have been even better if it was written as a duology. Just to have more time to flesh out the characters and romance.
  • Definitely wasn’t sold on the romance. There weren’t really any scenes where I felt the characters were building toward a romantic relationship. It’s like they meet and interact, then suddenly share a kiss near the end. Unfortunately this meant some aspects of the ending didn’t pack the emotional punch they should have.
  • I expected the temples and gods to have a bigger role than they did. Their different magic and factions are another aspect I would have loved to explore more. It feels like we barely scratched the surface.
  • The final act, as good as it was, did end rather abruptly. Right after the big climax we get a tiny bit of epilogue that closes some plot points and then it’s over and I’m just left here trying to process all my emotions.

 

This was such a good fantasy standalone debut, I loved so much about the world and the plot. The only thing stopping it from getting 4.5 or 5 stars was some weak romance. It’s definitely left me with a book hangover. Cannot wait to see what Kesia Lupo does in the future.

Rating: 4 out of 5

We Are Blood and Thunder Dual Review: Pros and Cons of Curses, Necromancy, Fate, and MasksWe Are Bound by Stars by Kesia Lupo
Series: We Are Blood and Thunder #2
Published by Bloomsbury on July 9th 2020
Source: Publisher
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Barnes & Noble
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On a mysterious island where the inhabitants worship a god of secrets and hidden truths, masked assassins are trained to do his bidding - or so they believe. Beatrice is one of three mask-makers. Her blood is a conduit for the god's wishes and her creations reflect his desires. But her mother warned of a terrible secret released upon her death, and soon Beatrice finds herself asking whether her future has really been foretold and if it is truly set in stone.

Livio is a descendent of the most powerful family on the island. He will be the first male ruler in centuries, but what he hasn't told anyone is that his magic is out of control. Is he infected by Chaos or has his destiny already been decided for him?

Beatrice and Livio don't realise their fates are bound together. They are puppets in someone else's game. It is up to them to stop a masked assassin with a deadly agenda who could bring down not only the temple, but the gods themselves.

Another thrilling, plot-driven adventure, with an even bigger twist, We Are Bound by Stars is a tale of masks, politics, desire and deception that will have you gripped once again in Kesia Lupo's rich fantasy world.

The Good Things

  • Companion to We Are Blood and Thunder. It’s set after the events of WABAT but can easily be read separately without too many spoilers.
  • Introduced new types of magic, astromancy and the mask magic, which were fascinating.
  • Seriously loved the sandwolves and the masks.
  • Sister relationship! As one of three siblings, I related to the triplets a lot.
  • Features a rebellion, but it was different to the usual YA rebellions. The rebels are the actual villains and stay the villains! (In most YA the rebels are morally right and the MCs end up joining them to fight against their corrupt rulers).
  • Really liked Livio’s character and journey to leadership.
  • There is a mask at the end of the story that I seriously need a whole book about. The concept is creepy and amazing!

 

The Not-So-Good Things

  • Just like the first book, there was so much potential plot and world that wasn’t explored as deeply as I’d like. And all the things I found most interesting weren’t introduced until the very end. I wanted more of it! Especially one particular mask’s magic.
  • It set up what I thought was going to be a LGBTQ romance with a strong place in the story, but then that fizzled… twice.
  • Carlotta, a secondary character who was barely in three or four chapters, is a character I found more interesting than Beatrice, the actual main character…
  • The rebellion felt like it was barely in the novel. It was introduced in the beginning, then we kept hearing about it but events directly relating to it were scarce until the last third. It was quite anticlimactic honestly.
  • The villain was pretty cliche. This was particularly disappointing after the villain in WABAT.

 

I enjoyed this book overall but was left feeling underwhelmed. The most interesting plot points were fascinating but not introduced until the very end of the story, which was frustrating.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Bec is an Aussie blogger and reader who loves all types of novels. Fantasy, sci fi, and historical are my usual go-to genres. If I’m not binge reading, I’m usually gaming, trying to take decent photos for bookstagram, or freaking out about silly things.

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