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ARC Review: A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy

Summary from Goodreads:

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.


It only took around fifty pages before I was completely hooked by this intense YA Fantasy! I got an early copy of this from BookishFirst and found a new favorite author.

What I Liked:

Setting/World Building/Plot. I felt completely sucked in by this story and the new world Joy crafted. I went in with low expectations because I was afraid, based on the book summary that it would be too similar to other YA novels and boy was I wrong. Joy has crafted a unique plot with great characters and a complex world.

Pacing/Action. The only time I felt that the pacing was slow was the first fifty pages but once those passed the action picked up. The pacing onward was well-done and it kept me reading. I did not want to put it down.

Writing Style. I enjoyed Amanda Joy’s writing style so much (no pun intended XD). I will be reading the second in this series and anything she puts out in the future. The descriptions were well-done along with the characters, the action, the world-building, and the structure of the story.

Characters. Of course, my favorite character was Eva, who is the main point of view for the whole novel. But, Joy did a great job with the side characters as well and they felt fully formed and compelling. I think it would have been fun to see more other character’s points of view, like Isa, Eva’s sister who she has to fight for the throne or Eva’s love interest.

Magic System. I would have liked to see even more magic but I felt that the author did a great job of crafting the magical system. The main character’s magic of blood and marrow was super unique and interesting to learn more about as the plot unfolded. I’m looking forward to book two to see what other magic is explored.

Romance. I loved that the romance was not the center of the novel. It did not overshadow the main plot at all, the love interest was interesting and good, and most of all it was a slow burn. All of my favorite things!

Series. While I was reading I was hoping that this would be a series because I wanted more of these characters and the world. Thankfully, the cliff hanger at the end and a look at Goodreads confirmed that I will be able to dive into this world again, yay!

I completely recommend picking up this debut YA Fantasy. It is in the running for one of my favorites of the year!


5 Stars Out of 5 Stars


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