Title: Greythorne (Bloodleaf #2)
Author: Crystal Smith
Publisher: HMH Books For Young Readers
Release Date: September 1, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Summary: Princess Aurelia’s life is turned upside down when the kingdom she thought she saved turns to ruin, a loved one is tragically killed in a shipwreck, and her home country refuses to respect her brother’s legitimate claim to the throne. With no place left to call her own, Aurelia returns to Greythorne Manor—her best friend’s family mansion—only to get swept up in a coup d’état on the night of her brother’s coronation.
With everyone turned against her and enemies closing in on all sides, Aurelia has nothing left to lose in a mad fight to protect the only people she has left—her family. But in her darkest moments when all seems grim, will Aurelia find a spark of hope from a love she thought long lost?
Halt! This review is for the sequel to Bloodleaf, so if you have not read Bloodleaf yet, tread carefully, as there may be some spoilers of the plot. You can read my review of Bloodleaf here!
Sometimes you read a book that’s beautiful and wildly creative and full of life. And sometimes you read the sequel to said book and have your whole heart swept away and breath knocked right out of you…but in a good way. That’s exactly how I felt with Greythorne. Smith provides a sequel with heartache and hardships, with love and insurmountable loss, and with beautiful imagery and a unique storyline. Greythorne has easily become my favorite in this trilogy, though I have a feeling Ebonwilde will top both books but destroy me (hopefully in a good way) in the process.
The ending to Bloodleaf had me wondering about what Smith had in mind for the characters. Bloodleaf almost wraps up like a great standalone, so I found myself wondering: what does Crystal Smith have planned for these intricate characters and should I be worried? The answer is YES, and let me tell you, Greythorne is a beast out for revenge and it is wonderful. I read the synopsis of Greythorne, and I saw the direction Smith was heading in and crumbled, legitimately freaked out, as I will protect Zan and Aurelia to the ends of the Earth. I know I needed to read Greythorne before I finished Bloodleaf, but the synopsis reveal of Greythorne increased my impatient need for the sequel. And I continuously thank the amazing publishers at HMH and Crystal for the opportunity to read this beauty early.
I remember reading the prologue of Greythorne. I remember being wonderfully excited to finally read more of Aurelia’s story. And when I finished reading the prologue, I remember looking at a family member and telling them that I was in for a wild ride. And I was one hundred percent correct. Y’all. You have no idea what’s in store for you in Greythorne. The plot continuously thickens and when you think you know the answer, you don’t. At least, not until the end. Smith’s writing is so captivating and poetic; I was hooked from the very first line until the last, and even after I finished Greythorne. It’s a superb sequel filled with everything a sequel needs and more.
Aurelia shines in Greythorne. Her character development is phenomenal. She was brave in Bloodleaf, but in the sequel, she’s also strong and fierce and more determined. She’s set on figuring out how to end the blood oath made between her and three people she loves; she doesn’t want to see anyone else she loves die at her expense. And her companions (especially one newly introduced character I absolutely love) will do everything to protect her and make sure justice is served to those trying to end magic. I also loved the romantic relationship with Aurelia and Zan. It’s not too much that it takes away from the overall story, but adds a delicate touch to a world filled with darkness. And I can’t wait to see what happens to them in Ebonwilde, especially with how Greythorne ends.
Of course, the world building is just as lush and vibrant as Bloodleaf. But the world in Greythorne takes a darker turn, which I found to be an exciting fit for the story. It’s a world filled with power and darkness and ghosts, and it’s a new world Aurelia has to learn to navigate and conquer. And she knows there’s only one outcome that will change the tides for good.
Probably one of my favorite parts of Greythorne was putting the pieces together and answering the questions I had from Bloodleaf. That rush of excitement from fitting the puzzle pieces together stays with me to this day. I absolutely loved it. I enjoyed how everything started to connect and how Greythorne ended with me needing to know the answers to the questions left unanswered. Greythorne is, all in all, a sequel worth the wait.
In the end, Greythorne outshines its predecessor in many ways. Crystal Smith does a brilliant job of connecting the story and building off the original plot. I was, overall, pleased with the sequel and I am impatiently waiting for Ebonwilde.
If you are a fan of unique fantasy worlds with dangerous magic, chilling ghosts, and imaginative world building, I recommend reading this wonderful series.
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars