Book Review: Blood Heir by Amelie Wen Zhao

Book: Blood Heir by Amelie Wen Zhao

Published November 2019 by Delacorte Press|455 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Blood Heir Trilogy #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

This hot debut is the first book in an epic new series about a princess hiding a dark secret and the con man she must trust to clear her name for her father’s murder.

In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.

When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue.

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all.

I really liked Blood Heir!  I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially with some of the controversy surrounding the book.  I was still interested enough to read the book.

It seemed very Russian-esque to me, and for some reason, I kept thinking about the Anastasia Romanov, and how people thought she was alive.  I think some of the language used is why I kept thinking about Russia.  I could picture a really cold landscape that seemed bleak but also sort of interesting and beautiful.

I can’t wait to see what happens next, because Ana’s work is definitely far from over.  She does have a kingdom to win back, and it certainly won’t be easy for an Affinite, especially one with her ability.  But if anyone can do, it’s her.  I don’t know how she’s going to get the support she needs, but I feel like she can rally the troops in time for the epic battle I’m pretty sure will happen in the last book.

I really liked Ana, and I really felt for her.  Something about how her dad treated her ability reminded me of how Elsa’s parents acted in regards to her abilities.  I’m hoping things aren’t what they seem, but I do wish we saw flashes of what her mom thought.  The way people were told she was sick in order to hide it, how her brother was really supportive…I am also getting some Elsa vibes in addition to the Anastasia vibes.  I don’t know if it will be just this book, or if we’ll see more similarities come out over the rest of the series, but I did really like it.

And how the Affinites were treated were horrible.  I can see why early readers saw slavery but I think human trafficking came through much more strongly, at least for me.  I’m curious to see how it comes up over the rest of the series, and I really felt for all of the characters we saw who were taken, only to be put up for auction.  It made me sad for all of the real-life people who have no way out.

What happened to May was really sad, but I think it’s more because of how Ana reacted to it.  I just felt like we didn’t spend with May, but it definitely felt like it affected Ana, and I hope she finds May’s mom.

4 stars.  I really liked it but I I didn’t love it.  I still can’t wait to see what happens next!