Blood Heir (Blood Heir, #1)

by Amélie Wen Zhao

4.06 of 5 stars 16 ratings • 7 reviews • 60 shelved
Book cover for Blood Heir

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Blood Heir (Blood Heir, #1)

by Amélie Wen Zhao

4.06 of 5 stars 16 ratings • 7 reviews • 60 shelved

BLOOD HEIR is the first book in an epic new series about a princess hiding a dark secret and the conman she must trust to clear her name of murder.

Princess Anastacya Mikhailov of Cyrilia has lived her life in safety, hidden behind palace walls. But when she is framed for her father's brutal murder, she must leave behind everything she has ever known to find his killer and prove her innocence. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help her—Ramson Quicktongue.

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

A YA epic with a bloody twist, BLOOD HEIR is perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard, Sabaa Tahir, and Sarah J. Maas.

  • ISBN13 9780008328054
  • Publish Date 21 November 2019 (first published 4 June 2019)
  • Publish Status Active
  • Publish Country GB
  • Publisher HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • Imprint HarperCollins
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 464
  • Language English


Avatar for briana

"Dark" is an apt description for Blood Heir, a book where so many terrible things keep happening to the characters that it's difficult to say the story is "fun" or "enjoyable" to read. However, an interesting plot and strong world building kept me turning the pages and have me excited to read the sequel when it's released.

I did struggle with the beginning because ostracization, torture, injustice, violence, and slavery are all recurring themes, and while these are obviously important topics, they can make the book feel heavy. Each time I picked it up, I wondered what awful thing was going to happen to which character next. However, as protagonist Ana and her unlikely crime lord partner begin to come into their own--their abilities and their beliefs--the story also starts to show more hope. They know things will be hard, and more things will go wrong, but they realize that they must try, that it is their choices that define them.

I do wish I could have rooted for both characters a bit more. While the author does strive to make both nuanced, I felt she missed the mark in representing what are supposed to be their fundamental characteristics. For instance, Ramson is supposed to be the best criminal in the entire country, a man who can accomplish what no else can with cunning and ruthlessness--yet he never does anything particularly impressive during the course of the book. He gets into and out of a few scrapes, but so often it seems that other people are getting the upper hand on him; I can believe he's a skilled criminal, but I don't believe he's the best or unparalleled.

Ana is also a bit difficult. She struggles with having a blood Affinity, the ability to control others' bodies with their own blood, either to toss them about or to hurt or kill them. (Possibly she could figure out how to heal with it, but she doesn't know how.) Her brand of magic means many people think she's a monster, while she hopes she is not. However, her struggle here is also not as nuanced as it could be. Other characters in the book repeatedly mention that Ana is good, inspirational, etc.--but all I could see is how many people she kills, viciously, violently, and occasionally with some satisfaction because they "deserve" it. She mentions repeatedly that it's your choices that define you, but she kills dozens of people in horrendous ways over the course of the book, and I don't think her regret or struggle to come to terms with whether it was unfortunate but "necessary" is delved into enough.

Yet I did like the book. It has a sweeping scope and takes a thoughtful look at a nation that has become corrupt and is perpetuating terrible human rights violations through legalized indentured servitude (or what we as readers would recognize as modern-day slavery). Arguably this, recognizing the slavery and then finding ways to end (revolution? politically? something else?) it is truly the premise of the book, more so than the plot line about Ana searching for the man who murdered her father, which is mentioned in the official summary. Ana grew up shut up in the palace (because of her own Affinity), but now that she is out in the world, she begins to see the signs and the effects of this slavery everywhere--in the people selling food her at a festival who have bad contracts and aren't allowed to leave, in the back rooms of "reputable" places where work contracts are bought and sold, in the turned backs of the national guard who are supposed to protect the vulnerable but are willing to exploit them for the right amount of money. Injustice is everywhere, and she and her friends realize they cannot turn away.

Overall, this is a fascinating story that takes the basic story of Anastasia and turns it into something new. That something isn't always pretty because the world and the characters are dark, but it's compelling, and I think many readers will be gripped by the story if they give it a chance.

Avatar for littleread1

littleread1 3 of 5 stars
This had everything I love - forced allies, hidden identities, creepy magic (I mean, HELLO, she can control the blood in other people's bodies!) - but it just fell somewhat flat for me. And the cover isn't great (The UK/Aus cover is so badass!) I want to have liked it. I really really do. I will pick up book 2 if/when I see it, but I don't think it is one I will go search for.

Avatar for quirkycat

Quirky Cat 5 of 5 stars
Blood Heir is the first novel in a trilogy of the same name. And man! Did this novel ever live up to my expectations! This was the debut novel of Amelie Wen Zhao, and I have to say that she is an author worth keeping an eye on.
In a world where magical abilities are well known, we find our main character, Ana (aka Princess Anastacya Mikhailov), determinedly looking for vengeance. And who can blame her? She was framed for the death of her father, forced to go on the run, and further forced to hide her abilities. This novel brings magic and the tale of Anastasia together into one lovely series. It's complicated, political, and full of emotionally compelling moments, mystery, and declarations of revenge. In short, it was perfect.

Warnings: This is a world where magical abilities aren't unheard of. Unfortunately, they're valuable and feared. The end result is that people with abilities are frequently captured and enslaved. This is a brutal system, to put it lightly.
Blood Heir was an absolutely brilliant read, and is easily one of my favorite reads this year. Part of me actually hates that this novel just came out, because of the wait for the next installment. Ana's tale was gut-wrenching and beautiful at the same time. I just couldn't get enough of it.
As I mentioned above, this novel reminded me a lot of the tale of Anastasia – with several twists, of course. Ana was accused and then framed for the death of her father. And while she survived the attempts on her life – despite the belief of the people thinking otherwise – she still has a lot of work ahead of her. She's determined to get revenge for both her father's death and for her framing. But that task is easier said than done.
The action and abilities in this novel were brilliant. The fight scenes were well described, adding a new perspective on how magical abilities could be used in a fight. And how they can be feared. And let's not forget the politics, planning, and scheming that went on inside these pages. Because trust me – there was a lot of that. It helped to obfuscate the reality of Ana's situation and her attempts for revenge, making the journey more daring and dramatic.
Personally, it was the romantic subplot that really pulled me in. I know, that surprised me too. But it was so compelling and so beautifully written. It gave the series a chance to have a moment of brightness in an otherwise darker tale. It balanced out the main plot perfectly for that reason.
I loved everything about Blood Heir. I didn't end up reading this novel in one sitting – like many of the others that I fell in love with. But trust me, I was a very cranky girl at work waiting for my next break so I could get back to it! Now I just have to wait for news about the next novel in the trilogy.

Avatar for bgsbooks18

bgsbooks18 5 of 5 stars
I received a E-ARC from Netgalley for my honest review. I want to say thank you Netgally for letting me read this book.

This book was amazing. I need more of this story!!!

Blood Heir is about a girl that has a amazing power and a Con man that need a way out.
Ana is dry my to find the man that killed her father. She gets framed as her father's killer and is locked up. Ana has some help with escaping the place. After she leaves her home she is out to find the man that changed her world. The only way for her to find him is with a very well known .com man named Ramson.
Rams on helps her get out of the prison they both are in and makes a trade with Ana. She doesn't know his intention with the trade but she will do anything to find her dad's killer.

This story is thrilling and actin packed with a little bit of a love story. If you would like to call it that.

In really enjoyed reading this book. I look forward to the publication of this book and I really hope that it happens.

I wound highly recommend this book.

Avatar for nightingalereads

Woah. I had high hopes going into BLOOD HEIR, because dark fantasy is a particular favorite of mine, but this book completely blew those expectations out of the water. I devoured the whole thing in a single day because I just could not stop reading! Zhao's story features a blood-wielding princess on the run and the untrustworthy conman she's forced to team up with on her quest for revenge. Aside from the brutal wintery setting, I also love the author's commentary on power and privilege, right and wrong, and what makes someone a monster. If you're squeamish about blood, I will warn you that this book contains some semi-graphic scenes of violence. Nothing too horrible, but I think it's worth mentioning. Overall, BLOOD HEIR is a unique and gripping introduction to a trilogy I've already fallen hard for. Seriously, I need that sequel!