Title: Bloody Spade
Series: Cardplay Duology #1
Author: Brittany M. Willows
Expected Release Date: September 15, 2021
Genres: Urban Fantasy/ Mild Romance
A girl full of heart
A thief touched by darkness
A boy with a fiery temper
An unwitting servant of evil
The era of magic was once thought to be a myth, but after the Reemergence ushered forces both dark and light into the mundane world, it has since become a harsh reality. Now those affected by this strange power—a specialized group of Empowered called Jokers, known collectively as Cardplay—must protect their world from the darkness that threatens to consume it, all the while fighting for equality in a society clinging to normalcy.
But the Reemergence was only the beginning.
When another influx occurs on the seventh anniversary of that fateful event, an unfortunate encounter at ground zero lands Iori Ryone, a teenage boy in possession of a corrupt and legendary magic, in the care of recent Joker graduate Ellen Amelia Jane. From him, she learns the Reemergence may not have been the inevitable natural disaster it first seemed.
Someone is trying to tear down the barrier that separates the magical realms from the mundane. The question is, can Cardplay stop them before it’s too late?
Bloody Spade is the first installment in an urban fantasy duology that follows a cat-eared thief and a spirited girl as they try to navigate his wild magic, her hotheaded brother, a sinister plot, and the feelings they’re developing for each other.
This book caught me by surprise. I accepted a review copy having never even heard of it before, and these characters just unexpectedly stole my heart!
But first, I’m going to comment on the magic system/world building. I found the fact that it was built around card suits very fascinating. We’re only given brief snippets of explanation on this, but it was always intriguing. Giving us a little more background on it is the only thing more I would have asked of the author.
When it came to character development and my connecting with the characters, I couldn’t have asked for more! Ellen and Iori have the slowest budding romance in the history of romances, but Ellen is a gray-asexual female, and every bit of the slowness worked and made sense. The chemistry between Ellen and Iori was always sweet with the constant hope for more. And then add in the tensions of Ellen’s brother going missing after he tries to take Iori down. The plot was full of intrigue, too!
Friendship and found family were strong themes in the story. The friends/family that Ellen and her brother, Alexander, have formed are so good! And I loved how Iori so fully embraced the life and people at Cardplay – a very diverse cast of people I might add!
There’s so much more that I’d love to say about this book, but I can’t without feeling like I’m giving too much of the plot away. I absolutely can’t wait for the next book of this duology! I recommend this for urban fantasy/romance fans that enjoy diverse characters!
*Please check out trigger warnings elsewhere if you have triggers. I tend to overlook adding them in my reviews.*
Have you read Bloody Spade? Are you planning to?