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A riveting fantasy, Bloodleaf would not let me sleep. Aurelia keeps you guessing and hopeful as she grows with the book; I couldn't be more of a cheerleader for her defiant and noble nature. Ghostly messengers, dangerous blood magic, and a lighthearted romance, make this debut novel a must-read for fans of Everless or The Cruel Prince.
Spring 2019 Kids Indie Next List
“I adored this dark fantasy take on ‘The Goose Girl.’ The characters are beautifully imagined, and witnessing Aurelia’s transformation from willful princess into selfless heroine was incredible. Smith’s system of blood magic is a fascinating and original idea. Bloodleaf is about one girl’s quest to save a kingdom, but more than that, it’s about loyalty to oneself and others and the strength that comes from it.”
— Sami Thomason, Square Books, Oxford, MS
“Enchanting, visceral, and twisty”— New York Times bestselling author of Ash Princess, Laura Sebastian
“BLOODLEAF feels like a classic in the making.” – Sara Holland, New York Times bestselling author of Everless
A roar of a dark and luscious epic fantasy that’s layered with heady romance, bloodthirsty magic, and ghostly intrigue—an absolutely wicked delight.
Aurelia is a princess, but they call her a witch.
Surrounded by spirits and burdened with forbidden magic, she lives in constant fear of discovery by the witch-hunting Tribunal and their bloodthirsty mobs. When a devastating assassination attempt reveals her magical abilities, Aurelia is forced to flee her country with nothing but her life.
Alone and adrift in an enemy kingdom, Aurelia plans her revenge against the Tribunal, desperate to bring down the dark organization that has wrought terror upon her people for hundreds of years. But there's something deeply amiss in her new home, too, and soon she finds herself swept into a deadly new mystery with a secretive prince, the ghost of an ancient queen, and a poison vine called Bloodleaf.
Aurelia is entangled in a centuries-long game of love, power, and war, and if she can't break free before the Tribunal makes its last move, she may lose far more than her crown.
About the Author
Crystal Smith is a writer, photographer, and artist who developed an early love of storytelling in a family of voracious readers. She resides in Utah with her high school sweetheart husband and two lively sons. When she isn’t writing or creating, she can be found re-watching Jane Eyre or reading ghost stories with all the lights on. @crysrensmith.
“[R]omance, danger, and magic make for a winning combination that will keep readers glued to the pages long after bedtime.” –School Library Journal
"A multifaceted scheme, mistaken identity, and a simmering romance will keep readers riveted and dying to know how it all unfolds. The exploration of the land’s religion and people’s conflicting understandings of it seems to be a reflection of the real world, lending the story a deeper commentary without sidelining the main plot. An excellent choice for fans of smart, independent female leads, intriguing fantasy worlds, and a race against the clock to defeat evil." –Booklist
"The plot is breathlessly fast, complete with creepy spirits, a satisfying romance, and complex but clear political twists and turns....Political, romantic, magical, timely, yet also traditionally appealing." –Kirkus
"[A] riveting read....rife with surprising twists....This novel is a well-developed page-turner that will have fans of both the fantasy and mystery genres rushing to finish." –Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Debut author Smith explores the power of sacrifice in this darkly romantic reimagining of the Brothers Grimm’s 'The Goose Girl.'" –Publishers Weekly
Early praise for Bloodleaf:
“Enchanting, visceral, and twisty, Bloodleaf is a phantasmagorical wonder that will keep you guessing until the very last page.”–NYT bestselling author of Ash Princess, Laura Sebastian
“Eerie, immersive, and fascinating, Bloodleaf feels like a classic in the making. Readers will be pulled deep into Aurelia's world, and lose sleep alongside her as the deadly mysteries close in.”–Sarah Holland, NYT bestselling author of Everless
“Smith weaves together mystery, adventure and a reimagined fairy tale in this bewitching debut. An irresistible, spellbinding story.”–Rebecca Ross, author of The Queen’s Rising
“I am all in my feelings about this book. This book got under my skin and poked at my soul. Bloodleaf is gritty, raw, and dark but it is also beautiful and powerful. Crystal Smith is like the George R.R. Martin of YA. A roundhouse kick to the heart and readers will ask for more—Crystal has a new fan!”–Kim Brock, Joseph Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH
“Bloodleaf provides food for thought on our world even while immersing readers in a fully imagined world of its own. The combination of magic and political intrigue make it a great choice for fans of Victoria Aveyard or Susan Dennard.”–Leslie Hawkins, Spellbound Children’s Bookshop, Asheville, NC
“I was so absolutely enthralled with what was going on that I wasn't even thinking more than a sentence ahead. Highly Highly recommend!!”–Nichole Cousins, White Birch Books, North Conway, NH
“Bloodleaf is one of those rare stories that truly grabbed me from the very first paragraph and never let me go. So much more than a retelling of the Grimm fairy tale the Goose Girl, Crystal Smith has woven a tale of identity, secrets, adventure, magic, and love that I just adored. I cannot wait for what comes next!”–Lauren D’Alessio, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA
“Unusually convincing romantic tension and exceptionally dynamic character development.”–Kenny Brechner, DDG Booksellers, Farmington, ME
“Bloodleaf is an intriguing and suspenseful fantasy, sure to be popular with teen and adult readers. I loved it and am already looking forward to book 2!”–Holly Frakes, Schuler Books and Music, Okemos, MI
“Being strong means making important choices in a moment— Aurelia has to abandon her emotional and physical comforts, and her family to save her kingdom. Through complicated magic and courage, Aurelia shows us how believing in yourself, while not being selfish, conjures up a power that brings justice to her world.”–Kira Wizner, Merritt Bookstore, Millbrook, NY
“A YA fantasy page turner, Bloodleaf captures all the excitement of a strong princess fighting for her country and her life while exploring her identity.”–Jen Kraar, City of Asylum Books, Pittsburgh, PA