American teen Emma Wong has been condemned to spend her summer in England with a mother she hates, a father-in-law she can’t respect, and an infant brother who couldn’t possibly be actually related to her. Nothing, not even the attention of two gorgeous guys, or the fact that she’s technically of legal drinking age in England, can fully distract her from her ever-worsening disappointment. Nothing, that is, until she is drawn into a friendly-seeming group who call themselves Druids. They teach her to be at peace with herself and to be one with nature. But their simple rituals and celebration of life soon take a darker turn, and the question becomes: is this merely a cult, or is there actual power in what they are doing? And, either way, what are their true goals, and how dangerous could they become to themselves and to others?
By Blood captures Emma’s adolescent confusion, frustration, exasperation, and her desperation to fit in, as she staggers between her family issues and the irresistible magnetism of the Druids and their leader, Simon. Along the way, the story touches on questions of rebellion, independence, family, identity, and belonging. In a genre overpopulated with modern fantasy stories, By Blood keeps its feet planted on the ground as Emma simultaneously yearns for something magical to believe in, but also quests for proof, of solidity and reality, all while disoriented by a haze of hormones and alcohol.
The first-person narration can be frustrating at points when Emma dithers over which boy she prefers, but by frustrating the reader, it also captures her own emotional state, enacting her turmoil as she avoids thinking about the critical problems in her life. Overall, it is quite a worthwhile read, and while readers may either sympathize with Emma or not, those issues that she encounters are, in the end, genuinely thought-provoking.
|Author||Tracy E. Banghart|
|Page Count||368 pages|
|Publisher||Tracy E. Banghart|
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