Blood Heir by Amelie Wen Zhao

Disclaimer: I received this book from netgalley. Thanks! All opinions are my own.Author: Amelie Wen ZhaoBook Series: Blood Heir Trilogy Book 1Rating: 4/5Publication Date: November 19, 2019Recommended Age: 16+ (violence, gore, death, hate, and prejudice/racism portrayed through magic in the book)Genre: YA Fantasy RetellingPublisher: Delacorte PressSynopsis: 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.Review: I’m really happy that the author decided to move forward with publishing this book and I’ve seen a lot of similar sentiments around as well. I think the book is pretty decent. I loved the character development and the pacing of the book was well done. It had a very even pace and I felt that works well for most readers. I also think the writing is amazing and you can tell the author poured her all into this work. I liked that the book also discussed racism and prejudice via the affinities. I do have the version that came before the author made some revisions so I will be buying the finished copy one day to compare/contrast on my own, but from what I see I liked it.My only complaints were that the book was a bit heavy on the Anastasia story. I think the book could have been better if we weren’t constantly reminded of her tragic backstory/this is an Anastasia retelling, but I also think that this story didn’t need to use an Anastasia foundation to make it magnificient. I’m all for retellings and I think retellings are the modern version of a campfire story that gets passed down generation to generation by word of mouth, but I think this story was strong enough to stand in its own category, not that of Anastasia. I also didn’t like the POVs through Ransom, but that was just me and my feelings. I skimmed his sections and read Ana’s, which I don’t think impacted the story at all for me.Verdict: Definitely worthy of a read, whether you’re for or against it.