Cruentus Protectum (Defend the Blood)
But what do you do if your blood is your enemy?
Victoria Warrick has always known she was different. An outcast at school, she is no stranger to adversity. But when she receives an old journal for her seventeenth birthday, nothing prepares her for the dark secrets it holds — much less one that reveals she’s a witch with unimaginable power.
What’s more, when she meets the dazzling but enigmatic Christian Devereux, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. Enemies will hunt her. Friends will turn on her. The terrible curse that makes her blood run black will stop at nothing to control her. And Christian has a sinister secret of his own…
Without knowing whom to trust, can Victoria survive her blood’s deadly desires? Or will she lose everything, including herself?
According to Tori Warrick, she’s just an average teenager trying to survive the “mean girl” society that is high school. But as she soon finds out, Tori is anything but average—in fact, she comes from a long line of extremely powerful witches, and as she comes into her powers she realizes that there are much worse things in life than a few bullies in high school.
This was a really interesting read. I enjoyed the twist on vampires and witches, and while some of the novel was predictable, Howard does a great job making her debut novel stand apart from other vampire/witch novels. I really enjoyed Tori, though some of the decisions she makes drove me batty. She does, however, begin to come of age in this novel, and I enjoyed seeing her come to terms with herself and her love for Christian. Admittedly, the on again, off again relationship between Tori and Christian did get a little old after a while, and I wouldn’t have minded if some of that were cut out. But overall, I think the climax of the novel was extremely worth it, especially as it becomes clear who the true enemies are and we learn just how sinister and evil warlocks, witches, vampires, and even humans, can be.
For a debut novel, Howard really blew me away, and I’m excited to read the next book in the Bloodspell series, Bloodcraft, when it comes out next year. I love the idea that Tori’s blood is so powerful and can cause such devastation, and I love that we get to see so many different paranormal factions in action throughout this novel. Four stars.