This debut novel by Amanda Joy, A River of Royal Blood, focuses on two sisters who must fight to the death in order to claim the crown of the kingdom of Myre. Set in North Africa this vibrant world is full of magic and in order to control the queendom you must be the strongest and the most ruthless. Seventeen-year-old Eva is a princess and has magick of marrow and blood running through her, but this dark and terrible magick has not been practiced in Myre for generations. The last time it was used changed the entire society of Myre and established the battle that Eva will have to take part in against her very sister.
Eight generations ago Queen Raina destroyed the native khimaer royalty and killed thousands, including her own sister. This began the Rival Heir tradition. With Raina’s legacy constantly present in her life, she will have to battle her sister Isa to the death in order to ascend to the Ivory Throne. Prior to the battle, Eva is attacked and this attempt on her life is more complex than it appears to be. Not only does Isa wish to kill her, but someone else is out to get her. In order to survive Eva will have to turn to a fey instructor and a mysterious prince for help in order to understand her magick. Even though she still feels love for her sister, Eva will be forced to chose between her own life or Isa’s. This story examines, power, history, identity, and family in a way that will keep you thinking long after you’ve put this book down.
Eva is a dedicated person working to learn more about her magick and find a way to wield it, when no one has for generations. On her quest she became distant from the court that she was born into and is struggling to come to terms with a life within the walls of a castle. Beyond this distance she and her sister have been set against each other since Eva’s birth. With her magick of marrow and blood it was believed she would take the throne, but her believed power is considered squandered and Isa is slated to be the would be queen. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t something that Eva can do about what is happening around her. The mythology and established rules of magic in this work are well created and are strongly balanced with the story of emotion and personal understanding. Eva has pushed her magic away for years, fearing what it could do, but as she begins to understand it she also opens herself up to a better understanding of the world around her. Secrets are revealed and as the story unfolds there are so many elements to keep you from wanting to put this book down. Joy has crafted a complex and dangerous world that will pull readers in and keep them captivted until the last page. You can pre-order your copy of A River of Royal Blood today.