Friday, July 14, 2017

'Blood Crystal' by Jeanette O'Hagan

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There's something very special about today's review, because it's part of a blog tour. It was started off by the author, Jeanette O'Hagan on her own blog here. Over the next couple of weeks, Blood Crystal will be featured on a variety of different blogs. There will be interviews, reflections and competitions. My stop is the second in line, with this review. At the end, have a look down the bottom of this blog post for Scavenger Hunt details and next blog on the list. 


MY THOUGHTS:

This novella is the sequel to Heart of the Mountain, which I also enjoyed. It takes off right where that story ends. The area in which the action takes place reminds me of a microcosm of our world. Racial differences and tensions between the cave dwellers and above grounders are intense and fun to explore. In each case, it's easy for readers to immerse ourselves in their contrasting customs and attitudes, putting us in a position where we can easily understand both mindsets. That's an interesting place to be, since they're opposite in many ways.

This time, twins Delvina and Retza discover that the future of their people is at risk, since the crystal heart technology which gives them light, warmth and life is losing its strength. There are some ancient instructions but they're too cryptic to fathom. In the face of this calamity, Delvina remembers their new friend Zadeki, who has come through for them before.

He in turn struggles with being a junior member of his own tribe and family, especially when he knows he's capable of giving so much more than they're willing to acknowledge from him. Perhaps the urgent challenge from his new friends will help him raise his status. But they have to find him first.

It was great to return to another story of these guys. I especially love the twins. Their character differences make for some entertaining dialogue, just like before. Delvina is the more idealistic of the pair, while her brother is more cautious and tentative. You trust they'll always end up on the same page, but sometimes wonder how. Once again, the possible necessity for a blood sacrifice seems to be required, making it vital for everyone to search their deepest consciences. It's another blend of intense action and heart-searching from Jeanette O'Hagan.

Oh, and this introduces some new characters to the mix, with an agenda of their own, who I trust we'll see more of down the track.

AND THERE'S A SCAVENGER HUNT


Blood Crystal Scavenger Hunt will run throughout the  Blood Crystal Blog Tour.  Each blog will have a reflection or memory related to themes within Blood Crystal – and a related question. The first person to answer all NINE questions  right will win a $50 Amazon voucher. The runner up will receive copies of both Heart of the Mountain and the sequel Blood Crystal.
Follow each post on the blog tour to find the questions & list your answers in the comments on the final blog post of the tour on 28 July. 
OK, for my part of the Scavenger Hunt, I thought I'd keep going with the underground theme. In 2009, I had a novel published named 'A Design of Gold'. It's a contemporary drama set around parts of my own environment, the Adelaide Hills. Stranded on the outskirts of the country town of Callington, my two young heroes plunge suddenly into a deep, dark hole. It turns out to be an old, abandoned mine shaft, because it was once a copper area. But this shaft was overlooked and nobody is even aware of its existence. Since the two young men are miles from anywhere, and they haven't mentioned their whereabouts to anybody, they're in a nasty fix. Hunger, thirst, exposure and injuries are beginning to get the better of them. How can they save themselves from certain death, when they've never been in a more seemingly hopeless situation?
My question for the Scavenger Hunt is 'What mineral used to be mined in the Adelaide Hills town of Callington?  
The next stop on this tour will be the blog of Aussie YA fiction author Lynne Stringer, which you can check out here. I encourage anyone to follow the rest of the blog tour, and also read both Heart of the Mountain and Blood Crystal, which won't take you very long and will intrigue you for more. 


14 comments:

  1. So glad you enjoyed Blood Crystal, Paula, and thanks for touring it on your blog. I've read most of your wonderful books. A Design of Gold is one that has been on my to-read list for a long time. My sister highly recommended it to me. I'm looking forward to the other stops on the tour.

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    1. Hi Jenny, yes, I enjoyed it very much. I'll get that review up on Goodreads too. As well as these stories, I love the covers too. They really draw us in. Thanks to your sister for recommending ADOG. I'm really happy she enjoyed it 😊

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  2. Great post Paula. I love the way you use your local environment in your novels. I visited the Adelaide Hills briefly years ago, but would love to go for a proper look now as an adult. Maybe one of your future Vince Review posts could be '10 best underground settings in novels' :) 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth' would have to follow in there somewhere :)

    And congratulations again Jenny for the release of Blood Crsytal. I'm looking forward to the third installment.

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    1. Thanks, Nola. I was thinking at looking at underground settings in literature in a future post. Great minds think alike 😊

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    2. Hi Nola,
      What a good idea for an underground list. I really want to do that someday, so look out for it. And I hope you do come and visit SA some day. We'll have to show you around.
      I too am looking forward to the third installment of the under the mountain series.

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  3. I was impressed at how Jeanette managed to flesh out these different cultures and make them feel real, in such short books.

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    1. Hi Adam, that's one of my favourite aspects of these stories too. A lot of world building in a short space.

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    2. Thanks Adam. I've written about the Forest Folk (Zadeki's kin) in a number of my unpublished novels. They are fun to wite but I really enjoyed conjuring up the underground realms from a few vague ideas.

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  4. nice touch to use local detail, always good to be able to add real life experiences.

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    1. Hi Cindy, I completely agree. Go all the Aussie authors.

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    2. Thanks Cindy. I love weaving real world experiences into fantasy. I also love the way Paula uses her South Australian locale in her wonderful contemporary novels.

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  5. I'm looking forward to reading it. :-)

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