ARC Review: BLOODFLOWER by K. J. Harrowick

I received an eARC from the author (whom I know) in exchange for an honest review. Neither being given the ARC nor knowing the author affected my opinions.

Title in broken grey on image of girl at glowing rock door in forest
Genre: Science Fantasy
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - first book

Synopsis:

Book cover for BLOODFLOWER: title in broken grey below a glowing blue stone door

Born into a world of futuristic technology, ecologist Jàden Ravenscraft wields starship fuel like magic but she’s losing control of her power. Marked as a dangerous weapon, she’s trapped in hypersleep for 4000 years and wakes in the backwoods of a terraformed moon. Now she’s determined to find her reincarnated lover and escape back to the stars before her captor discovers she’s no longer asleep.

Because one life is not the end.

The man she loves has lived more than twenty lives without her, and Jàden’s alone in a world of swords and sorcery. When exiled prison guard Captain Jon Ayers shields her from an attack, Jàden seizes the chance for safety and human connection. Using her magic, she ties her energy to Jon, forging a bond to keep him close to her side.

But Jon is hunted by mercenaries for the pendant he carries, a key to the gateway between worlds, and their bond stirs a desire neither can ignore. When the jackass who trapped her in the future ambushes them at sea, Jàden will be faced with the hardest choice of her life between Jon and her reincarnated ex. Saving one lover will destroy the other, and the wrong choice will land her in chains she can never escape. 

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

It’s always interesting to see how a book has evolved with time. I read the opening few chapters of this book maybe two or three years ago and was hooked (but life and timings didn’t let me read any further.) To read this book in full, with a completely different opening, is quite the experience. (A really really good one, to see it come so far and get even better, but also it took me a while to get to grips with the fact that the previous opening that led to her going into hypersleep had been axed!)

There’s a lot happening on this sort-of quest book. There are multiple enemies to escape (who all get tangled up in their goals), plus Jàden needs to win over Jon’s companions and deal with her growing attraction to him. (And, despite not being a romance reader and generally not picking up on attraction between couples/feeling the attraction, I could REALLY feel the tension between them!)

Science fantasy books are always tricky to classify in spreadsheets. We have space ships (talked about) and hyper sleep, advanced materials technology and gates that might end up being interstellar in later books. But there’s also flame magic stuff (explained as bioenergy) and reincarnated lovers. The technology mix is some of the baddies (who are from the technologically advanced race) have guns and space ships, but most people use swords and bows and arrows.

Jàden has to get used to this new world, which helps the reader learn about it as the other two POVs (Jon and Eli) have grown up on this world and know it. Given the sci-fi and fantasy elements, there’s a lot to learn and balance in your head (because it’s hard to predict if the world’s answer to a certain problem will be sci-fi or fantasy leaning, so having a “guide” in Jon really helps.

The book starts off dual POV, showing both sides of the growing tension-filled relationship, though Eli is referenced so he’s easy to fit into the narrative when he arrives. With Eli’s arrival, an enemy, it really helps to show the threat against them, taking it from the insubstantial fear to a tangible danger.

In all, it’s a great start to the series and I’m looking forwards to the next!

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