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A River of Royal Blood

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In a North African-inspired fantasy world, two sisters must fight to the death to win the crown.

Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of marrow and blood--a dark and terrible magick that hasn't been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its last known practitioner was Queen Raina, who toppled the native khimaer royalty and massacred thousands, including her own sister, eight generations ago, thus beginning the Rival Heir tradition. Living in Raina's long and dark shadow, Eva must now face her older sister, Isa, in a battle to the death if she hopes to ascend to the Ivory Throne--because in the Queendom of Myre only the strongest, most ruthless rulers survive.

When Eva is attacked by an assassin just weeks before the battle with her sister, she discovers there is more to the attempt on her life than meets the eye--and it isn't just her sister who wants to see her dead. As tensions escalate, Eva is forced to turn to a fey instructor of mythic proportions and a mysterious and handsome khimaer prince for help in growing her magick into something to fear. Because despite the love she still has for her sister, Eva will have to choose: Isa's death or her own.

355 pages, Hardcover

First published October 29, 2019

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Amanda Joy

7 books496 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 913 reviews
Profile Image for Samantha.
440 reviews16.7k followers
November 12, 2020
TW: death of a parent; self-harm/blood magic

Although the mix of magic and lore was fun, it was not as fleshed out as I would have liked. The first half of the book was rather slow, and I found myself not connecting to the characters. While the ending was much more interesting, the overall story left me wanting more.
Profile Image for Lucy.
417 reviews625 followers
December 8, 2019
3.5*** rounded up!

To become numb to violence was to forget to cherish life.

This had exquisite world building and I loved all of the elements of magick. I loved the inclusion of different tribes and magical folk, as well as learning of the different types of magick humans and other mortals and immortals possess. This had a strong female MC whose view point was fantastic to read from as we see her dealing with despising and cold family members, magick, a court that underestimates her and romance, as well as learning the wicked truth about the history of the land. Eva probably had the coolest magick in my opinion.

This also focused on a fantasy world where there are political tensions, slavery, and court influence between the types of folk who roam the land. This also provides history of the land so the reader is able to understand why the court layout and political structure is the way it is. However, I would’ve liked more detail into this for certain parts of the land.

This had a good reveal and is definitely setting up for the next book in the series. Some of the things that I thought would happen in this book sadly did not and will possibly happen in future books. This definitely left more questions than answers. I am curious to see where these characters go and what will happen to them in future books.
Profile Image for Natasha Ngan.
Author 7 books3,391 followers
June 5, 2019
A sibling rivalry like nothing you’ve ever read before. Joy weaves a dark yet delicate treatise on race, heritage and power whilst never losing that addictive ‘just one more chapter’ allure. I devoured it one sitting!
Profile Image for may ➹.
494 reviews2,063 followers
June 8, 2020
— you can find this review and others on my blog!

A River of Royal Blood follows a princess named Eva, who must fight her sister Isa to the death in order to rule the Queendom of Myre. She’s the first person in a century who has had the magick of blood and marrow, and she must learn to control it in order to win the battle.

First of all, I absolutely adore the concept of rival sisters, because it allows for so many different themes to be tackled. And I loved reading how Eva and Isa used to be close but drifted apart as they were forced to be pitted against each other. While I feel like their relationship could have been explored further, it was overall well-executed and that aspect lived up to my expectations.

Eva never really believed she could be queen and basically set herself up for death, but she doesn’t want to die. So she finds someone who teaches her how to control her blood magick, and hone it in preparation to fight her sister. I loved how she battled with herself about the morality of killing vs. the need to keep herself alive, and in general, she was a character worth reading and loving!

Even if I had to become the wicked girl of my nightmares, a maelstrom of marrow and blood, I would do whatever it took to stay alive.

Other side characters also added to the book: Falun, long-time friend of Eva, Baccha, her blood magick teacher and the mysterious Lord of the Hunt, Aketo, the beautiful prince of an oppressed race, and Anali, the captain of Eva’s guard. However, I definitely think that this is more of an action-packed, plot-focused story than a character-driven one!

One of my favorite parts in the book was the inclusion of the stories recounting the history of how this world of magick came to be. They were written so beautifully, and were sprinkled in just the right places. Plus, the way they were told (along with the memories to Eva’s past) helped feel like the story was building up to something.

Perhaps the most captivating thing was all the magick that this world included. Honestly, the entire fantasy world was fascinating too, and I say that as someone who’s not usually one for worldbuilding or setting. Another shining highlight of this novel was its interwoven themes of power and identity, and most of all, erasure. The discussion of how the history of one race was erased draws parallels to colonization and supremacy, and it was so, so well-written.

“I’ll remind you every chance I get, even if you don’t want to hear it: you deserve to live, you deserve to fight, and you deserve to survive. The throne, all its glory and bitterness, is your birthright.”

Unfortunately, the beginning started off a bit roughly for me. Objectively I could tell that things were happening to move the plot forward, but it just felt like the author was trying to set too much up in the beginning of the story. For me, there were too many looks into character backstories and worldbuilding in the beginning; once things continued, those became a lot more enjoyable for me!

I think the biggest thing that prevented me from enjoying this more, though, was the lack of proper development of the characters’ relationships. Things were told to the reader, but not everything was actually shown, so the connections between characters seemed off and almost manufactured. That being said, it improved a lot over the course of the story as they got to know one another more! Once I moved past the first 100 pages, I didn’t want to put it down.

All that aside, I still enjoyed reading the book: It was dark and thrilling, and the fantasy world that Joy came up with is so enthralling. If you don’t mind less development of character relationships in favor of intriguing worldbuilding and plot, I recommend this enchanting fantasy!


:: rep :: Black (North African-inspired) MC, multiple Black (North African-inspired) characters, mlm character, multi-gender attracted male Black character

:: content warnings :: multiple depictions of blood (!!), death, animal death, murder, racism

Thank you to Penguin for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a spot on the blog tour! This did not affect my opinions in any way. All quotes are from an advance copy and may differ in final publication.
Profile Image for SincerelyTahiry .
124 reviews282 followers
August 28, 2019
I’m still so conflicted about this book.

I loved the world and the rich culture that just flew off the pages. I loved the the idea of sisters fighting for the crown. I loved that it was very much focused on women. I loved the different races of the characters and the different magical beings. I loved the depiction of Eva and her moms relationship, I related so freakin much. I loved the writing as well. It just flowed effortlessly. I will say that I LOVED Prince Aketo. The representation of this sensitive black man whose power involves understanding emotion MADE ME EXCITED. Even with the little rep we get of black men in YA they’re either A. hyper masculine or B. Not the love interests. I’m so happy to now have a BLACK book boyfriend ❤️❤️❤️

I didn’t like the magical abilities. They were so circumstantial and weren’t that practical, especially Eva’s. I also didn’t really see the North African influence and idk if that’s coming from my lack of knowledge or that it just wasn’t there. I feel like all the characters were SUPER fleshed out except for Eva, her sister and her mother. Their storylines just fell very flat and it was ALOT of telling rather than showing. Eva was probably my least favorite character. Although she gained some more confidence by the end of the story she was still very bratty. She was surrounded by all these people that loved her and supported her and because the court and her mother still feared her powers she constantly dismissed any affection or praise. And lastly the most annoying thing was that Eva and Isa barely spoke. We didn’t see them fight till the end and we only witnessed their relationship through flashbacks. I would’ve preferred to see more of their relationship now because it would’ve added to the suspense leading up to the fight.

All in all, I did enjoy the story and I’m WAYYYYY more excited about the next book. ARORB was a good introduction but now that Eva has come into her own and has a stronger sense of agency and now that the world has been explained we can really get into the plot and details and an expansion on the romance. This was well done for a debut author.
Profile Image for Kogiopsis.
772 reviews1,497 followers
June 29, 2019
Okay, so. I liked it, but... I needed it to be about twice as long.

For once I don't mean this in the simple 'I wanted more' sort of way, though I did/do. I mean that this book would have been much stronger had it been given more room to grow, and had the plot not been cut where it was for cliffhanger purposes.

See, here's the thing - this is a book fraught with emotionally complicated situations and revelations, and yet the action moves so quickly that those emotions never really get explored. Take the most basic concept outlined in the blurb: two sisters who will have to fight each other to the death. We get a bit of insight into their relationship and how it has changed over the years, but while Evalina felt well-developed and her memories of Isadora as children hinted at Isa's depth, in the present day her sister came off flat, with simplistic motivations and little sense of agency, and that in turn made the conflict between them less interesting and engaging.

Overall, I felt like the emotional aspect of this story ended up being told, not shown, as the plot barreled on at full speed ahead, and that's a real shame because it distracted from an otherwise excellent read. Give me at least another hundred pages for Joy to expand on character development and relationships between rapid-fire plot events and I would have absolutely adored it. Here's hoping the sequel gets more room to grow!

(p.s. still utterly in love w/ the cover, even if Eva's tattoos are the wrong color.)
Profile Image for Fares.
246 reviews314 followers
November 12, 2019
North African inspired?! Where have you been all my life?!
Please don't disappoint, imma cry my heart out if you do 😭
Profile Image for Angela Staudt.
397 reviews109 followers
October 23, 2019
I received an ARC from BookishFirst in exchange for an honest review.

“Even if I had to become the wicked girl of my nightmares, a maelstrom of marrow and blood, I would do whatever it took to stay alive.”

I really enjoyed this book, which is about sibling rivalry and on their namesday, they have to challenge one another for the throne. The winner and soon to be queen is the sister who defeats the other and kills her. This was a very dark book, but had such a unique fantasy that it kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved the magic and the history of how it came to be, but also the political system was very intriguing and I wanted to know more.

The only real trouble I had with this book, is the main focus was on siblings/sisters who have to fight to the death, but I didn’t really get to know their relationship. That was kind of like in the background of the plot the whole time, like you knew the killing had to happen, but there were more important things to worry about. I didn’t get to really know Isadore, one of the sisters, that well so I really didn’t care if she was the one who died or not. Also, I really wish I could have had more to read, this was action packed, but almost too much. It went from one crazy thing to another, and I wish there could have been a bit more information to explain what was going on. Don’t get me wrong though, the action had me on the edge of my seat and flipping pages so fast to see what would happen.

I highly enjoyed this book, and it was definitely a different take from most books, which interested me from the start. I was shocked by the ending and still can’t believe what happened. That cliffhanger??? That cliffhanger was the best, but also the worst because now I have to wait until book two!! A River of Royal Blood is a really good fast paced read.
Profile Image for greta.
210 reviews224 followers
June 15, 2021
i don't even know where to start with this book lmaoo anyway, i felt like this is a great story and i will continue with the series cuz it is such a unique north african inspired fantasy novel about sisters who are enemies and crowns and magic and betrayals and lies and so on!
what i loved about this book was the magic system. i don't think i ever read about magic like the one in this story. we have humans, bloodkin, khimaer & fey. all of them with different abilities (except humans i believe? i forgot lmaoo) and it was so fascinating!
i also enjoyed the friendships between Baccha, Aketo, Mirabel, Falun, Anali and Eva - they were a whole gang tryna make it thru till Eva's nameday lool.
i was also fascinated by Eva's relationship with her father, however little we had of it 💜
what i did not enjoy was mostly the romance. at first i liked it cuz it was sarcastic and Eva was playing hard to get yk & then it just flopped by becoming so cheesy... like, nooo pls there's too much sugar in it :(
and the story itself was lacking more plot to it.. like, nothing really important happened. only few things came out that i didn't expect, but overall nothing really changed.
i do recommend this for readers who want to try fantasy genre, but as an avid fantasy reader myself, it didn't impress me. it was good, but not my favorite xx
Profile Image for ♠ TABI⁷ ♠.
Author 15 books488 followers
Want to read
July 10, 2019
the magic in here is super special cause it's got a K
Profile Image for Ashleigh.
774 reviews42 followers
March 11, 2020
Well... I wasn't expecting that!

A River of Royal Blood follows Princess Evalina, a 16-year old girl who will have to fight her older sister Isadora to the death once she is 17, in order to win the crown. Merely months before her 17th nameday, Evalina is still struggling to harness her magick of marrow and blood, a rare magick that hasn't been seen in the Kingdom since Queen Raina, a murderous queen who slaughtered thousands and started the tradition of Rival Heirs by killing her own sister.

After being attacked by an assassin, Eva discovers that maybe there are more people than her own sister that want her dead. But who and why? Why can't Eva access her own magic? Will she survive her nameday?

Although the plot sounds reminiscent of other YA fantasies, I can't compare this book to any other. We might have seen siblings train to murder each other for a crown in past books, but I think this book does it so well. We only get the POV of Eva in this book, but you really become attached to the character and I felt so protective of her throughout.

I wish we had a little bit more development of the magick system and the different castes, but I have a feeling that will be explored more in the coming book(s).

That ending though. Oh, that ending. I was not expecting that. But it was so well done and I need more. Amanda Joy, please release the next book soon. I need answers. I need conclusions. I need more!!!
Profile Image for Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer.
1,512 reviews5 followers
November 7, 2019
Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

The Buzz

I was on the lookout for African based fantasy YA so I was totally interested in A River of Royal Blood when I saw the cover. And while the cover doesn't slay me it's strength lies in giving us a sense right away of what this book is going to be about. Obviously magic and sisters! If we're using characters on the cover though the art should be true to those characters and not have wrong details.

A River of Royal Blood is not a title I love, its rather obscure, but it does come directly from the text... which I do like!

The Premise

A River of Royal Blood is about a nation ruled by a Queendom. Every generation the next queen is chosen through combat... with her sister. Eva is the underdog in this fight as she was born with magick of marrow and blood. This magick hasn't been seen since the first queen brutally toppled the original khimaer royalty. And I have to say the magic and the different races were the best part of the story!

From the premise and even the excerpt I read I didn't get the sense that this would centered on an internal struggle Eva deals with not wanting to kill. You're raised with the idea that you HAVE TO kill your sister to survive... so you accept that. It was really quite distracting how Eva kept going back to the past and reminiscing on tiny interactions with her sister. She only lived with her sister when very young so I just didn't get where the extreme bond came from. It was very thin for me. So when Eva kept beating her chest about killing her sister I just didn't buy it.

I did adore the different races! I've always loved the fae and we also got the khimaer, humans with animal traits like horns, sharp teeth and claws, etc. Top this with the very regular humans and we have a recipe for racial tensions! And the different races and their specialties were used really well! In fact I totally fell for many of the secondary and minor characters who embodied these races. And I liked where the story took these tensions in regards to the plot.

However I felt like we were on a mouse wheel the entire middle of A River of Royal Blood. Things happened okay. Like we met the characters that I came to adore. But I just felt like we didn't get anywhere. It felt like endless setup and then BOOM! We have a battle and it's over. The pacing just didn't work for me. I ended up feeling way more bored than I should have.

My Experience

After reading the excerpt I was really excited to read A River of Royal Blood. I was so jazzed about the different races, the magic and the African fantasy setting. There seemed to be a rich back history to the Queendom and to Eva's life.

And the end has some explosive reveals. I wasn't a fan of the sister's battle but we end at a neat part. I would actually read the next book to see where the races and the characters I love go with it all. I didn't truly get the gravity of the racial tensions while the story was setting up, which is really neat. There is a lot to like. There is a lot of potential.

But I wanted more and better interactions between Eva and her sister. IN. THE. PRESENT. I wanted LESS running around doing nothing. And I needed a character whose motivations were supported by all the back history we went over.

A River of Royal Blood has a fascinating world with three great races that I was dying to learn more about... and I got to explore them with some fabulous secondary characters. We get a true blue teenage protagonist and while I found her boring, I did find her situation heartbreaking.

⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐ Authenticity
⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Writing Style
⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ World Building
B+ Cover & Title grade

Thanks to Bookish First and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. It has not influenced my opinions.

You can find this review and many others on my book blog @ Perspective of a Writer. Read my special perspective under the typewriter on my reviews...

Please like this review if you enjoyed it! *bow* *bow* It helps me out a ton!!
Profile Image for MariaWitBook.
319 reviews21 followers
December 8, 2019
I can only say that I loved the book! I was fortunate enough for a friend to get it even before I got my copy and because she finished it in one sitting she called me straight way asking if I want to read something really really good! I’m grateful that I said yes straight away! As reading this book give him hours of pure enjoyment! I will totally recommend it! Specially if you went through a reading slump and you are looking for a pick you up book look no further! Great book! Strong powerful characters and last but not least the way the author pulls you into this fantastic world of magic is just wonderful! Wondering if this could become a series! I would love to see the art on a second cover!
Profile Image for Ms. Woc Reader.
532 reviews708 followers
August 20, 2020
Where was the North African influence? Where was the culture? Where was the epic sister battle?

The magic system and the 4 races the comprised the world was okay but the character's themselves failed to hold my interest.

I felt like much of this story was full of info-dump and Eva's whining about not being able to control her magic and being compared to Queen Raina. I know teen princess and privileged means yes at times she's going to be whiny but I didn't find it very balanced. Nothing really stood out about Eva beyond her magick. She was just the good princess afraid of her magic because of the potential she had to ruin lives with it. She was so afraid of history repeating itself through her though she never actually studied the history to avoid those mistakes which is something pointed out to her.

And it moved at a snail's pace never fully en-capturing you until maybe the last 75%. By then it was far too late for me to truly care.

Profile Image for Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd).
1,224 reviews255 followers
October 18, 2019
3.75 Stars
“It took some time, but I stood taller. I Breathed deeply; trough the air burned in my throat, I welcomed it. I allowed the smoke to cloud my mind and bade my thoughts to silence, except for one refrain: enemy, obstacle, Queen.”
I went into this expecting a dark sister fantasy story and I was half right. While A River of Royal Blood is filled with whimsy and unique magic, it’s really Princess Eva’s story with her sister Isadore playing a small role. Born with a feared blood and marrow magic not seen since the vicious Queen Raina conquered Myre for humans generations ago, Eva must try and master these unknown powers if she wishes to fight for the throne, and only the strongest Rival Heir will survive.

Things I Liked
The worldbuilding hooked me from the very beginning. I loved the different types of magicks and the different histories for Myre, Dracol, and the Roune Lands. I especially loved getting stories from Bacchas - they felt like fairytales, which was so very enchanting. And I really loved learning about the different races in Myre. There was some great commentary about race and legacy in the story as well.

I truly loved a lot of the characters. Princess Eva goes through quite a journey from shying away from her powers to embracing them. Bacchas was a scene stealer - so charming. Aketo has this commanding presence and I loved learning more about Khimaer magic from him. I expected to get more from Isa and Falun, but maybe in the next book?

I loved the chemistry between everybody too. I was rooting for basically all the possible couples from the beginning. I honestly would have been okay with any combination for a romance.

Things I Didn’t Like
Miscommunication was used a few times in the story, and one time really bugged me near the end. You can’t be mad at somebody taking action with the information they have, then judge them based on the greater amount of information you have. It was just mildly frustrating.

I feel like the book spoiled itself unintentionally. I don’t want to say too much and give anything away, but it was very easy to tell what certain reveals were going to be based on information the story gave us - and I don’t mean foreshadowing or clues.

The cover art confused me bc it was all wrong. When I got descriptions of Eva’s white tattoos, I thought she was on the left. But when she described how she took after her father: darker skin and hair, so she was clearly on the right. I got confused before I realized that the cover art was just wrong. It didn’t take away anything from the story, obviously. And it’s a stunning cover, again obvious, just want to give you a heads up in case you tried to figure out which sister was which while reading.

A River of Royal Blood is a rich fantasy story with excellent worldbuilding I can’t wait to dive back into. The characters are complex and captivating and the magick is unique. If you’re looking for a fantasy story that will hook you from page 1, look no further.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Sarah Jayyn.
152 reviews26 followers
March 16, 2021

👑👑👑👑👑 (5 stars as rated in crowns worth killing your sister for)

As it has been for eight generations, the Rival Heirs of Myre must face one another to the death for the Ivory Throne on the youngests' seventeenth nameday. For Eva, untrained in her magick and long estranged from her elder and more refined sister, Isa, the day might as well be a death sentence. Though her sister's magick - that of influence - is well known and admired, the court vocally reviles the magick of Eva, with her Mother as the loudest of them all. But when an assassin is sent to take her life, Eva realizes how much more is at stake in the Queendom than the fate of Rival Heirs. Though the magick of blood and bone has only ever been mastered by few, if Eva is to stand a chance against the powerful sorcery of her sister, she must find someone to teach her to wield this dangerous power and quickly. With so much on the line and so many who would wish her ill, Eva turns to the help of foreign allies. But she knows as well as anyone that in the court of the Ivory Throne, no one is ever quite what they seem; least of all those knights in shining armor whose timely arrivals may be a little too convenient.

"Freedom that could cost your life was just enslavement under a different name."

I'm calling it now, this is the kind of book you're going to wish you'd picked up sooner. I absolutely adored the concept and the characters were really dynamic without ever bogging me down in supporting info. The story itself moves very quickly while also managing never to ask great suspensions of disbelief from the reader. A big thumbs up to that alone! The main character, Eva, responded really reasonably to everything she faces. In fact, she acted exactly the way I would have in almost every scenario - particularly when maneuvering her relationships with Prince Aketo and Lord Baccha. Seriously, who doesn't love when a character does and says what you were thinking!?! *raises hand* BAH! My only gripe here is that I wanted her to pursue a different love interest at the end. Womp. Still, my fingers are crossed that we'll get a switch-a-roo in book two, A ​Queen of Gilded Horns, which incidentally is released on March 16th 2021!

✨ Rep in this book: Black protagonist, BIPOC characters, gay supporting character, own voices

✨ Content warnings for this book: violence, themes of war and battle, death of an animal, mind control with magic, murder, racism, estrangement from family members, blood, bullying

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Profile Image for Laura Silverman.
Author 10 books736 followers
September 25, 2018
Y'all don't even know.
But you want to know.
So preorder the second you have a chance.
Profile Image for Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany).
2,200 reviews3,673 followers
December 2, 2019
This is everything I want in my YA fantasy! A River of Royal Blood is an accomplished debut with an engaging story, a well-developed and original world that is casually diverse, interesting characters, complicated relationships, unexpected twists, a bit of a forbidden romance, high stakes, and a good dose of magic. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this book and am looking forward to reading more in this world.

In Myre, queens earn their place and princesses must fight to the death for the crown. Eva is a 16-year-old princess born with the dangerous and rare magic of marrow and blood. As she nears her 17th birthday, she must learn to use her magic in order to be a contender for the throne, but she also must be willing to kill her older sister Isadore. Secrets abound in this brutal world and the author is not afraid to kill off characters. Themes include self-acceptance, inclusion, oppression and prejudice. Eva has understandably complicated family dynamics, with separated parents, her sister being the favorite of her mom and the court, and her being the favorite of her dad.

I don't want to say too much because of spoilers and a lot of the fun with this book is the journey, but I liked Eva as a character, I enjoyed the development of the romance and the fact that it didn't take center stage. This is a smart, thoughtful, and well-plotted book with rich mythology and a lot of room to grow the world and the characters. I was sent a copy of this book for review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

CW include violence, murder, depictions of blood and blood magic, emotional and physical manipulation via magic, graphic depiction of hunting and killing an antelope, abusive parents, death of a parent.
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,423 reviews215 followers
November 5, 2020

Guys! I honestly have no idea why I waited to so freaking long to dive into this glorious book. I mean, the edition of A River of Royal Blood that I got in one of my FairyLoot boxes was beyond gorgeous. So just looking at the sprayed pages wanted me to dive into all the mysteriousness that this book was going to bring me.

It was brought guys and I am hooked.

In the beginning, I felt bad for these two sisters: Eva and Isadora. Unlike Elsa and Anna, from Frozen, these two were complete opposites. Yes, they used to be close but then their parents tore them apart. It also didn't help that their own mother was completely horrible either. Long story short, she was not my favorite even if she was the queen. She shouldn't have picked favorites and for that reason alone, I despise her.

Other than that, I got glimpses of potentials romances and I was all for it. Not sure how I'm going to cope with everything in the real world based off of how this ended. All I know is that I seriously can't wait to get my hands on the sequel. I need more and I have so many questions. I'm hoping the cover will show the new and improved Eva!

I'm also geeking out and I want to meet her dad's family. So yeah, I most definitely need the next book stat!
Profile Image for Christine Spoors.
Author 1 book446 followers
January 4, 2020
I received this book in a Fairyloot & the line in the blurb about a princess finding a Fae warrior to help her train in magic so she can fight her rival sister for the crown had me so intrigued I knew I needed to read this in 2020! This have me Three Dark Crowns & Heir of Fire vibes whilst also being so unique and really it’s own story with North-African inspiration.

Eva is a brilliant main character. I really loved reading from her POV. I definitely enjoyed the first half of the book a little more than the second, the first being 5 stars for sure and the rest 4 stars, so still brilliant the whole way through. I didn’t guess any of the plot twists & I can’t wait to see what happens in the next one.
Profile Image for Jude: The Epic Reader.
649 reviews79 followers
November 3, 2020

I liked it well enough but only when I was actually reading it. I didn't really think about it outside of reading. This book was easy to read and to understand which was nice. It definitely got better at grabbing my attention further in. I didn't know that there was a small amount of romance in it but I'm really glad that there was; it was super cute!
Profile Image for Amanda .
432 reviews155 followers
November 18, 2019
a river of royal blood by amanda joy bookstagram photo.jpg

You can also read my review here: https://devouringbooks2017.wordpress....

Review: 4 Stars

A River of Royal Blood was a title that I was excited for the second that I had seen its cover and read the synopsis. I had followed this book through pre-publication even though I doubted that I could get my hands on a review copy, so when I learned that the publisher was sending me one I was absolutely thrilled. This book grabbed my attention and didn’t let go. I had a hard time setting it down and now that I am finished with it I am anxious for the sequel.

The plot of princesses fighting for the right to rule the throne is one that I have read before, but Amanda Joy’s writing made A River of Royal Blood stand out. While the pacing wasn’t fast and the book wasn’t full of action I found it compulsively readable and had a hard time tearing myself away from it. The world that Amanda Joy created in this book was rich and filled with vivid descriptions, yet left plenty of room for growth in the following installments. The plot lines were captivating and the plot twist at the end caught me by complete surprise.

I enjoyed reading about all the characters in this story, but I did feel that Eva was lacking a bit of personality and at times she felt a little flat. I think the book could have used a few lighter moments to help show more sides to the characters. Baccha was a character that really fascinated me. I loved his personality and his backstory was so interesting. I also felt that he was so mysterious and I can’t wait to get more of his story in the next book. I loved the different magical races, the fey, khimaer and the bloodkin were each so fascinating and I’m glad they weer a large part of the story. I do hope that in the next installment there will be more history of the world, but also some bloodkin characters, as in this book they were only briefly touched upon.

A River in Royal Blood was an absolutely stunning fantasy debut, filled with captivating writing, a richly built world and a plot twist that I never saw coming, this isn’t a book that you want to miss. I am already itching for the next installment because I need more of this world and I need to know what happens next.
Profile Image for Nikki.
670 reviews15 followers
June 9, 2020
YAAAAS! This is the fierceness I need in my life.

This was sooo good. I absolutely loved the rich and vibrate cultures of this world. The North African inspiration was enchanting while the magic was as dark as it was captivating. The characters captured my interest (and heart) plus you have the ultimate sibling of rivalry. Talk about brutal. I absolutely devoured this beautiful book and am dying to find out what happens next. When is book two out cause I need it now?!?

Profile Image for These Violent Delights (Robin).
366 reviews76 followers
May 13, 2020
This book was one of my most anticipated releases of last year. Although, it's unfortunately not a new favorite book of mine like I thought it would be... it still was quite enjoyable.

I really loved the reveal at the end of the book though! Ugh, that was so awesome! I have a theory as to what is going on with Prince Aketo & why he was sent to guard Eva. Guess I'll have to wait until book two to know if I am correct.

Profile Image for Bang Bang Books.
494 reviews219 followers
August 7, 2019
I love that cover but this book was just okay.

The Issues I Had:
*Villains-The sister is supposed to be the villain, obviously, but when she's on the page which is barely, she's one-dimensional. Her magick is mind control-okay. Does she do anything special or new with it? Nope, she just uses it to make the people follow her-insert eye roll. The mom is also a villain but we've seen these mommy issues in other books.

*Character Development-There wasn't much. There are about eight major characters but none of them stand out. We got to learn all their backstories which was okay but that was the extent of their development. In other words, their development was told and not shown.

*The Writing-There were moments of goodness and I'll get to that in the Things-I-Liked section but there is lots of room for improvement here. The entire world is info-dumped. I've observed that when a fantasy is told in 1st person with only one POV, the world has to be told by that person and it's almost always info-dumped.

Lots of telling and not showing. We're TOLD that the khimaer are hated but we don't actually see or feel the hatred. We're TOLD how much Eva's father loves her but we don't see or feel the love.

This book suffered from what I call, all bones and no meat. That means there were lots of big events happening-assassination attempts; confrontations with the sister and mom; training sessions; etc. However, the stuff in-between those events were lack luster. This is the time to build the world and the characters but this book didn't do that because I just explained that the characters were underdeveloped and the world was info-dumped.

Toward the end of the book when Eva needed to find the culprit, she goes into one bar, speaks to one person, and gets a viable lead. Then Eva says to the reader, "Is it that easy?" I'm thinking, no way it's going to be this easy because clearly Amanda Joy is self aware but nope; it was that easy. COME ON!

Eva is part of the writing issues I had.

Things I Liked
*Descriptions-It's clear Amanda Joy liked writing about this world's rituals and parties because they were beautifully described.

*Fantasy with Black Characters-So many books featuring Black teens are about the struggle and that's important but Black readers (and non-Black readers) want to see Black people in science fiction and fantasy too. So I'm grateful for a book like this and I hope that this isn't just a trend.

I think Amanda Joy has potential. The words on the page were good but the execution was the problem. This book lacked nuance.
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