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Book Review: Blood Spirits by Sherwood Smith

Right off the bat, I want to say that Blood Spirits was a DNF (did not finish) for me, but not for the reasons you might think.

Book Review: Blood Spirits by Sherwood Smith

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blood spirits by sherwood smith

Title & Author: Blood Spirits by Sherwood Smith


Release Date: September 6, 2011

Series: 2nd in a planned series

Publisher: DAW

How I Got the Book: Bought


“With the man she loves set to marry a look-alike princess, Kim Murray returns to California from the magical country of Dobrenica to heal her broken heart. But family politics soon have her leaving for London, where she is forced into a duel with a Dobrenican nobleman. He reveals that her great sacrifice, leaving Alec, was a disaster. To fix her mistake, Kim returns to Dobrenica, but what she finds there is far more shocking and dangerous than she ever imagined. Not just politics and personalities but ghosts and magic, murder and mystery, await her as she struggles to understand the many faces of love. Once again Kim has to take sword in hand as she tries to make peace and learn the truth. Only, whose truth?”

Reasons Why Blood Spirits was a DNF

Blood Spirits wasn’t a DNF for any of the typical reasons you’d think to stop reading a book- like being boring, poorly written or just plain weird (hmm, this sounds familiar…). I simply didn’t finish the book because it was painfully slow.

This sequel book to Coronets and Steel weighs in at 496 pages, and I made it to page 297. At that point in the novel, the following had happened:

  • Kim flies to Paris then Dobrenica
  • She confronts relatives that wish her ill and tries to win them over/regain their trust
  • Kim talks to Alec a handful of times…very brief handfuls
  • Kim is involved in 2 fencing duels and saves someone from a burning house

I may have left one or two other things out…but that’s pretty much it. In 297 pages.

Throw a girl a bone here!! I wanted something more, anything more really! There was endless explanations about Dobrenica’s government, complicated politics and confusing genealogy. I was desperately rooting for Kim but was unsure how to because she wasn’t doing much of anything.

I can understand that the background story can take a couple pages to explain, but it seemed like these pages cropped up all over the place. Plus, there was very little action, which was not the case with the first book.

A Few More Reasons

Blood Spirits was also full of painfully awkward dialogue. In the first book, I thought it was endearing and only slightly off-putting. In this novel, I winched, cringed and generally covered my eyes.

Exhibit A:

But I think there’s something hinky about the whole thing. However, I said I wouldn’t do rumor, so here’s the Wikipedia on what’s been corroborated.

Yeah…That wasn’t even the worst one. Is it me, though? Do I just have a high hokiness meter? I just think emulating teen speak that changes every second can be dangerous for writers.

All that being said, I love Sherwood Smith. I did enjoy the first book of this series, as well as her other books like Crown Duel. This won’t stop me from eventually finishing Blood Spirits or reading more of her books. I think this was sort of a one-off deal.

My confidence in Smith has not been shaken. 🙂 Her body of work speaks for itself.


Blood Spirits wasn’t an altogether bad book- it just suffered from “sequel syndrome.” Coronets and Steel was a great beginning to the series, but this second book feel a little flat. I have definite plans to finish Blood Spirits though and have faith that Smith will tie everything together in this book OR produce another great book in the future.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Sarah Stanze

    I have crawled to the last few pages of this book…I’m stubborn and will claw my way to the end of most books. But this has been a painful experience. I have found that skimming through most of the book gives you the gist you need to focus on the only interesting points. Vampires…obviously.