Bloody Spade by Brittany M. Willows // ARC Review + an announcement!

Hey fellow ramblers! How are we doing on this fine day? Today, I’m bringing to you a recent favourite, and that is Bloody Spade! I’m so grateful to the author, Brittany M. Willows, for providing me with an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! She’s an amazing individual and I’ll put all her links below if you want to interact with her!

Now, I do in fact, have an announcement! WE CROSSED 200 FOLLOWERS! I don’t even know how to start thanking all of you for your unconditional support and comments that motivate me to keep going. So, to celebrate, I want you guys to ask me any questions you might have about me. Maybe it’s about my life, or about my blog, whatever you want, and I’ll answer them in a separate post! Put them in the comments!

Okay, all that aside, let’s get into the review! I had so much fun buddy reading this with Rachel @ A Bookworm’s Paradise!

Author: Brittany M. Willows

Release Date: September 15th, 2021

Representation: gray-asexual female lead (ownvoices), pansexual male lead, aromantic/bisexual and demisexual/demiromantic deuteragonists. Among the supporting characters: gay, lesbian, transgender (trans boy + a nonbinary character who uses neopronouns). Racially diverse cast. Anxiety/PTSD rep

click to view content warnings coarse language, blood and violence, some gore, moments of graphic violence/torture, emesis, body horror, anxiety/panic attacks, trauma related to kidnapping/physical abuse, one instance of a forced kiss (not intended to be romantic or sexual)
(from Goodreads)

A girl full of heart
A thief touched by darkness
A boy with a fiery temper
An unwitting servant of evil
. The era of magic was once thought to be a myth, but after the Reemergence ushered forces both dark and light into the mundane world, it has since become a harsh reality. Now those affected by this strange power—a specialized group of Empowered called Jokers, known collectively as Cardplay—must protect their world from the darkness that threatens to consume it, all the while fighting for equality in a society clinging to normalcy. But the Reemergence was only the beginning. When another influx occurs on the seventh anniversary of that fateful event, an unfortunate encounter at ground zero lands Iori Ryone, a teenage boy in possession of a corrupt and legendary magic, in the care of recent Joker graduate Ellen Amelia Jane. From him, she learns the Reemergence may not have been the inevitable natural disaster it first seemed. Someone is trying to tear down the barrier that separates the magical realms from the mundane. The question is, can Cardplay stop them before it’s too late? Bloody Spade is the first installment in an urban fantasy duology that follows a cat-eared thief and a spirited girl as they try to navigate his wild magic, her hotheaded brother, a sinister plot, and the feelings they’re developing for each other.

“Bravery is the absence of fear in the face of danger. Courage is about facing danger in spite of the fear.”

This book sucked me in from the very first page. The moment I read our main character’s chapter, I knew I was going to fall in love. What I really appreciated is that the MC was so much more different than the one’s you usually see in fantasy novels. For starters, it isn’t a badass female. It’s just a traumatized thief cursed with dark power who’s wanted all over the world. He’s also sassy and morally grey, so what’s not to love about that?

Our second main character is a soft cinnamon roll named Ellen who I’m going protect till my last breath. She just graduated from the police school, which over there is known as Cardplay, and the police are known as Jokers? Pretty creative I would say. I love how everything is to do with a game of cards. Ellen also has a very annoying older brother who had amazing character development and how do I know that you ask? Well because it started with me wishing I could gut him and ended with me liking him. Amazing progress, really.

The worldbuilding was done so beautifully and I could picture every single detail. Each character is unique in their own way and complimented the story so well. They’re also all queer and diverse which added so much to the story! Overall, I got a very strong anime vibe from the book and I adored it.

“She twirled, white hair and porcelain skin touched silver by the moonlight, with flung water droplets like stars around her. And Iori pictured himself has a meteor among them, no longer caught in this girl’s orbit but plunging helplessly through her atmosphere.”

The romance had to be one of my favourite parts of this book. The slowburn was just so good and when that moment you’ve waited for the whole book finally happens you just squeal out of joy because that’s literally all you can do. You can sense their undeniable chemistry from miles away, and this is one of those scenarios where everyone around them knows they like each other and they’re the only ones who don’t, and it’s honestly so cute!

There was never a dull moment in the plot, and the I have to say, some of the plot twists were really predictable but some of them just caught me off guard. The magic system is also so detailed, and surprisingly, it was really easy to get the hang of it. Overall, I had a lot of fun with this urban fantasy and I can’t wait to read the sequel (I hear it’s already in the works ;)!

Brittany M. Willows is a bisexual/asexual author and digital artist living in rural Ontario, Canada. Inspired initially by video games and the stories they told, she began building her own fictional universes and has no plans of stopping any time soon. When she’s not writing about post-apocalyptic lands, wild magic, or people gallivanting through the stars, she can be found hunched over a tablet drawing the very same things.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

And that’s all for today! What did you think? Do you plan on reading Bloody Spade? Have you already read it? Let me know in the comments!

P. S. the winner of the Readers’ Pick poll is…Malice by Heather Walter!

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29 thoughts on “Bloody Spade by Brittany M. Willows // ARC Review + an announcement!

  1. Congrats on 200 followers!! And thank you so much for reading and writing up such lovely words about my book ❤

    "it started with me wishing I could gut him and ended with me liking him" gave me a solid chuckle 😂

    Liked by 2 people

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