Spells of Blood and Kin: A Dark Fantasy by Claire HumphreySpells of Blood and Kin: A Dark Fantasy by Claire Humphrey

Spells of Blood and Kin: A Dark Fantasy

byClaire Humphrey

Paperback | June 14, 2016

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Where we love, we ruin.

Some families hand down wealth through generations; some hand down wisdom. Some families, whether they want to or not, hand down the secret burdens they carry and the dangerous debts they owe.

Lissa Nevsky's grandmother leaves her a big, empty house, and a legacy of magic: folk magic, old magic, brought with Baba when she fled the Gulag. But Lissa hasn't had time to learn everything Baba wanted to teach her-let alone the things Baba kept hidden.

Maksim Volkov's birth family is long dead, anything they bestowed on him long turned to dust. What Maksim carries now is a legacy of violence, and he does not have to die to pass it on. When Maksim feels his protective spell fail, he returns to the witch he rescued from the Gulag, only to find his spell has died along with the one who cast it.

Lissa's legacy of magic might hold the key to Maksim's salvation, if she can unravel it in time. But it's a legacy that comes at a price. And Maksim might not want to be saved.

CLAIRE HUMPHREY is a national buyer for Indigo Books. Her short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Apex, Crossed Genres, Fantasy Magazine, and Podcastle. Her short story ''Bleaker Collegiate Presents an All-Female Production of Waiting for Godot'' appeared in the Lambda Award-nominated collection Beyond ...
Title:Spells of Blood and Kin: A Dark FantasyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8.28 × 5.45 × 0.89 inPublished:June 14, 2016Publisher:St. Martin's PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1250113407

ISBN - 13:9781250113405

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent book I liked this novel. I thought the characters were well developed -- they each had individual motivations and challenges. All the characters stuck with their challenges and worked them through as best they could. The plot is something I never would have thought of, and it is constantly evolving throughout the book. Although I am not a fan of blood sports or time shifting, I stuck with the book because the characters were compelling. It was also well written and that kept me reading.
Date published: 2017-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't put it down! The cover of this book intrigued me enough to pick up and buy it, and I'm glad I did! It's the first book I've read in a while that I haven't been able to put down. I loved the characters and how their lives intertwined, by the end I wanted best for everyone. The magic in this book was so different than what you normally read, but I still found it understandable. And rarely do I associate with a main character, but with Lissa, I knew where she was coming from. I suspect this will be a book I read over and over, and I can't wait to see what Claire Humphrey's comes up with next!
Date published: 2016-07-01
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Unusual novel! Spells of Blood and Kin is a debut novel by Claire Humphrey. Lissa Nevsky just lost her grandmother or Baba (as Lissa called her). Baba was the local koldun’ia (sorcerer) and Lissa is her successor. Lissa has to make the spells (with eggs) for their clients. Maksim knew Baba. Maksim had saved Baba from the Gulag, and, in return, Baba saved him with a spell (one that goes against her teachings/beliefs) which ended when she passed away. Maksim needs Lissa to recreate the spell for him before he gets completely out of control. Maksim has already harmed a person by changing him (he licked Nick Kaisaris). Maksim needs to find Nick before he harms people. Can Lissa find the spell she needs and do it in time to help Maksim? Will Maksim be able to find Nick in time? This sounded like such a great book, but it turned out to be very boring (I actually started drifting off to sleep a couple of times). You would think with magic it would be an interesting or lively novel. The magic is never fully explained. Why do they need to use eggs for the spells and only during a full moon? What exactly Maksim is (the type of monster as he calls himself) is not fully explained in the novel. We get a little bit, but not a full description. If the author had enlightened the readers (provided details about the characters) it would have improved the story. For the most part the characters are unlikeable. Lissa is just plain boring (and I thought my life was dull). Lissa is uptight, rigid and has no idea how to enjoy life. I thought the writing was awkward/stilted and the pace of the novel was slow. I ended up speed reading through the majority of the book. The ending is just plain odd (makes no sense). The novel is told from the main characters (Lissa, Nick, and Maksim) points-of-view. It goes from one to the next to the next and then starts over. I think it would have helped the story (at least a little bit) if it had just been told in the third person. I’m sorry, but this book was just plain unenjoyable (I dislike saying that about any book, but it is true). I was not taken into this world or engaged in any shape, way, or form. I give Spells of Blood and Kin 1 out of 5 stars. Fair warning that the novel contains violence and alcohol (great quantities of alcohol are consumed by the characters). I received a complimentary copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review of the novel. I will always provide a forthright evaluation of a book no matter how I obtained a novel.
Date published: 2016-06-24

Editorial Reviews

"Humphrey weaves a chilling and interesting tale here....This dark fantasy debut features well-written characters and thoughtful relationships, and readers will be eager to read more from Humphrey." --Booklist"Humphrey has a knack for description, a lovely turn of phrase, and some really great prose...It's not every debut that can stick the dismount as well as Spells of Blood and Kin: but stick it the novel does, in a fashion that holds both pathos and inevitability, as well as a certain amount of triumph. Humphrey has written a debut that I, personally, find exceptional. I look forward to seeing what she does next, because on the evidence? It's going to be damn good." --Liz Bourke, Tor.com"The tick-tock plot is given a boost by evocative, atmospheric touches that make it easy to slide into this tangible, fantasy-tinged setting...While magic drives the narrative, it retains its mystery...It's a wonderful way to experience this story: it doesn't much matter how monsters exist; how do the monsters feel about being monsters?" --BN Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog"This is not a happy, romantic romp in the world of the paranormal, but rather one that highlights the cost and the pains associated with the unnatural. I found the world and magic interesting and the characters intriguing...I was certainly impressed with this debut." --The Speculative Herald"Spells of Blood and Kin by Claire Humphrey isn't your typical urban fantasy. There's no Bad Guy trying to do a Bad Thing who must be stopped by a sassy heroine and her merry band of accomplices. There's no supernatural governing council either keeping the peace with the humans since their existence was revealed or keeping the silence to ensure they aren't discovered. There's a young woman who can work small magics during the full moon, there's a man who's lived several lifetimes, his battle to control his bloodlust getting increasingly more difficult as time passes, and there's a young man whose life was spinning out of control long before he met the other two. But, for a short time, their lives become entangled, and this is that story. I happen to think it's a good one. Highly recommended." --Rabid Reads"Spells of Blood and Kin by Claire Humphrey is a charming book...There is a lot of warmth, love, personal connection, and happiness within the pages...The humanity of the characters makes Spells of Blood and Kin a beautiful exploration of pain, anger, and addiction. It is a tale steeped in the cruelty of old fairytales, but connected to all of the emotion of the present." --Portland Book Review"Humphrey's debut opens a fascinating paranormal world inspired by folklore and full of ancient power. Her characters' dangerous and powerful magic balances well with their all-too-real loneliness and heartache, making their relationships feel real, and their power formidable...the imagination and creativity in this book are sure to attract plenty of readers and keep their attention to the end." --RT Book Reviews"Intimately constructed relationships and domestic strife enrich bursts of violence and sensuality. Genre tropes are strengthened by fully realized characters and confident prose. Humphrey dissects the monsters who walk among us-and those hiding within our skins-with a critical yet understanding eye. This paranormal tale stands out even in its very crowded field." --Publishers Weekly (starred)"Deft and original, Spells of Blood and Kin pulses with dark energy. Claire Humphrey weaves together witchcraft, beauty, fear, and family into a wholly new concoction. A compelling debut." --Greer Macallister, author of The Magician's Lie "Spells of Blood and Kin is a fascinating take on urban fantasy, with complex, beautifully-drawn characters that defy stereotypes and stayed with me long after I finished reading." --Cassandra Rose Clarke, author of Our Lady of the Ice "Spells of Blood and Kin has a strong and dark thread of magic running through it. Readers will love Lissa and the mysterious Toronto she lives in where the dead still talk and the moon rules over everything." --Philippa Ballantine, Parsec Award winner and author of the Book of the Order series "A refreshing urban fantasy that pokes a finger in the eye of cliché and gives us characters to root for, Spells of Blood and Kin weaves its own spell around the reader as we watch lives being transformed and destroyed by magic. The relationships between the characters, as fragile as the eggs used to work magic, are compelling and in places, heart breaking. I loved this book!" --Emma Newman, Hugo and Fantasy Award nominated author of the Split Worlds series and Planetfall "Dark, thrilling, twisty, seductive--not to be missed." --Lee Kelly, author of City of Savages