Juno, Oct 2007, $6.99, 264 pp.
She was brought up to be a lady and to make a good match but when her twin falls in love and marries the drunken womanizing Marcus; she insists her twin marry his best friend. Both women are brutalized by their spouses but where Kirin accepts it her sister learns blood magic from the local herbwoman. When Marcus kills her Kirin while in a drunken stupor assumes her identity and using her blood magic to suck the life out of him and brings it into her.
She runs away from her village using the dead who obey her command until they crumble into dust. Her magic is taboo by the other religions but Kirin ignores their pious mouthing and does what she needs to do in order to survive. The Mor, monstrous creatures, emerge from their caves and underground tunnels to make war on humanity as they do every few decades. Kirin becomes a scout in the Imperial Army and she watches five thousand soldiers killed by five hundred Mor. She aids the refuges healing with blood magic even though Brother Ato condemns her and Element Master of Air Lia Cho tries to support her even if she doesn’t approve of the use of blood magic. However, that might be the only way humanity can defeat the Mor although the people she is trying to save won’t accept her methods.
BLOOD MAGIC is a spellbinding sword and sorcery tale about a young woman who goes from an innocent girl to a person who kills when she needs to survive or when helping people who scorn and fear her when she helps them against a common enemy. It hurts her not to be accepted for what she is but she knows she is not evil and does what she thinks is right although many question whether the means is acceptable even if the end is saving humanity. The Mor remains an unknown quantity as people (and readers) don’t what motivates them. This is the first book in what looks to be a fantastic fantasy series.