Published: 24 July 2021
Series: Crystal Bloom #1
Warnings: Violence, mental trauma, language
“What a pretty flower to keep locked in a big, rocky tower.”
Nineteen years ago, I was plucked from the heart of a bloody massacre that spared nobody else.
Now ward to a powerful High Master who knows too much and says too little, I lead a simple life, never straying from the confines of an imaginary line I’ve drawn around the castle grounds.
Stay within. Never leave.
Out there, the monsters lurk. Inside, I’m safe … though at a cost far greater than the blood I drip into a goblet daily.
Toxic, unreciprocated love for a man who’s utterly unavailable.
My savior. My protector.
My almost executioner.
I can’t help but be enamored with the arcane man who holds the power to pull my roots from the ground.
When voracious beasts spill across the land and threaten to fray the fabric of my tailored existence, the petals of reality will peel back to reveal an ugly truth. But in a castle puddled with secrets, none are greater than the one I’ve kept from myself.
No tower is tall enough to protect me from the horror that tore my life to shreds.
To Bleed a Crystal Bloom is a dark Rapunzel reimagining full of immersive imagery and breathtaking angst. A unique new fantasy series perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Jennifer L. Armentrout, guaranteed to grip you from the very first page.
Those of you who have read a few of my reviews will know that for me, it’s all about the romance. Let’s be honest – if it’s not a romance, I’m not likely to be interested. So this one is a bit different for me. On the surface, is To Bleed A Crystal Bloom a romance? In the traditional sense, I’d have to say not. But is it there, lurking under the surface? Absolutely. It’s just well tucked down, deep, almost out of sight. But there was just enough of one corner peeking out, almost visible but not quite, tempting me. And I’m glad I stuck around to hunt for it, because Sarah A Parker’s book fascinated me all the way to becoming my latest recipient of ‘5 thumbs up’.
To Bleed A Crystal Bloom is an enthralling look into a new world. The imagery and world creation is very vivid. I absolutely felt like I was a part of it. So much so, that I have clear enough mental images that it feels a bit like I watched the story in a movie. And it is a brutal and gut-wrenching world, with danger and violence lurking nearby in the form of both physical enemies as well as mental ones.
Orlaith is our main character and she’s fascinating. She has had a hard life so far and the way her mind has structured her perception of the world around her, in order to be able to deal with her history, is so well handled. She is complex and intriguing, carrying pretty much the entirety of To Bleed A Crystal Bloom on her own shoulders. And she does it well. There is more than enough about her character and her interactions with the those around her, and her world, to keep a reader wanting more.
Orlaith is the ward of a powerful and complex leader – Rhordyn. On one hand I feel like I got to know him well across the course of this book, but on the other it feels like I have barely just gotten started. I think in future installments we will find that there are many hidden sides to him that will be both engrossing and repugnant – possibly at the same time. I say this because the relationship that Orlaith and Rhordyn share provoked varying responses from me. At times I was captivated by their relationship and what would be in store for them, and at other times I found their relationship to be totally squirm-worthy and awkward (in a ‘hard to look away from’ sort of fashion).
I did sometimes find myself wondering how things were fitting into the ‘big picture’, as we were given seeds of information throughout the story and on one hand they kept me hanging on, waiting for answers. But other times I felt that I had been given a few too many clues and not enough answers. I did get a little frustrated in parts by this. But perhaps that’s just my impatient side showing. This is the just the first installment of a 4 or 5 part series, after all.
To say there are a ‘lot’ of hidden secrets in this story is a gross understatement. The mood is tortured and angst-ridden and dark and most importantly, captivating. I will definitely be there to grab my copy when book number two in the series is released.
Thank you to the author Sarah A. Parker and Affinity Author Services for sharing a copy of this e-book with me.
Sarah is an international bestselling author who also writes under the pen name S.A. Parker.
She lives in Australia with her husband and children, and spends her days with her nose in a book or her mind in a world of her own creation.
Her genre of choice is epic fantasy romance, and she thrives off dreaming up complex characters and immersive worlds to get lost amongst.