Omg it’s 2022 already and this is my first blog post in 2022 jsjdsjhdjhsd. But anyways, today I am going to be reviewing Bloody Spade by Brittany M. Willows. Bloody Spade is the first book in the Cardplay Duology and I absolutely adored it!
About the Book
Title: Bloody Spade (Book #1 of the Cardplay Duology)
Author: Brittany M. Willows
Genre: Young Adult, Urban fantasy
Trigger Warnings: click here
Representation: gray-asexual female lead, 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.
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 instalment in an urban fantasy duology that follows a cat-eared thief and a high-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.
Bloody Spade was a gripping and thrilling book exploring magic, a futuristic setting, and a focus on relationships— platonic and romantic. This book gripped me from line one! I loved everything about it honestly.
I really enjoyed how the book revolved around ‘cards’. There were a group of people with specialised magic called ‘Jokers’ and things like that! The setting was unique and played an important part in the plot!
The characters were PHENOMENAL. Usually side characters aren’t given as much depth and focus in books but Brittany M. Willows really wrote every character so well! I loved Iori and Ellen so so much. Their dynamic, friendship, possible relationship was just *screams* Ellen did tend to gravitate towards naivety but I feel like that was an important part of her character— given the circumstances she grew up in. Iori on the other-hand was wise for his age— again due to the circumstances he grew up in.
I also really enjoyed Alexander (Ellen’s brother) as a character. While he did frustrate me till I actually wished he was real so I could punch him, I also enjoyed how flawed his character was. There was a lot of character development there but I still kinda hate him akjsjahdjhs.
The plot of Bloody Spade was really new for me at least— I haven’t ever read a book that is remotely similar which I love about this book! Bloody Spade also has an anime inspired world, which was really fun!!
TL;DR Set in an urban anime inspired world, with magic, darkness, a gripping plot and a wholesome and amazing duo with the sunshine x grump dynamic this book is sure to make you never want to put it down!
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.
Do you like urban fantasies inspired by anime? Do you have any recommendations? Drop them in the comments below!!
I hope you enjoyed the review and are excited to read Bloody Spade!
Crying about how Iori and Ellen are my children now,