To Bleed a Crystal Bloom by Sarah A. Parker is a New Adult fantasy that is loosely based on the “Rapunzel” fairytale. This is actually the second “Rapunzel” retelling that I’ve read in the past few months; the other being Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth. Bitter Greens was a five star read for me and I was hopeful that this book would be as well. Unfortunately, it ended up being around the 3.5 star mark. It’s not a bad book but it is the author’s debut and I think it reads like one. This review will have spoilers.
I like to give a heat level rating for all books with romance. If you’re curious about my rating system, you can check it out here.
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.
- Heat Level-
Like most New Adult fantasy releases in the past year, this one is being compared to Sarah J. Maas and Jennifer L. Armentrout’s books. If you’re a fan of them, you’ll probably enjoy To Bleed a Crystal Bloom but I definitely think Sarah A. Parker has her own unique writing voice. This is her debut novel and while it does have issues, it’s also super interesting so let’s talk about it.
Orlaith has lived in a tower on Rhordyn’s estate for nineteen years. She is free to go wherever she wants but she chooses to stay within certain boundary lines because of her intense PTSD. The only thing Rhordyn requires of her is her blood. She pricks her finger every evening and drops the blood into a goblet for him to consume. Why? Orlaith doesn’t know and neither do we, the reader. This leads me to my main issue with this book.
The main goal of the first book in a series is to intrigue the reader. The author obviously wants people to read the next book so it’s understandable that there would be some unanswered questions and maybe even a cliff hanger. This book, however, literally doesn’t answer ANY questions. Major Spoilers:
- Why does Rhordyn need Orlaith’s blood?
- Do all the characters have supernatural abilities or just some?
- What kind of creature is Orlaith and Baze?
- What is going on with Kai? Is he two creatures in one? Why does he lie to Orlaith about not being able to walk on land?
- How did Rhordyn know Orlaith’s parents?
- Rhordyn and Baze are technically older than Orlaith so why do they seem the same age? Do they not age or do they age slowly?
- What creature is watching Orlaith in the tunnel?
- What is Cain’s relationship to everyone? There’s history there that we’re not privy to.
- Why won’t Shay hurt Orlaith? I absolutely love Shay, by the way. He’s simply adorable.
- Does Rhordyn love or hate Orlaith??? I understand that Rhordyn is supposed to be the typical broody and dominant male but I never got an actual sense of his character. Is he the good guy? The bad guy? Are we supposed to ship him with Orlaith? He’s not my favorite BUT I am glad that there’s many different directions the romantic story line could take in future books. I can honestly say I have no idea who Orlaith will end up with.
These are just a few of the questions and thoughts that I have. This novel is filled with flowery language, a ton of tension and hints at a much larger story but it doesn’t have much substance on its own. I have a feeling that when the rest of the series is released, this first book will make much more sense… at least that’s what I hope. This hope is the only reason I’m rating this book three stars and not two. I think this series has a lot of potential, though, and I will read the next book.
This was a fun read but I left it feeling confused and slightly annoyed, lol. I am intrigued, though, so it gets points for that. If you’ve read this book, I’d love to know what you thought about it! Thanks for reading and have a great day!