Rummanah Aasi
 Blood Passage by Heather Demetrios is one of my most anticipated reads for this year. I am happy to report that this book did not disappoint me and it was just as engaging as the first book, Exquisite Captive. I am, however, still disappointed with the publisher's decision to change the cover, which does not resemble the book at all. Please note that this review is based on the advanced reader's copy of book that I received from HarperTeen.

Description: A jinni who's lost everything. A master with nothing to lose. A revolutionary with everything to gain.

When Nalia arrives in Morocco to fulfill Malek's third and final wish she's not expecting it to be easy. Though Nalia is free from the shackles that once bound her to Malek as his slave, she's in more danger than ever before.

Meanwhile, Malek's past returns with a vengeance as he confronts the darkness within himself, and Raif must decide what's more important: his love for Nalia, or his devotion to the cause of Arjinnan freedom.

Set upon by powerful forces that threaten to break her, Nalia encounters unexpected allies and discovers that her survival depends on the very things she thought made her weak. From the souks of Marrakech to the dunes of the Sahara, The Arabian Nights come to life in this dazzling second installment of the Dark Passage Cycle.

Review: Blood Passage deftly avoids the middle book syndrome by providing a complex, winding journey full of unexpected twists and turns that delivers more action, romance, and world building than its predecessor. The book opens right where Exquisite Captive left off, an almost free Nalia is forced to complete Malek's, her previous owner, last wish which is leading him to the location of Solomon's sigil, an item that will allow its wearer to rule every jinni on Earth. Once she fulfills this wish, Nalia will be free from Malek's cruel hand. Raif, the Arjinnan revolutionary leader is also interested in finding the sigil in hopes that it will aid him in freeing his people from the iron first of the Ifrit.  
  The book's plot arc is devoted to the Nali and company in search of the Solomon sigil. Of course the mission is not easy, moving from the crowded streets of Morocco to the vastness of the Sahara dessert, caves, and a lost city. Demetrios does a wonderful job in capturing and bringing the Moroccan culture to life from the details of clothes, setting, and the inclusion of Islamic tradition and mythology. It is clear that the author has done her research thoroughly and used it wisely in her book.
  Unlike the previous book which was mostly told from Nalia's point of view, Blood Passage is exclusively told in third person which allows the reader to get inside the heads of the major and secondary characters alike. For example Malek's past history brings a lot to his character arc as well as to the book's plot. We are now able to understand his obsession with power as well as the decisions that he regrettably made. While it didn't change my feelings towards Malek, I was able to understand him and his choices much more. In addition to Malek we also get to hear Zanari, Raif's sister's voice, in particular her inner conflicts of participating in the revolutionary war with her brother and her own personal desires of living her own life.
  Blood Passage also manages to explore familial love along side romantic love in the book that felt natural and real. The various siblings spar with one another, separate based on their personal beliefs and in some cases come back together to a stronger bond. Nali's and Raif's relationship follows a similar path. Though they are separated for quite sometime, their separation is legitimate and makes them question themselves. I appreciated how they took their time and slowly worked out their problems and got back together. I am curious, however, how their relationship will change in the next step toward their freedom in Arjinnna. I would like to note that I didn't have an issue with the romance at all since I never saw a love triangle in the story at all.
 In addition to the various relationships in the book, what I loved about this book (and series thus far) is the slow evolution of Nalia that began with a dire situation of being a slave to now a woman of agency and control. Nalia suffers a lot through this book, emotionally and physically, and I would have supported her if she decided to give up, but she is a real fighter who is always brave, resilient, and has a pure heart. I am very appreciative that Nalia's transformation is of her own doing and she reluctantly becomes a leader that people around her admire despite of the legacy of her jinni clan. I still have a lot of questions as to what will happen next, but I am happy that the book ends at a great place with no cliffhanger.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language, violence, disturbing scenes, and scenes of strong sensuality. There is also a fade to black sex scene that is alluded to in the story. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst, Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor, Shadow and Bone series by Leigh Bardugo
5 Responses
  1. I still need to read the first book. I a seeing some great reviews for this one, indicating it is stronger than the first, which always a good thing.

  2. I agree with everything you said... including the cover. Why did they change it?? This one has become a fave series of mine.

  3. Kindlemom Says:

    I think I would like Nalia, she sounds like a strong heroine! Wonderful review!

  4. Glad to hear this one avoids middle book syndrom. A bummer though that the cover doesn't fit the book It sounds like a great read.

    Majanka @ I Heart Reading

  5. Aylee Says:

    Oh wow, I didn't realize that this was the sequel of that series until you pointed out the drastic cover change! But I'm glad you felt this one was so consistently strong because I know how much of a rarity that is with sequels. I still need to read the first, but I'll have to get to it sometime because I have a good feeling I'll really like it!

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