Linda Xia’s Heir of Blood and Secrets is a young adult mystery novel set in a rather dystopian world, one in which, as she clearly establishes from the first pages, the discrepancies between social classes and race are predominant. The book revolves around the story of Scylla, an heir having to prove herself when those she loves find themselves in precarious and unjust situations. Behind the walls of the Castle, in Devovea, she must learn where her loyalties lie and to whom she will swear allegiance, but life outside the Castle will wake her up to reality. Before moving on, I must mention that I was contacted and sent a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review, for which I must thank Linda Xia.
Approaching an abundance of themes, the novel places its characters in a dystopian world where race and gender, together with social status, divide people and are causes for protests and rebellion – which, to a certain extent, doesn’t stray too far from our reality. The world created is perhaps what determined the book to be a four star read and not a three star read as Xia succeeds at building it in such a manner that it nearly melts together with the reader’s world. Thus, Devovea is, on a micro level, the world we live in. Particularly outstanding in the context of the setting is the writing style through which she carefully details everything so the reader can have the full image. At the same time, it’s quite fast paced, not for the simplicity of language, but because her writing is, while pretentious most of the time, easy to follow. While reading it, I found myself going through the pages at high speed as everything was nearly perfectly linked together. Accordingly, this is reflected in the characters too as they are very well rounded and credible. However, I cannot help pointing out that every character was lacking depth, which I find to be a crucial aspect of the books I read. Regardless, Xia still managed to build suspense throughout the novel through the writing style.
Heir of Blood and Secrets is centred around one’s personal beliefs as Scylla has to decide whether she will become one with the herd or will fight for the greater cause – or, perhaps, both. Although it has an intriguing plotline and it is a fast-paced book, occasionally I couldn’t help but notice that it was lagging and felt somewhat rushed towards the end, something I often notice with mystery novels. Regardless, to those who love YA mystery novels and dystopia this is a really well-written book, especially if you’ve been struggling with a reading slump just as I was. You can find her on Instagram and her Twitter.
Title: Heir of Blood and Secrets
Author: Linda Xia
Publication Date: 2021
Format: Kindle Edition|245 pages