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Reviewed by Miche Arendse for Readers' Favorite
Bloodlaced (Youkai Bloodlines) by Courtney Maguire centers on Asagi, a beautiful servant who was considered neither man nor woman. Unable to protect the boy he saw as his son from his abusive master, Asagi was sold to the gentle, kind, and generous young aristocrat Mahiro. Mahiro is the exact opposite of what Asagi had ever known and the two formed a bond of friendship that grew into something much deeper. Due to this, Asagi is poisoned and Mahiro decides to turn Asagi into a Youkai like himself, thus thrusting Asagi into a world of cruelty and bloodshed. Now immortal, Asagi must face new challenges in life and discover the meaning behind humanity.
Bloodlaced by Courtney Maguire is a beautiful and touching novel. It reflects on the depth of human cruelty, but also shows the great potential humanity has. This novel delves into themes of abuse and rape but also shows the various forms of love one can have. The contrast is what makes this book so riveting and truly causes the reader to become emotionally invested in the characters. I was captivated by the story and the characters, especially Asagi. I loved that the main character was gender-fluid as this type of main character isn’t often represented. Along with the authentic Japanese setting and cultural references, you can see the effort the author put into this novel and it was well worth it. This book is a work of art and I would easily recommend this to anyone.