Blood Heir, by Amélie Wen Zhao
Goodreads ¦ Amazon
Series?: Blood Heir Trilogy #1
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: November 19, 2019
Length: 464 pages
Times Read: Once
This hot debut is the first book in an epic new series about a princess hiding a dark secret and the con man she must trust to clear her name for her father’s murder.
In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.
When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue.
A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all.
HI! Show of hands, who heard of this book before today for a reason that was less than positive?
Thaaat’s right, this one was almost never published! If there’s a chance you don’t know the story already, this was supposed to be published over the summer, but after a firestorm started by a few early readers, the author herself asked the publisher to stop publication.
Slate has a good article here on the accusations of racism she faced, along with all the reasons that HEY it might not actually be so racist after all. And the author did an interview with NPR a few days ago, showing more of her perspective.
I had an original ARC of this and had been SUPER excited to read about the-princess-is-a-monster-but-make-it-Anastasia. But when Twitter told me it was racist, that the author was trash, I listened. When the author canceled the book herself, I quietly shelved it and moved on.
But THEN! Amélie took a beat, reread her work, tweaked a few things, and decided to publish anyway. So I got to read my ARC after all! AND…I didn’t see the problem. Like…at all.
I haven’t read a finished copy yet, so I don’t know what changes were made. But I couldn’t figure out what she needed to clarify. Like…at all.
Thing is, I don’t know that it’s really my place to say if something is or isn’t racist, high from my mountain of white privilege. I can educate myself, I can empathize, I can sympathize, and I can listen–but I don’t live what people of color live. And their history isn’t mine.
So I want to hear from you guys! What are your thoughts on this whole thing? Did you read an ARC or pick up a copy today? Did you know it’s going to be featured in at least two book boxes this month? If you didn’t know anything about it, are you more or less likely to based on the drama? SERIOUSLY TELL ME I DON’T KNOW ANYONE ELSE WHO HAS READ IT YET!