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Such A Novel Idea

By Blood (By Blood #1) - Tracy E. Banghart For this review and more, visit Such A Novel Idea.

This was my first book about Druids.  In fact, I had to do a Google Search when I first came across the book just to find out what they were.  If you don't know, here's a quick blub:

The Druids were priests who carried out religious rituals in Iron Age Britain and France. The Romans, who visited and later conquered France and Britain, met Druids and wrote about their beliefs and rites. Although these writings may not always have been completely truthful, it is clear that the Druids were an important group of people in many Iron Age societies. A little is also known about the Druid's beliefs and rituals, including the importance of mistletoe. Archaeologists rarely find direct evidence for priests in the Iron Age. But they often find evidence for religious rites and sacrifices and many of these were probably carried out by Druids.

There are no pictures of Druids - what did they look like? Did they wear special clothes or were they dressed the same as other Iron Age people? Some archaeologists have argued that special headdresses or crowns such as that found on the head of the Deal Warrior may have been worn by some priests or Druids.

Modern Druids have no direct connection to the Druids of the Iron Age. Many of our popular ideas about the Druids are based on the misunderstandings and misconceptions of scholars 200 years ago. These ideas have been superceded by later study and discoveries. In particular, there is no link between the Iron Age Druids and the people who built and worshipped at Stonehenge, Wiltshire. This ancient monument was part of a religion that ended before the Iron Age began. - British Museum Website

One of the theories about Stonehenge is that it was the work of the Druids.  So, if anywhere, that is probably where you've heard of them.  As you can tell, my academia is showing. *Back to regularly scheduled reviewing*

So, going in I was really excited/interested to see how this book would go.  From the beginning we get a real good sense of who our main character, Emma, is.  We get a great opportunity to get inside her head -- and it's a mess.  She has lots of family issues (mom left dad after cheating, had a baby, hasn't seen her in years, and now has to spend all summer with her. In a foreign country).  There are a lot of the details about Emma's life that speak right to your heart.  Emotionally, she had me in her world, and near tears a couple of times.  This dynamic was one powerful story line within the book, as she found out more about the family secrets and her parents.  If this would have been the only thread of the story, without the Druids, I still probably would have read (and enjoyed it!)

Next there are the loooooove interests.  Emma has two guys (of course).  However, the love triangle was warranted in this situation.  We needed that tension.  Plus, one of the boys LIVES with her family, so obviously it is something the two want to avoid, for the sake of awkwardness.  I really like how this part of the story played out.  Both boys were unique and had a personality that drew me in.  The other members of the Druids were interesting -- it was great to hear the slang of England (and try to figure out was it meant!)  Although the parts described of Oxford brought up great imagery, I wanted MORE.  Here we are in this beautiful country and I'm not getting a great sense about what it looks like.  And the characters seem to take up more of the attention than the scenery.

Then there is the Druids.  I loved how open the members of the Grove were about who they were and what they did.  It was interesting to see why each member was drawn to the group.  I also loved how something so innocent could be quickly turned into something sinister.  And just as in the real world, once that innocent facade is stripped away, you are suddenly in something too deep to get out of.  I felt like that is how the characters felt as the rituals progressed into something more sinister.  After doing some research (yes, I'm a nerd), I found out that modern Druids still practice, and are not sinister, but focus on the commune with the earth and its elements.  Interestingly enough, they also state in there "About" information that they are not a cult.  This is a big part of the book, so it was cool to see how all that played into the story and how the book divulges from reality.  (If YOU want to know more, visit the Druid Grove, Order of the Bards Ovates and Druids website.

There were definitely some twists and turns I saw coming, but I wasn't expecting everything to happen the way it did.  The Druids parts were facinating and when they started losing memory the book started to feel a little like a psychological thriller.  Overall, Tracy has some strong characters, emotions, and story lines happening in this book.  You most definitely will NOT be bored.  If you like paranormal or even contemporary, you will love this book!

Rating: 4/5