**As the second in a series, this book (and the review) may contain spoilers for All These Things I’ve Done. You have been warned.**
Anya Balanchine knows firsthand that being the presumptive heir to an illegal chocolate empire comes with its fair share of complications. After a turbulent year filled with futile attempts to move beyond her criminal reputation and date a truly ill-advised boy–all while caring for her brother and sister–Anya is hoping that the start of autumn and her release from Liberty Children’s Facility will bring with it calmer times.
Unfortunately, nothing about Anya’s life after Liberty is calm. Her criminal record makes attending (not to mention finishing) high school nearly impossible.
Her little sister Natty has grown up during Anya’s time away. Scarlet, her best friend, seems closer than ever to her odious boyfriend Gable. And Win? The boy who made Anya want to give up almost everything her family stood for seems to have a new love.
Anya isn’t sure where she fits into this world where everything and everyone has moved on without her except that she hopes it has nothing to do with her extended family. Or chocolate.
Unfortunately, as ever, Anya’s wants are overlooked as she is drawn back into the Balanchine’s world of crime, chocolate and intrigue. Taken away from the city and the people that she loves, Anya will have to decide what price she is willing to pay for safety and who she truly wants to be in Because It Is My Blood (2012) by Gabrielle Zevin.
Because It Is My Blood is the second book in Gabrielle Zevin’s Birthright series which started with All These Things I’ve Done.
As exciting as Because It Is My Blood can be, this novel’s strength is in its focus on Anya. She is still impetuous and often acts rashly. But she is also circumspect and calculating–as is fitting of a mafiya princess, even a reluctant one.
While Anya struggles with familiar questions about her family and her identity, Zevin keeps the story original with her surprising turns and Anya’s wry, eloquent narration. Readers will also notice Anya’s continued growth as she moves out from her dead father’s shadow (and advice) to begin making her own decisions.
Zevin also continues to delicately build Anya’s world in Because It Is My Blood with some tantalizing hints of what readers can expect in the latter half of this series. As our heroine moves beyond the island of Manhattan, Zevin develops the politics of 2083 that surround a country where chocolate is illegal and many other items are in short supply.
Because It Is My Blood proves that Anya still has more to learn and even more tricks up her sleeve making this book another absorbing installment in an already gripping series.
Possible Pairings: White Cat by Holly Black, Strings Attached by Judy Blundell, Heist Society by Ally Carter, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan, Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt, This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman, Leverage (television series), White Collar (television series)
Thanks to Esther Bochner at Macmillan Audio I also have a clip to share from the audiobook of Because It Is My Blood: You can listen to the clip on my website.
Also be sure to check out the cool trailer.
*This book was acquired for review from the publisher at BEA 2012