PUB. DATE: October 9, 2018
Genres: Magical Realism, Young Adult, Fantasy
Summary: The biggest lie of all is the story you think you already know.
The del Cisne girls have never just been sisters; they’re also rivals, Blanca as obedient and graceful as Roja is vicious and manipulative. They know that, because of a generations-old spell, their family is bound to a bevy of swans deep in the woods. They know that, one day, the swans will pull them into a dangerous game that will leave one of them a girl, and trap the other in the body of a swan.
But when two local boys become drawn into the game, the swans’ spell intertwines with the strange and unpredictable magic lacing the woods, and all four of their fates depend on facing truths that could either save or destroy them. Blanca & Roja is the captivating story of sisters, friendship, love, hatred, and the price we pay to protect our hearts.
My thoughts: Blanca y Roja is a mystical and atmospheric tale of two sisters who are polar opposites from one another. Blanca is pale, kind, soft, pleasant, and someone everyone can’t help but like, meanwhile, Roja is dark, outspoken, rough around the edges and is the underdog. Both of these sisters live in a family cursed by these swans who will eventually come to claim one of the girls when they turn fifteen. This is their story about their sisterly bond, their magical land that they live upon, and the bonds they share with two magical boys who run into their lives.
This is definitely one of the more mysterious novels that McLemore has written because there was always a sense of foreboding and wonder when reading this novel because one is always questioning which sister will transform into a swan. Not only is this novel dark in its premise but it is also incredibly vivid and paints a scene that readers can dive into without effort. One thing that I appreciated the most was the short chapters and alternating points of views, in this story. This allowed McLemore to tell this story from multiple angles while keeping my attention because each chapter changed the narrator between four characters.
While this isn’t my absolute favorite McLemore novel because I wish I felt more connected to Blanca and Roja, I did enjoy it immensely. It’s always refreshing to read about strong sibling bonds that go through tough times and prevail. If you are looking for an atmospheric, magical, eery, and diverse fantasy novel, Blanca y Roja is the novel for you. It will immerse you in a fall wonderland filled with quirky and complex characters that you’ll never want to leave.
** I received a free physical ARC of this novel from Fierce Reads in exchange for an honest review. **