(Arc) Blanca & Roja by Anna Marie Mclemore

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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

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Friends, I didn’t know what I would think of this one, but god it was so amazing. Such beautiful writing and so magical, I never wanted it to end. Anna Marie’s book Wild Beauty is one of my favorites and I can now add this one right in alongside it because this one is just as good if not better.

This is a magical realism and a Snow White rose red retelling. It is also LGBTQIAP as a character is genderqueer and the love story between this character and another is so beautiful.

Your main characters Blanca and Roja are sisters. They grow up in the del Cisne family. But they have a curse on their family. Generations ago a woman in there family begged the swans for a daughter. They granted her two but said they would always take one back.

Generations of sisters have been taken one stays and the other turns into a swan. Now it is Blanca and Rojas turn to go before the swans to see who stays and who goes, but the girls have decided they won’t go that easy. They have grown up promising each other they would always fight the swans, that they would never allow themselves to be taken.

Your other two Characters which don’t really feel like side characters to me at all are Barclay and Page. They are both running from their families when the lacing woods take them and set them free.

All of their stories intertwine and create such a chaotic but heart wrenching situation for all of them. They are all fighting together and against themselves at the same time.

Both Sisters are trying to protect one another from the swans. Barclay has found a dark family secret that he feels terrible about and wants to set the truth free. Page loves her parents, he runs because they don’t understand that he is more than a tomboy and it is okay being called both him and her. The love between all these characters is so powerful and heartbreaking. I felt so bad for them and what each of them were going through.

Roja is honestly the main main character for me because she is such an intense part of the story. I also fell in love with her vicious no fucks given attitude. She was so brutally honest at times but was also vulnerable and relatable. She was so incredibly loyal but also so insecure. She honestly didn’t feel like the villain she thought herself out to be. She didn’t think she deserved to be saved because she was the girl with the bloodstained hair and brown skin, while her sister was the yellow-haired girl with golden skin. It was heartbreaking to watch her beat herself up thinking that she was essentially worthless.

Blanca is such a stubborn protective loyal sister. All she has done is look out for Roja and try to protect both of them, but she realizes, in the end, one of them will go and the other will stay. She fights and lies to her sister to protect. She tries so hard because she is the older one and believes she is responsible for her sister. She was such a tough character, but so loving and loyal to her sister.

Barclay was running from his own family secrets. He had let himself go to the forest so he didn’t have to worry or face those troubles anymore. When he meets a red-haired girl who takes him in he finds that he can no longer run from what his family has done or what he has become.

Page went to the forest worried about Barclay and because his family didn’t understand him. He didn’t want to be the girl wearing dresses and cooking and being a girl. He wanted to wear jeans and collar shirts. He was okay with being called him and her, he just wanted to be accepted even if they didn’t understand.

Now nobody writes magical realism the way Anna Marie does. The beautiful writing and magic just have this way of sucking you in. If you have read wild beauty you understand some of what I mean. The way the story flowed perfectly with four different points of view going was so perfectly done.

Two things impressed me most about this was one how Anna Marie flipped between everyday things and the magic in the woods was so perfectly wound together and two how she depicted periods. I’ve never seen a fantasy book include it much less make it a part of the storyline, it was impressive.

Overall this book was amazing and magical. I never wanted it to end. Anna Marie never disappoints and I hope you all get the chance to read this amazing and beautiful book.

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