An enthralling debut perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone set in a North African-inspired fantasy world where two sisters must fight to the death to win the crown.
Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of blood and marrow–a dark and terrible magick that hasn’t been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its last known practitioner was Queen Raina, who toppled the native khimaer royalty and massacred thousands, including her own sister, eight generations ago, thus beginning the Rival Heir tradition. Living in Raina’s long and dark shadow, Eva must now face her older sister, Isa, in a battle to the death if she hopes to ascend to the Ivory Throne–because in the Queendom of Myre only the strongest, most ruthless rulers survive.
When Eva is attacked by an assassin just weeks before the battle with her sister, she discovers there is more to the attempt on her life than meets the eye–and it isn’t just her sister who wants to see her dead. As tensions escalate, Eva is forced to turn to a fey instructor of mythic proportions and a mysterious and handsome khimaer prince for help in growing her magick into something to fear. Because despite the love she still has for her sister, Eva will have to choose: Isa’s death or her own.
Amanda Joy has an MFA from The New School, and lives in Chicago with her dog Luna. You can find her on twitter and Instagram at @amandajoywrites.
Author Guest Post:
Hello everyone! When reading fantasy novels I always wonder where the inspiration comes from. Sometimes the book is based on a certain culture and sometimes that requires a lot of research on the authors part. I always find myself wondering where the idea for a book comes from and what the author had to research for the book, so when I had the opportunity to ask Amanda Joy one question I knew right away what I wanted to know about her debut novel A River of Royal Blood.
What research did you do when writing A River of Royal Blood?
My debut, A RIVER OF ROYAL BLOOD, follows sixteen year old Princess Eva as she prepares for the fight of her life, for in Myre Princesses must kill their own sister to earn their spot on the throne.
The first image I remember when I began to write my debut novel was a girl sitting cross-legged on a marble floor as an older woman with horns and clawed feet oiled and braided her hair. They sat before an open balcony, and a great city flowed out beyond it. The sun was near blinding, flashing off white washed walls and a Temple dripping with gold. Cobalt flags and strings of dried poppies hung from open shutters. And in the distance, a vast river, its waters the color of blood, snaked around the city. But the greatest sources of color were the people. They were every shade of brown, and had hair in every manner of color and texture, from springy seafoam coils to silken blue-black waves. Some were horned, had pointy ears or fangs, and many others were just as plainly human as I was. I didn’t know it yet, but this place was Ternain, capital of Myre, the Queendom that the girl would one day fight to inherit.
Shortly after the image of Eva and her nursemaid popped into my head, and refused to leave, Myre’s history began to take shape in my mind the summer after I finished undergrad. It was molded by its landscape: a great river dividing the continent, as well as mountains in the north and a desert to rival the Sahara in the south of the capital. I grew up in church; my dad is a pastor. So I immediately knew where the image of a blood red river came from: the twice-yearly Sunday school on Moses and the plagues sent to Egypt. That original spark of inspiration sent me down a path to studying ancient Egypt.
Luckily I still had access to my college’s digital libraries and databases. I became fascinated with ancient Egyptian power structures, which primarily gave power to men, though some women were the exception. I knew already that Myre would be a Queendom, so I not only wanted women to fill the most powerful role in Myrean society, but also for it to be a true matriarchy in that women would hold power in their homes, own most businesses, and control trade. Around then I expanded my research into other countries on the North African coast, like Tunisia and Morocco.
Myre’s history was especially influenced by the Berber nations who ruled there for millennia and the later colonization of the North African coast. I won’t reveal too much, but the humans who rule Myre in Eva’s time, were not native inhabitants of the country. They were colonizers who stole the throne through magick and violence.
One thing that was important to me in creating this world was making certain that I didn’t appropriate the sacred history and myths of the countries I researched. Instead I wanted the world of Myre, its mythos, and history, to be entirely its own. So while I poured over photos and scoured JSTOR for primary sources on ancient Berber kings and women Pharaohs, I was also dreaming up those formative, original myths for Eva’s world. I wanted the differences between our world and Eva’s to be distinct. So in Myre there are four races: khimaer, fey, bloodkin, and human. The fact that the khimaer are horned is actually a reference to the Egyptian deity, Ammon, known as the King of the Gods. I chose that as a slight clue into the fact that khimaer once, and may once again, rule Myre.
The myths came to me slowly, sometimes in dreams. There was Hesa, the dreaming god, who first birthed their continent, Akhimar; Meya, a horse who rode right up to the sun and took a bite out of it; Khimearani, the shapeshifting Mother of Myre’s races, and many more who never made it onto the page.
I so loved creating this world and I hope readers who get to live in it for a short time, will sense that, and come to dwell in it for much longer.