Blood Secrets by Morgan Busse (Book Review)

Author’s Note: We were provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Plot & Storyline Quality (1.5 points)

Busse’s latest novel, Blood Secrets, seems to be the final installment in this short saga. The novel had much potential, but fell short in many areas. On the whole, we as readers were left wanting the author to go deeper and weave more heart into a tale that feels unfinished.

Two major strengths of the plot and storyline are the fictional world and the setting. Busse crafted a believable steampunk universe in this novel, complete with steam carriages and gas-powered aeroships. In turn, the sharp class divisions and the unequal wealth distribution point back to the non-fictional Industrial Revolution(s) and forward to the present by highlighting some key sociopolitical issues that apply to our nation today. I would like to see more of Busse steampunk universes in the future.

Major weaknesses in the plot and storyline include, but are not limited to its tendency towards relevant vs. irrelevant content and inconsistent pacing. For example, a scene of Cass almost losing her food supply out an aeroship window reflects how her thoughts are jumbled, but does not reinforce a key plot point. On the other hand, one minute there is an explosion or a battle sequence, and the next minute the audience is supposed to get into a tender moment between two young people who apparently fell in love during the quick snippets of time they have to chat or sleep between their heroic acts and their pursuit of a cure for the Mist. In summary, we as readers would like to have seen more meaningful interactions between characters and a stronger plot style that emphasized the heart of the story vs. action sequences and dialogue about things that are happening. Why not have the events unfold in a more natural way and use that page time to reinforce the storyline’s foundation? Moreover, why is there no new information in this book as compared to the last one? If these gaps had been filled, we would have seen a much stronger plot and storyline in this novel. Thus, the overall plot and storyline score is an average one.

Character Development (1 point)

Likewise, while the characters in this book have potential, they too feel like shadows of what could have been. Firstly, the protagonist, Cass, is an adventurous soul who has tried to make the best of the hand she’s been dealt by the upper class. She is brave and has a tender heart, but beyond these traits we know little about her flaws. What does she learn through the story that grows her spiritually and mentally? Theo seems to be able to float along the top of life, so to speak. When he’s not saving the world behind the scenes, he somehow endears himself to the working class by spending little to no time with them. He also meets his true love and becomes a positive force for change. Is Theo a budding politician or a relatable person? Secondly, the minor characters fall into that unfortunate category of expendable members of the group. Who are they? Why do they matter to us as readers? What role do they play in the story that affects the direction of the plot? Finally, the antagonist(s) seem to develop throughout the tale and have some potential, then some of them either exit the story or fizzle out with little to no explanation. For these reasons, the character development in this novel is below average.

Creativity & Originality (.5 point)

To conclude, Blood Secrets earns half a point in originality for the ingenuity of it’s steampunk universe. Busse’s world-building skills definitely have a place in Christian series screenwriting. Had the characters, plot, and storyline been more original and meaningful, this section would have received a higher score. We look forward to seeing more steampunk series from this author, and hope that some of her past masterpieces (peep the Ravenwood saga) will make it onto the big screen someday very soon.

Wish List Rating: 3 out of 10 points


2019 Box Office Revolution Book Awards

Every year, many Christian books are released, and writers of the same show off their creative talents. Across the many genres, these novels are judged based on the presence or absence of plot continuity and exceptional storytelling skills, above average character development, and whether or not a novel correctly addresses an issue or issues that relate to current American Christian culture. These novels are separated into roughly three groups of authors and their respective works of art: the exceptional, the potentially great, and those chosen by the votes of our readers. Likewise, winning titles are listed according to their genre. At Box Office Revolution, we believe it is our prerogative to annually recognize the entertainment creators who have the ability to bring revolution to Christian entertainment.

Staff Choice Winning Books of 2019

Thriller of the Year: The Girl Behind the Red Rope by Rachelle and Ted Dekker and The Line Between by Tosca Lee are tied for first place.

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Fantasy of the Year: Flight of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse (#2 in the Ravenwood Saga)

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Biblical Fiction of the Year: The End of the Magi by Patrick W. Carr

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Historical/Coming of Age of the Year: All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner

Suspense of the Year: The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

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Staff Choice Honorable Mentions of 2019

Drama: The Words Between Us by Erin Bartels

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Historical: The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner

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Romance: Courting Mr. Emerson by Melody Carlson

Courting Mr. Emerson  -     By: Melody Carlson

Biopic/Romance: My Dearest Dietrich by Amanda Barratt

My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Lost Love  -     By: Amanda Barratt

Reader’s Choice Book of the Year: The Line Between by Tosca Lee

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Staff Choice Authors of the Year: Rachelle Dekker, Tosca Lee, Morgan L. Busse, Patrick W. Carr, Susie Finkbeiner, and Jaime Jo Wright.

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Rachelle Dekker
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Tosca Lee

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Morgan L. Busse
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Patrick W. Carr
Susie Finkbeiner
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Jaime Jo Wright

Staff Choice Honorably Mentioned Authors of the Year: Erin Bartels, Susan Meissner, Melody Carlson, Amanda Barratt

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Erin Bartels
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Susan Meissner
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Melody Carlson
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Amanda Barratt

Congratulations to all the authors mentioned in this post on their wins and honorable mentions! Thank you all for being committed to producing high quality Christian entertainment and for glorifying God with the gifts He has given you!