Rating: 4 stars
This is my review of the published version of Blood Heir. For my review of the original ARC, click here.
So, I’d say there was an improvement, to say the least!
It’s amazing how changing so little made the story on the whole so much better. Really, this official version had the same shape as the original, with all the same plot points and all the same destinations, but sometimes the motivation behind something was changed or the attitude surrounding it, and that made it all feel more well-rounded, more real, and more human. Issues I’d had with the original were fixed without changing much, especially regarding the villain.
I’d say the biggest, most obvious differences were the backstories for Ana and May. May was super shaky before (and not because she was ~inaccurate and racist~ rep). No, she fell flat for other reasons. But the new and improved May, May 2.0, was so emotionally resonant and all it took was giving her some kind of non-Ana motivation. Her quest for her lost mother was way more believable and grounding. Now I’m excited to see where that plot thread goes in future books. The other big backstory change was Ana’s, and I wasn’t as enthusiastic about this one. I liked it, but I hadn’t had much of a problem with the first. I see why Zhao might want to change some things, as it makes her relationship with her brother feel shown instead of told, especially considering the fact that their on-page interactions are quite limited. It wasn’t a bad change, I just didn’t see why it was entirely necessary.
Ultimately, I liked this version way more than the last. The original was fun and a bit popcorny, but it lacked some much needed depth and coherent themes, and this revision really delivered on that.
I was surprised that Zhao didn’t really change anything regarding the “controversy” other than the obvious changes to May, but perhaps since the controversy was unfounded there really weren’t any necessary changes to be made. I would say that I wish she hadn’t been forced to edit, but the end result was so great that I can’t really let myself. I’m glad she got this second pass through, because the story is better for it.
But does Yuri really need to be a love interest now? Childhood friend love interests are so Mal, and we all know what the consensus on him was.
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