Book Review | Bleeding Earth by Kaitlin Ward

Bleeding Earth by Kaitlin Ward

Published by Adaptive Press on February 9, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Apocalyptic

Format: eARC

Pages: 256

Source: NetGalley


Lea was in a cemetery when the earth started bleeding. Within twenty-four hours, the blood made international news. All over the world, blood appeared out of the ground, even through concrete, even in water. Then the earth started growing hair and bones.

Lea wants to ignore the blood. She wants to spend time with her new girlfriend, Aracely, in public, if only Aracely wasn’t so afraid of her father. Lea wants to be a regular teen again, but the blood has made her a prisoner in her own home. Fear for her social life turns into fear for her sanity, and Lea must save herself and Aracely whatever way she can.


Bleeding Earth is a young adult apocalyptic novel following teenager Lea. She and her friend go to the local cemetery one day to work on a school project when suddenly blood begins seeping out of the ground. Lea hopes this has something to do with the cemetery, or perhaps just a hallucination while being in a creepy place. However, it turns out that it’s not just the cemetery that’s bleeding – it’s the entire earth. The book continues to follow what happens to Lea and her community in this bloodbath.

I found this story’s concept extremely intriguing, but unfortunately the book fell flat for me. My main issue with Bleeding Earth is the writing style, which is going to make or break the story for the reader. The writing is in the first person from Lea’s point-of-view, and sounds as if a teenager was speaking directly to you. Not only is the dialogue in the teenage voice, but all of the other writing is as well. While I think teenagers might connect well with this writing, it did not work for me as an older reader of young adult. I found the prose quite irritating, and that really detracted from my enjoyment of the novel.

Moreover, Bleeding Earth is the type of book in which the author is trying to do too much. For example, Lea is a lesbian and readers learn a lot about her sexuality and coming out process. I think it is awesome that the author included a member of the LGBTQIA+ community as our main character, but I think the lengthy explanation of how it was for her coming out of the closet, how her friends and family treat her, etc. was a bit out of place in this particular book. I wanted to focus more on the crazy apocalypse that was occurring in the world, not Lea’s complete history that didn’t have much to do with what was happening in the present.

I also found Bleeding Earth to be quite unbelievable, mainly due to lack of structure in the novel. For instance, I cannot tell the timespan for this novel because the author doesn’t give the reader any clues along the way. When I accompany that with the small plot holes I found while reading, the book loses a lot of credibility.

That being said, I did really like the aspect of the story dealing with unreliable narrators. I won’t go into this too much because of spoilers, but I love when the reader never knows whether or not she can trust the narrator’s voice. This unreliable narrator added a lot to the book in terms of creepiness, and definitely gave me an unsettling feeling. I also thought the ending was good, but I wish we had an epilogue to fully explain what happened next to our characters.

All in all, I was quite disappointed with Bleeding Earth. The story idea was great, but it just wasn’t executed according to my tastes. I would recommend this book for younger readers, as I do think they will enjoy the narrative voice. Otherwise, I think you can pass on this book without missing much. I hope to find an apocalyptic book that I enjoy very soon!


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