Cover Image: Blood Like Magic

Blood Like Magic

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Member Reviews

Blood Like Magic is an enchanting tale about a young woman finding the strength to stand in her power. The choices we make don’t often just affect us but imagine if one choice, one crucial decision, determines the fate of not just yourself, but your family and legacy. Voya Thomas is given the impossible task of making a deadly choice, but will she be able to get over her indecisiveness when it counts the most? Or will she risk it all for the boy she loves? Liselle Sambury weaves an intricate tale about respecting one’s history, embracing community, and forging a new path. Blood Like Magic is a promising start to deeply personal and affecting sci-fi/fantasy that gives you everything.

Voya is a witch, well, not just yet. She has just had her Calling and is set to undertake a crucial task that will determine whether she has powers or not, and what gift she will be presented with. All seems to go well until Voya meets the ancestor that is meant to present her with her task; a most dreaded ancestor and their task is as impossible as it sounds. Voya must destroy her first love or risk her family’s magic. Just as Voya is at the precipice of great power she meets Luc, a young genius. She is paired with him during a trial of a genetic matchmaking program that pairs you with your one true love. Now faced with choosing her family over her first love, Voya must learn to find the strength within to stand on her own and finally make a choice.

Blood Like Magic is anchored by familial drama. Voya is deeply devoted to her family and is concerned for their well-being. To feel the impact of Voya’s choice (or lack thereof) one needs to feel the familial connections. Sambury beautifully illustrates a tight-knit Black Trinidadian-Canadian family with many secrets and flaws, however, the love they have for each other is a throughline that is never forgotten. Just as we learn more about Voya and become invested in her journey, we become equally invested in her family, especially her cousins Keis, Keisha, and Alex. 

The most moving element of the family dynamics is the unwavering strength and power that lies within the women that give these witches more texture and vibrancy. Each is uniquely drawn with clear voices and motivations. As we explore these familial connections and how each woman relates to each other, Voya’s character arc is strengthened and propelled forward as she is so intrinsically linked to these women and the history of the Thomas family. The balance and care given to writing these characters illustrates just how skilled a writer Sambury is.

In the intro, I said this book has everything, and it truly does. Blood Like Magic is set in a not-too-distant future in Toronto, Canada and witches are alive and well. However, they operate under the radar in a world that is so tapped into biotechnology and the like that it can expose their powers. Sambury seamlessly melds science fiction and fantasy, bringing magic and science together in a way that highlights the two aren't so different. The book is a romance as Voya embarks on a cute enemies-to-lovers romance with the stoic Luc. This romance is the crux of the novel as Voya is meant to destroy her first love, and lo and behold, Luc certainly fits the bill. To top off the already emotionally heavy novel, Sambury weaves comedy and mystery into her writing effectively creating a mesmerizing and engaging read.

Blood Like Magic is cinematic in its writing. Taking over one's senses and making you feel every agonizing and triumphant twist and turn of Voya’s journey. Voya is an exceptional protagonist, whose growth is deeply impactful. She is the sort of heroine that will have a hold on your heart for many years. If the characters aren’t enough, then this genre-defying novel has so much more to offer. There is a lot to embrace and what could have easily fallen apart under the sheer weight of the tension and expectations, Sambury leads us to an equally satisfying and devastating end. It’s the kind of end that will have you staring off into the distance, wondering, “how will I survive the wait?” Blood Like Magic is exactly what the first book in a series should be and so much more.
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First of all, these are the things that really excited me about this book: Slightly futuristic Toronto, Canadian author, enemy to lover’s story line, and the whole magical fantasy world.

Voya – an amazing 16-year-old principal character. Although this is fantastical book with a strong emphasis on blood magic, Voya can be viewed as relatable to many. How you ask? The constant lingering anxiety of making the right decision – after all, the future of her family in the magic world depends on her. She is a brilliant female character, but still has the constant doubt that she won’t or can’t succeed. So when her Calling comes, she is faced with the impossible task of destroying her first love. And that is when Luc comes into play.

And now just a brief statement on the Enemy to Lovers trope – I love the whole enemy/lovers thing, but this is not an entirely a romantic story.  The foundation of Blood Like Magic is warm and rich, and heavily magic based; but don’t worry, the enemy/lovers trope is represented wonderfully in this book.

Blood Like Magic is amazing! Perhaps maybe for the older teens and up. There’s a lot of blood references, which could make some a little squeamish OR who knows, some might not even have an issue at all. 
A big thanks to NetGalley and publisher for a copy of this book.
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A coming of power story set in a futuristic Toronto setting. Zoya must choose between her first love or her powers. A hard choice to make with a meddling family on board, and a dark hidden secret. A bit slow for me, but would be curious to see where it goes in the sequel.
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Voya Thomas: A girl who’s afraid of making choices, or simplifying: the right choice. Because what do you do when you have two choices and you don’t know which one is right and which one is wrong? What if you make the wrong choice and regret it? Voya’s life is basically that. 


In 2049 Toronto, things are different from today’s world. Advanced technology is a given, but there is also a black witch community that has been there in the world since generations; and that community still lives. Every person in this community receives their “Calling” when they first bleed, and an ancestor then contacts them and assigns them a “task”, which if they pass, get their magic.


Voya receives her calling at the age of 16, but the task assigned to her is not one of the simple ones that people around her were assigned. It is an impossible one: to find her true love and destroy them. Surprisingly, that’s when she meets Luc through a genetic matching program (That’s just modern day Tinder for you, plus the genetic matching which is more accurate ;)) Luc is an arrogant person with little to no time in the field of dating, and yet when Voya meets him, she knows what she has to do.
Fall in love with Luc and kill him.


Except, does that actually happen? With a task so impossible, a lot of things start coming to the surface at the same time, like Voya’s forgotten aunt and what she was indulging in.
With so much on her plate, does Voya Thomas make her choice? Or does she end up regretting it yet again? I won’t give spoilers but you HAVE to read it to know.


Reading this story made me realise a very important thing, that there are a lot of stories out there which are so mind-blowing and I’m going to end up loving. Liselle Sambury did a fantastic job when she wrote Voya. Voya is a character who is too human. Confused, messed up, and so not sure about her future. I could see glimpses of me in her and I think that is what makes her so special for me. 


Voya is a girl who is very close to her family. I thought it would be just that but from the writing, I could imagine how each of her family member is. There weren’t a lot of romantic scenes with Luc in the book, and yet I loved his character as much as I loved anyone else’s!


The story is set in 2049, a lot of years from right now. I hoped that I wouldn’t see any sort of discrimination happening, can’t future guarantee us at least that? Coming from a minority community, I always long for having a future free of any sort of injustice and discrimination. But the author had me at the moment when I learnt that the discrimination can lessen, but bigoted minds would never cease to exist. I appreciated how Voya’s family accepted her cousin when she came out as Trans. And being Non-Binary wasn’t such a huge deal anymore. It was normalized. And yet there were instances of Police Brutality, and people still being racist towards Black people. There are people who have sacrificed their lives for their community, and will continue to do so, but I’ve also learnt that changing your present can also alter the future. If we work hard to eradicate racism from this world today, I know that the future will be brighter than ever. And for that, I’d love to thank this book and Liselle Sambury.


In the end, I won’t say anything more, just this one thing that: GO READ THIS BOOK WHAT ARE YOU EVEN WAITING FOR YOU WON’T REGRET IT!
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Voya descends from a long line of witches. As she reaches her Coming-of-Age, she receives her Calling - a trial issued by an ancestor that she must pass in order to be bestowed with her power - and she fails. 

However, she is granted a second chance. Here's the catch: She must accept the challenge without knowing the terms. If she fails, her whole lineage will be stripped of their magic and her younger sister will die. The task? To sacrifice her first love to save her family's magic. The problem? Voya has never been in love.

I was absolutely ecstatic to receive approval for this novel for multiple reasons:
It is written by a Canadian author, and as a fellow Canadian, I want to support and promote the HECK out of a fellow Canuck!
DIVERSITY. Liselle includes every piece of diversity under the sun. LGBTQ? Check! Own Voices? Check! Exposure of class systems issues? Check! Body diversity acceptance? Check!
Magic. MAGIC. And not the wave-your-fingers-and-have-something-happen kind. I'm talking about the deep and dirty magic that is born of blood and intention. Magic that needs work and effort to come to fruition. As a witch, it was so breathtaking to see a more realistic approach to magic work in a novel that wasn't pure fantasy.
I do think it's important to list some of the trigger and content warnings provided by the author, as she exposes a lot of raw and sometimes disturbing information that is instrumental to her characters and her story:

TW/CW: whipping scene within the context of slavery, gun/police violence, discussion of and character with an eating disorder, blood/gore/violence, death, substance abuse/addiction, mentions of child neglect.

This fantastic blend of urban fantasy and science-fiction is set in futuristic Toronto. Voya is a member of a lively and close knit family, living with her grandmother, cousins, parents, step-mother and little sister. Liselle does an excellent job at highlighting and portraying the continued societal divide in Toronto - identifying that though things have shifted over the decades, there is still a undertone of caution around the Black community and an unspoken neglect of the lower class. The rich still profit in their tight circles and there is a direct correlation in the access to education and internships with companies to get anywhere within society.

The author highlights Voya's culture: her Trinidadian roots, her family's history through slavery in the 1700s, and the continued racism that affects them. She does an excellent job of making her characters relatable as she expresses their struggles with body image, sexuality, identity and the need to honour family tradition and duty.

I did find there were a lot of layers in this story. Her Calling, her Task, NuGene, finding Keis an internship, her cooking competition, the backstory of Justin. It's a lot to follow. The beginning of the book is a little slow, and it did take me a bit to get invested, but once I passed some of the establishing backstories it flowed really nicely.

I think this book is a great addition to Canadian fiction. It carries a lot of important messages regarding body positivity, self discovery, and acceptance of others. Though it did contain some tough conversations surrounding the history of Black Canadians, I believe that it was written in such an elegant way that it perfectly targets Teen and Young Adult readers - and beyond!

I am looking forward to the second book (which is set to release in 2022!)
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Blood Like Magic was EVERYTHING I didn't know I needed in a book. Black witches set in futuristic Canada??? Casual queer rep??? Destroying your first love??? i am in love, thank you.

The book follows 16 year old Voya Thomas as she goes through her Calling - a task you finish to become a witch. Except hers is way too difficult. She's asked to destroy her first love in a month, but she's never fallen in love before. And if she fails? Oh no big deal, only her entire family and generations after them will lose magic :)

Blood Like Magic intertwines magic, science, and black history in such an incredible way that you just can't stop reading. 

It's a story that doesn't hide the horrors of the world and makes you face them. But it also gives you the support of a large family and you don't feel alone reading it. The plot is so unique and the ending made me Feel Things™. Voya's journey with making choices and how sometimes you make decisions that aren't necessarily "right" resonated so deeply with me because, choosing things is hard!! 

"Nothing makes people more nervous than browskinned folks without a lot of money"

I loved how it was set in 2049 but issues like racism and transphobia hadn't really gone away. Sure they were less frequent but microaggressions still occurred in people's daily lives. Stray looks, side glances, toned down hurtful comments were all present but everyone pretended like they weren't issues anymore. It just made the story that much more heartfelt while also not taking away from the main plot points. 

And lastly the characters. 
Oh my god. The characters. 
Alex is a powerhouse, she's incredible. Just imagining her outfits made me feel amazing. 
Keisha deserves an awesome woman who understands her demisexuality and makes her feel all the butterflies. 
I would like to end this review by asking for Keis' hand in marriage please. 

P.S. I HEARD THERE'S GONNA A BOOK 2 AND I'M ALREADY EXCITED
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"We suffer and we survive"

Set in a teched-out futuristic Toronto, Blood Like Magic is a poignant coming of age story that I didn't know I needed. It follows Voya Thomas, a strong-minded but indecisive 16-year-old from a long line of ancestral magic. In her community, in order to find out what your gift is, you must first complete your calling. A task given to you by an ancestor. But what happens when her task is to fall in love and kill that first love? Oh, and by the way, she has a month to do it! Failing the task will not only mean she doesn't receive magic but no one else will either.

Wow! Where do I even start? This was not a light YA I thought it would be. I am well aware of the synopsis but I have found that in YA, heavy themes are often time 'watered down' or don't feel as heavy as the themes may actually be. This was not the case in Blood Like Magic

The subject matter was given the proper depth, complexity and respect I felt it needed to have but has been lacking in so many YA novels. Because of this, I was extremely invested in Voya and the Thomas family/ community, magic and struggles. This novel was so real and I think that Liselle did an amazingly good job of expressing the pains of racism and prejudice people experience from external influences but also within their own community.

I did feel it took too long to get to the main plot at the beginning. I was 24% into the book before we even got to the main plot point. I understand the need for this but just as a heads up to other readers, it takes a while to get going (plotwise) however, all the character, community and relationship building is done in the first 24% which is important for the rest of this book.

The strongest theme here for me was family. I felt the dynamic inside the Thomas household and community as a whole, to be similar to how my mum explained growing up in our culture, and I have experienced in glimpses whenever I went to the tribe Marae (meeting house)

The characters each had their own voice that was just as powerful as the person beside them, including the ancestors. It felt genuine and respectful and that the author went out of her way to make sure each person's identity was presented with respect. I greatly admired and appreciated it.

There are so many more things I could say about why I loved this book. But to be honest I really don't want to give too much and take away the enjoyment of reading this!

Rating - 4.5 stars

I highly recommend this to people that love Urban Fantasy, Black Girl Magic, love messy protagonists and a slight hint of science fiction in their fantasy. I also think that POC peoples (like myself) would really enjoy this if you come from a culture where family is above all. Even when it's messy. This felt so familiar at times. Like a scolding from your elders and a big warm hug all at once.
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Oh my gosh, this book was so long. I loved the concept and the main plot was really good but there just felt like there was way too much detail. In the end, I just feel incredibly frustrated with this book. Voya was really annoying to me and her constant flip flopping made the book almost unbearable at points. It also forced the book to be longer because she just kept going back and forth between "should I" or "shouldn't I"? And I get it! It's a really big decision for a 16 year old to destroy the love of their life. But like... I kind of figured out the plot twist eons before the main character even did.
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Although this book was slow to start, as any fantasy book needs to do world building, it was fantastic! Being from Canada it was neat to imagine a future of my province where technology has advanced so much and witches are real.  I loved the inclusiveness and diversity of this book. Anyone would be able to see themselves in this book. I kept calling this book Black Girl Magic in my head as I read it. Voya has a choice to make and she is able to grow and come into her own to make the choice that she needs to make. All in all, an amazing book and I can't wait to see what's in store for these characters!
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Taking the best elements from some of our favourite books, 'Blood Like Magic' has created a book that stands uniquely by itself -nothing can compare. Magical, haunting and captivating, this book is my favourite of 2021!

TW: Self-harm, Parental abuse, Potential Murder/Murder, Slavery, Racism, Sexism, Violence, Eating disorder, Transphobia, Police Brutality, Addiction/Substance abuse, Death/Loss of a loved one & Animal Cruelty.

I think I have found the book for the year with this gem!
Reading this book, we had a great range of magical elements, character building, family dynamic (both good & bad), some sci-fi and a kickass main character.
It also answered a question that has occurred to me a few times when I read books with magic families or curses  "Sometimes, the cost of magic isn't just a weight you bear, but one a whole family must bear together." this showed the effects on a family too.

All I will say is this has me hyped for the rest of the series!
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★★★★★ 5/5

|Triggers- Blood, Gore, loss of a loved one, slavery, hate crimes, memory loss, addiction, racism, torture|

❞𝘿𝙤𝙣❜𝙩 𝙛𝙚𝙚𝙡 𝙗𝙖𝙙 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙩𝙖𝙠𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙪𝙥 𝙨𝙥𝙖𝙘𝙚 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙗𝙤𝙙𝙮. 𝙋𝙚𝙤𝙥𝙡𝙚 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙖𝙡𝙬𝙖𝙮𝙨 𝙜𝙤𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙤 𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙘𝙚 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙩𝙤 𝙗𝙚 𝙨𝙢𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙤 𝙛𝙞𝙩 𝙬𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙮 𝙬𝙖𝙣𝙩.❞


Never have I ever read a book with this much diversity/ rep while being so fun and hilarious.

𝕊𝕦𝕞𝕞𝕒𝕣𝕪
Set in future Toronto, 16-year-old Voya Thomas is waiting to receive magic. But she needs to have a calling and a task for that to happen. When she has finally received her task in her calling, she is faced with an impossible decision. And it is to destroy her first true love. Destroying her first true love would mean killing them but Voya is not a murderer. And her grandmother has worked hard for purity in their family. But if Voya does not destroy her first love, her step-sister is at risk of dying and the Thomas family will lose all the magic in their bloodline.


ℙ𝕝𝕠𝕥
The plot was spectacular. I had so much fun and the pacing was excellent. Starting from the beginning the plot was executed perfectly. The more I think about it the more I love the way everything just fell into place and made complete and utter sense. This plot was so action-packed and hilarious. It kept me wanting to turn each page more and more. I actually couldn’t put this book down and I finished the last 60% in a matter of hours! /srs


𝕎𝕣𝕚𝕥𝕚𝕟𝕘
As much as I loved the book, the writing wasn’t my favorite. I appreciated the author's sensitive and tentative writing when it came to serious discussions. But for me, the writing was simply acceptable. /gen

❞𝗪𝗲 𝘀𝘂𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘄𝗲 𝘀𝘂𝗿𝘃𝗶𝘃𝗲.❞


ℂ𝕙𝕒𝕣𝕒𝕔𝕥𝕖𝕣𝕤 & 𝔻𝕪𝕟𝕒𝕞𝕚𝕔𝕤
I grew so attached to all the characters. There were such good dynamics and relationships. There were also so many diverse characters with so much representation and connection. I just love and adore all the characters’ personalities (excluding Simon).


𝕍𝕠𝕪𝕒
As the main character, I didn’t really feel so much for her. I just felt sympathetic for her and didn’t exactly like her circumstances but I sure did enjoy them! I usually feel some kind of weird connection with the main characters (whether like or dislike) because I’m in their head and seeing everything from their point of view. I didn’t feel that was Voya- whether it is because she annoyed me to some extent or I did not like what she chose at the very end. But her determination to help her family and the weight she has on her back were truly extraordinary. It took a while for Voya to understand what she wants and to understand and accept that not everything is about her family. But after that extraordinary journey, she made it to the end where she understands herself. So I loved the “finding yourself” part of this book. /lh


𝕃𝕦𝕔
I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve ever been so uncertain about a character in my whole life! I don’t know whether I like him or dislike him or even if I think he’d be good with Voya. I was just satisfied with his side of the ending which I can’t say because of spoilers.


𝕋𝕙𝕖 𝕋𝕙𝕠𝕞𝕒𝕤’𝕤
This family was so connected that you’d think they were one. Family is obviously a big part of the plot. Even with their flaws and cracks, this family is amazing and I’d take them for myself if the family wasn’t irreplaceable and unique ;) /j


𝕊𝕚𝕞𝕠𝕟
Umm. Cocky much. I don’t care if it’s in the name of science but you don’t have the right to do that.
So, the more we get into this book the clearer it is that Simon is the Villain and I absolutely hate him. He is not the kind of villain that some people would like (if you like him- do not speak to me). He had a good backstory for why and how he got to be that messed up, and I liked it. He is just awful and I can’t really say much more without giving away a spoiler so go ahead and read the book to find out why.

❞𝙄 𝙙𝙤𝙣❜𝙩 𝙠𝙣𝙤𝙬 𝙞𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙞𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙧𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙚𝙞𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧. 𝘽𝙪𝙩 𝙞𝙩 𝙙𝙤𝙚𝙨𝙣❜𝙩 𝙢𝙖𝙩𝙩𝙚𝙧.
𝙄𝙩 𝙞𝙨 𝙢𝙮 𝙘𝙝𝙤𝙞𝙘𝙚, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙄 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙢𝙖𝙠𝙚 𝙞𝙩.
𝙎𝙤 𝙄 𝙙𝙤.❞


𝔽𝕚𝕟𝕒𝕝 𝕋𝕙𝕠𝕦𝕘𝕙𝕥𝕤
I really loved this book and I can’t wait for the next book in this series. I feel as though this series has so much potential so fingers crossed the next book comes out soon and it’s much better than this one (although I don’t really know how that could be possible) 🤞


𝕆𝕧𝕖𝕣𝕒𝕝𝕝
Overall I recommend this book to all sci-fi fantasy lovers (check the triggers first) and I hope you end up picking this up because the boy was it worth it for me! As always I apologize if my review was offensive or disrespectful to you. And if so please let me know how I can fix that. Thank you for taking the time to read this review. /pc /lh


~Till Next Time!
📚 Ꮢҽαԃ σ⨍⨍ ɾҽαԃҽɾട! 📚


~A special thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for sending me this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Book’s Release Date: June 15
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This book takes you on a ride, and when you think you know how something is going to turn out , it turns a completely different way. 

Voya has a hard time with choices and the choices she is presented with surrounding her future, her magic, her family that would make any sure person doubt their own ability to choose. 

A mix of sci fin and urban fantasy , and some LGBT2Q+ rep
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You go into Blood Like Magic getting everything you’re promised, and more.

I cannot tell you how refreshing it was seeing Black girls in a science-fiction setting! I recommended this book to a friend and we really bonded over how amazing that representation of Black girls felt and how happy we were that Black teen girls are getting that representation.

Voya is one hell of a main character. She is so unsure of herself at the beginning of this book and as the story goes on we also understand that her family doesn’t have faith in her. So you bet that I enjoyed every single time Voya stood up for herself and started being proud of everything that she was. Because of that,  trust played a big part in the story. It was all about trusting yourself, your ancestors and your family. I loved that!! 
We also got the explore the culture and the witches’ ties with their ancestors and I just wish we could to that in real life. So many of us who had ancestors who were enslaved were robbed of having them pass down their culture and knowledge and this book was a great way of offering that alternative. Slavery is a triggering aspect for me but it was added in a necessary, important and interesting way and I really appreciated the way the author tied it all to the plot. 
I also loved the way Voya was connected to her roots through cooking and baking. It was so wholesome that she had this hobby she was passionate about.

Voya’s family played such an important part in the book. Her family was chaotic, had many secrets and rules but the most important thing is that they loved each other. It was so interesting to see how everyone showed their love in their own way. All of the family members were fleshed out and had their quirks and I loved that. Whenever one of them spoke it felt very authentic and in tune to who they were and I loved their whole dynamic.

I was very intrigued by the whole magic system and how focused it was on blood and intent. The whole drama with "pure" and "impure" witches was so clever and  I can’t wait to see that aspect explored more in the second book.

The plot was also an interesting part of the story, especially the big task!! Yes! Give me all the trials and competitions, thank you! I was LIVING for the task. I thought having Voya “forcing” herself to fall in love would take the joy out of  the romance but it was the contrary!! I loved seeing her being insistant and winning Luke over. It was nice seeing them appreciating each other’s presence as we got further into the book. I was giddy and happy whenever there was the romance on the page but I  also liked how it wasn’t the center of the story and it wasn’t linked to Voya’s worth. With the task being “destroying your first love” it could have been easy for the author to fall into the trap of making the story about the romance (which is also fine!!) but I liked how it was more on the background and how it added something to Voya’s character rather than centering her whole being on that. 

I also briefly talked about how much the representation meant to me in the book but there are also two transgender characters and a demiromantic lesbian character and I LOVED THAT. It’s my first time reading about a demiromantic character and I loved how simply it was written and explained. 
I went into this book with high expectations and I am happy to say that the book lived up to all of them!
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There is so much to love about this book that it is hard to know where to begin!

Set in Canada, Blood Like Magic follows a young black witch named Voya who upon her first bleeding goes on to receive a task from one of her ancestors in order to be gifted with a power and join the rest of her family as a witch. Up until a witches bleeding time they have no magic whatsoever and blood plays a vital role in the ability to cast spells upon becoming a witch and I found this incredibly unique and interesting! As someone who has read a heck of a lot of witchy books it is always nice when you get to read a new spin on something that has been told many times before.

As well as the unique magical system the author managed to integrate a science-fiction theme and created a world not only filled with magic but also with futuristic technology… now you might be thinking “witches and technology? What?!” You know what? It really worked!

Something else that really worked for me was Voya as a protagonist. Voya is extremely relatable, she is flawed and often worries that she is not good enough. She struggles to make decisions and cares deeply for her family, everything she does is for them. Yes, she makes mistakes and yes her family is messy, dysfunctional and a bit crazy but I absolutely loved them all!

The representation in the book was brilliantly done and didn’t feel over the top.

The pacing was fast and there was absolutely no point during the book where I felt lost or bored or anything. I was just eager to keep reading and find out what happened because the atmosphere and tension throughout was absolutely top notch.

From start to finish this was like nothing I have ever read before and has left me desperately awaiting the next book!
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Blood Like Magic was such a good read! I really loved the writing and all of the Toronto references that only people who live or frequent Toronto would know. I loved that there was a lot of LGBTQ+ representation in this novel, including wlw, Demiromantic and transgender characters. I love the whole idea that you have to prove you can do something to have magic and the amount of importance placed on family and being true to yourself in this book. Such a good read, can’t wait til book two!
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This was an amazing read.  It had me laughing right off the bat.  First meeting Voya and her family had me smiling and feeling the incredible love and strength they all have.  But it’s not all smiles and laughs.  This book covers such impactful and difficult topics and Sambury did an amazing job handling them.  There were numerous moments where I cried in this book because of the heartache this family and community go through.  It was interesting to read the future that Sambury imagined.  I saw many paralells to events and products in today’s world that still happened in this book’s past. It was interesting to see jus thow Sambury had those events and products affect our future. I felt an extra connection to this book because it happens close to home.  I could picture this future world because I live so close to Toronto and have been to some of the locations in this book.  Sambury did a great job describing the atmosphere of the city.

I loved all the characters in this book, even the “villains”.  I loved that this future is queer-normative.  Sambury included so much representation, both queer and BIPOC, which was beautiful to see. I loved seeing that anyone who identified as a transgender was able to elect for an implant that would release the hormones associated with the gender they identify with – this is done without any stigmatization!

Sambury’s writng was well done and binge-worthy. Despite the futuristic setting, there was not point where anything felt unrealistic (nor were the made up words/tech that left the reader feeling isolated). I felt the story was interesting and kept me going. I had to know more: more about the magic, the family, the tech. Some I got answers to, others I still crave more. I balled, and I mean balled my eyes out, for the ending of this books. Character’s actions had consequences that felt meaningful and impactful – not getting easily fixed or brushed off.

I really can’t gush enough about this book; however, if I gush too much I will start to spoil it. Needless to say, I highly recommend this book. I suggest it to anyone who enjoys magic in an urban setting, wants a touch of scifi (future setting & advanced technology), and wants to see a world where the LGBTQIA+ community is accepted and not questioned.
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Blood Like Magic was such an interesting book. I loved the storyline and the characters. This book has a strong theme of family and the lengths people will go to for their family, which I enjoyed reading about.

‘Maybe falling in love with him won’t be as impossible as I thought.’

The setting and world building of Blood Like Magic was very intriguing, as it’s set in future Toronto around the 2040s I believe, and this plays a part in the way racism is discussed. Voya meets her ancestor as part of her calling and sees the brutality of slavery. I loved the way the author discussed how racism was better in the future, but there were still many issues that need working on. Whilst this was primarily a fantasy book, the issue of racism is dealt with perfectly.

‘No one’s future is set in stone. No one gets that guarantee.’

I adore books about witches and this was no different. As it was futuristic, this book felt like it had a unique story. Whilst romance is a part of this, and it is a kind of enemies to lovers trope, it does not overshadow the storyline of the main character finding who she is meant to be. When I first read the synopsis, I knew I had to read it. It sounds so intriguing and it was. As part of her Calling, which she has to undergo to become a witch, Voya has to find her first love and destroy it. The only issue is that Voya has never been in love, so when she gets the opportunity to be part of a BETA testing of a genetic matching system, she grasps at it and starts to get to know her reluctant match. The synopsis of this story sounds straightforward, but there were many twists and turns that had me unable to put the book down.

If you love fantasy with a bit of romance, then this is the book for you!
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Blood Like Magic</i> is a slow-burn coming-of-age witch story that is deeply engrossing.</b> Rooted in black history, with a futuristic setting, it’s the perfect book to pick up. It was too slow, but I was satisfied with how it all ended. There so much this book focuses on— family, love, cousins, sacrifices,etc., that shaped the plot of this novel. Highly recommend it, especially to those who like reading books on witches. Definitely an original. I was satisfied with the story and hope that you pick it up someday. 

Thanks to the author, publisher, and TBR and Beyond Tours for sending me an eARC
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This book was incredible. I am at a loss for words. Nothing I say will do this justice.

It’s unique. It’s dark. It’s sad. It’s about choices. And family. And love—platonic and romantic. 

It kept me on the edge of my seat, especially the last bit. I’m just a lot of emotions. 

Urban fantasy, but Black magic. Toronto setting but set in the future. We have a huge messy family. A rich history and magic system. A grumpy love interest with probably the best romance I’ve read in a while. (Totally reminded me of Harry and Caelum from The Rigel Black Chronicles fanfic.)

It’s just so good. Honestly if it weren’t for life right now, I would have read this book in a week. 4.5/5 stars
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This is probably the best book NetGalley has ever made me discover! I loved, loved, loved the characters and I thought the story and setting were super unique and interesting. The diversity of the cast and the cultures I got to learn about (both real and fictional) were simply chef's kiss. I liked how different it was from any urban fantasy I've read before. Also, the way LGBTQ+ were accepted in this version of the future simply warmed my heart. I would be happy to recommend it to a friend!
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