Cover Image: Blood Debts

Blood Debts

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Member Reviews

SPOILER. 3:5 stars. i loved the magic in this book, the encouraging of family bonding and justice being served but there were a lot of filler chapters that i felt weren’t necessary. and the ending had a lot of loose ends, clearly there will be a sequel, but it seemed that some things didn’t quite make sense at the end. i liked how the story was told but instead of all the filler info i think it could’ve been used for a more concise ending! i would still recommend though :)
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I had very high hopes for this book. Truly, how can you go wrong with ancestral magic, a witch battle royale and a family with SO many secrets. Unfortunately this book just didn’t do it for me. The pace was slow, I wasn’t a fan of any of the narrators and honestly the portrayal of women in the novel wasn’t great. Considering women are the root of this novel I think a bit more could have been done to give us fleshed out characters. This book was a DNF for me and I will not be continuing the series.
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This is a book I couldn't not pick up because wow, that cover is beautiful! And the contents did not disappoint. This was a story that was weaved together in such a beautiful way that I'm still reeling from everything that happened, the conclusions, but also the non-conclusions. The happiness but also the trepidation of what will come next.
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This was an epic read!

I currently cannot put into words what I’m feeling, but I’ve just finished reading this book and I am astounded.

I may say more in my YouTube video or on Bookstagram, but this is all for now.
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Love the bond between the twins and the discussion of racism and culture within the book. Was pleasantly surprised at the LGBT presence and the way it was written. The practice and treatment of voodoo as a religious practice was well written as well.A great debut book.
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2/5

I loved the synopsis of this book and think it had a lot of potential, but unfortunately it fell very flat for me. I think if some changes were made and this had been marketed as a middle grade book, I would definitely give it a higher rating. However, it really didn’t have the level of complexity and emotional depth I expect as a baseline for YA books. 

Cons:
This book is “complex” in the sense that there are a lot of characters that are confusing to keep track of, but the plot it self is overly simplistic. There were no big plot twists or revelations that I normally expect from YA, but led this book to be pretty predictable and dull.

Pros:
I enjoyed the magic system and wish it was given more emphasis. The two MCs were likeable and I enjoyed that this book was centered around a sibling relationship rather than a romantic relationship. 

Overall, I wouldn’t really recommend this book. I think there were a lot of good ideas (maybe too many at once), but the execution was not great and the plot was too complicated for a relatively straightforward story.
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Many thanks to NetGalley and Tor for a copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! I was taken with Blood Debts from the very first page. The world that Benton-Walker creates is familiar and new all at once-- New Orleans always seems to have an electric undercurrent, and Benton-Walker's Generational Magic makes the world jump off the page. Clem, Cris, their friends, and their enemies feel real, and I felt myself hanging on for every next word, and rooting for our protagonists at every step. Dialogue sometimes feels heavy and I occasionally felt unsure about magical rules or conventions, but it did not take away from my enjoyment.  This was an engaging and intriguing debut, and I cannot wait to see what comes next from Benton-Walker!
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Someone should really turn this into a television series because it would be excellent for that. Blood Debts is the start of a new YA fantasy series set in a magical version of New Orleans. It is a high-drama narrative filled with magic, intergenerational curses, political machinations, and deadly threats.

While there are several perspective characters, the main focus is on Black twins Clement and Christina Trudeau who are grieving the death of their father, dealing with hexes, and trying to manage their own love lives and exploring sexuality. Clem has been unlucky in love, but now there's a new boy he's crushing on and things seem promising. Christina is dating a white boy, but sometimes he seems too interested in her magic.

There is a lot of drama, many twists and turns that I won't spoil, but this is a very strong debut and a promising start to a series. I could easily see this being adapted by Netflix or the CW and it could be a hit. There were a could minor things that didn't totally make sense, and I think it might have been stronger with fewer perspectives, but overall I really liked this and wouldn't be surprised if a lot of other people do as well. Note that it is on the more mature side of YA due to things like violence and sexuality. The audio narration is done with a full cast and is excellent. I received an audio review copy of this via NetGalley, all opinions are my own.
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This book has all the earmarks of a great story.. a family steeped in tragedy, rich culture, a regional setting that always draws my attention, and plenty of societal intrigue. Well-written and moderately-paced, it moves well without leaving the reader behind.

Cris and Clem, the twins at the forefront of the Trudeau family, are both likable, easily relatable characters. Though they have strongly differing opinions at times and tend to bicker like only a brother and sister can, it's easy to see the bond between them. Their priorities align. Family comes first.

Both of the siblings have something they're struggling with and I found them to be sympathetic, but never weak. 

The magic system is well thought out, inspired obviously by known ritual magics, but presented in an interesting way. Generational magic is a gift, not a guarantee by birthright. Not everyone can conjure and certainly not as strongly as everyone else, which leaves for some very vengeful rivalries.

The familial warmth is honestly my favorite part of the story. I had really hoped for more of that New Orleans feel, but what little ambience of the fabled city existed.. was a little late to the party for me and not a frequent enough visitor. Though it resulted in me being less immersed and invested, it was still enjoyable.
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While I appreciate the opportunity to read this, unfortunately it's going to be a DNF for me. I can't seem to get past the 20% mark.
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Thirty years ago, a woman was murdered and a family was lynched. New Orleans saw the worst magical massacre in it’s history.

Clement and Cristina are mourning their father and caring for their sick mother. Until they realized their mother isn’t just sick, she was cursed. Now they are on the hunt to figure out who cursed their mother and what killed their father before New Orleans sees yet another massacre.

I really enjoyed the setting of this book. I love any book set in New Orleans and has magic. The characters were good. Some of them I couldn’t stand but overall, I really liked them. We do get the read from multiple POV’s which made the book even more interesting. Honestly, I have nothing negative to say about this book. I enjoyed my time reading it!

If you love books set in New Orleans, dark magic and a murder mystery, I highly recommend picking this one up on April 4th!

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Tor Teen for the e-arc!
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a lovely read that I wasn't expecting to enjoy as much as I did, would deffo recommend to people who love SJM!
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Blood Debts is atmospheric with great characters and an intriguing mystery that'll make you want to keep reading way past your bedtime. Even though it's a contemporary YA novel I think it's also a great choice for adults who love the genre because it's beautifully written and while it's entertaining it also deals with more adult themes and social issues that make the story richer and more meaningful. 

* Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced copy. =)
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"'What is a blood debt?' 'Blood for blood.'"

Genre: Young adult fantasy 

Writing: 4.5/5
Pace: 5/5
Plot: 4.5/5
Character: 4/5
Enjoyability: 5/5
Ending: 5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

This book was so much fun to read. The writing flowed from character to character so well that every time you'd switch, it was seamless. I loved how even though Clem and Cris were twins, they were written alike but not the same. It showed how they were truly different people yet raised by the same parents and experienced similar things in their lives. I also loved how the Savant family got chapters and how different they writing style changed to show how they are different in not just the family life but also how they view magic.

Clem and Cris both faced obstacles in a short amount of time that showed by the end. Cris was more of the focal character in this book. Her journey with magic and power and love was absolutely perfect. And I loved that Clem, even though he wasn't the main protagonist of this story, we really did get to see him in a light similar to Cris and understand that he was starting his own journey while supporting his twin.

Overall, the layout and fast pace of this book kept me captivated from start to finish. The mystery that Cris focused on to bring her back to magic while Clem was healing from past trauma was paced appropriately. The only criticism I have is about Oz. I wish we got more of a story from him, why he did what he did. 

I loved the ending, and I truly hope in the next book we get more Valentina and Clem and they both get to heal and finish their journeys. I also hope that Jean-Louise and Ursula get their 'happily ever after' cause I loved these two characters.

Thank you so much to Macmillan Publishers for giving me an ARC of this book
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Blood Debts by Terry J. Benton-Walker sounded like it was going to be right up my alley and the concept is fantastic. Unfortunately, it never quite worked out for me. I know that this is a contemporary YA fantasy novel, but I had to constantly remind myself that it wasn't a historical fantasy. I mean, sometimes I'd forget and find myself surprised by something simple. I don't know if this was just me, or not.
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Loved this read! Cris's and Clem's arcs were wonderful to get immersed into, and the multi-POV narration from them (as well as the handful of side characters) was accessible and entertaining. I thought the ending might have benefited from slightly different pacing, as it felt a bit rushed and undercut the reveal with Clem's decision a bit. But regardless, super excited for the sequel that Terry is working on (according to his social)!
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I love the magical aspect of this story and how it blends the mystery of magic practiced by Black people. I also feel like the story had very compelling characters you wanted to root for. I also love the way family history is interwoven into the plot! My only critique it is boggled down by the writing in my opinion. I really struggled to get into the story because it teetered on the beam for its target audience.
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Cristina & Clem Trudeau are pure magic, pure Gen magic. As the youngest heirs to an usurped magical throne they are dealing with a lot. Among the other tragic events that have been circling these twins lives, they discover their mother has been cursed. This takes us down an intense rabbit hole on discovering who has it out for the Trudeau family? And it seems that answer lies in the past. 

There's a special place in my heart for books that are set in Nola. Benton-Walker described the streets of Nola perfectly and I could see the characters walking in Jackson Square, by St. Louis Cathedral, etc. I love the world building Benton-Walker created along with the Pantheon, I'm dying to know more about Generational Magic and all things related to it. I especially love when authors write the Gods in as characters and can we talk about that art show?! How do I get a ticket to go see it for myself?! 

Thank you Netgalley for giving me this ARC, I'll be on the lookout for the next installment!
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Blood Debts is an ambitious debut that exceeded my expectations. I didn't want into this book expecting to be as blown away as I was, much less to experience one of the most well-written debuts I've ever read.

This book has a lot to accomplish as the first part of a planned series, especially as a book that feels like high fantasy in a contemporary setting (al la Game of Thrones) -- and I think it does so expertly while doing the unexpected. We have more than just one or even two POVs, but the characters are so distinct that it's easy to tell the characters apart. We see a shift from first to third person with some POVs, but it makes sense and fits with the narrative being told to us -- this is Clem and Cris's story, so it only makes sense for us to see it from their POV. In other books where this might be jarring, it felt natural to me, while expanding the book's world. 

I thought the prose was enjoyable and very well-written. I wish I could quote particular lines because there were some EXTRA fantastic ones that made my heart just filled with emotion. There were just *little* details that if you were paying attention, gave hints about later parts of the book -- and I'd guess later events to come in future books. Additionally, the teens SOUND like teens, they're messy like teens. I found these characters, the teens, in particular, extremely relatable despite the fact that I'm not even a teenager (nor am I a person of color -- I am queer though). Blood Debts brings some great, well-developed, Black characters (some who are also queer, neurodivergent, etc) to the table while creating a world with magic similar to our own -- in both our world's negatives and positives. 

This debut is something really special and I feel in my gut that Terry Benton Walker is an author to look out for. I know I can't wait for the next books in this series. I really hope this series blows up and finds its audience. Wake me up when book two is out please, I'd rather hibernate until then.
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loved the book, would definitely hand-sell and want to get copies into the bookstore that i work at. unfortunately it took me a little while to properly get into the book, which was annoying but once i started i was hooked and wanted to finish it as fast as possible. it was the type of book that i couldn't put down. just because it took me some time, i rated it 4 stars, but otherwise the book was amazing.
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