Cover Image: Blood Debts

Blood Debts

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Member Reviews

Incredible! This was gripping from beginning to end with a greatly developed back story for the twins. It’s definitely going to be in every single YA list for the next few years! I’m a big fan!
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Generally not a fan of fantasy, Blood Debts caught and kept my attention immediately. Magic almost took a back seat to the characterization of Clement and Cristina, the entire Trudeau family, and all of the secondary characters and antagonists. The cliff hanger left me craving a sequel.
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This was everything I need to see more of in YA right now. Full of unexpected twist and turns, with a refreshing lead, honestly what is not to love. I loved the family secrets, and how each chapter kept me guessing till the end.
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Terry J. Benton Walker's captivating masterwork "Blood Debts" deftly crafts a sinister and entrancing tapestry of magic, intrigue, and family drama. The story's colorful and rich New Orleans setting gives the already compelling storyline further dimension. The travels of the Trudeau twins, Clement and Cristina, are replete with suffering, self-discovery, and sacrifice. They are two multifaceted, realistic people.

With the ideal amount of tension and intensity, the author's writing style is nothing short of enthralling and keeps you turning pages. The complex plot of the book is a real page-turner, full of family secrets, decades-old murder, and ancient curses. The brothers' development and metamorphosis are exquisitely shown as they negotiate the perilous waters of magic and familial allegiance.

The term "blood debts"
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I loved the magic and storyline so much I purchased a finished copy for myself and family members! 
I'm definitely interested in other Terry Walker future works.
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4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars!!  Clem and Cris are twins born into magic.  Their father was killed and their mom is sick and they’re not sure what’s wrong with her.  Cris thinks she’s the reason why her father died so she doesn’t want to use any magic to figure out what’s wrong with her or heal her. Chris finds a hex doll under their mother’s  mattress and once he removes it, their mother starts feeling better.  The twins realize that someone is trying to kill their mother. 
This starts the journey of them learning more about their history, and why their mother is not in power as the Queen, and what happened to their grandparents. We also learned more about Cris, Clem and their family. This was a great book and I highly recommend it.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me access to the free advanced digital copy of this book.
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This book is beautifully written and exquisitely plotted.

I have also tried to get into it like six times and every time, I make it between 10-15% in before giving up. I'm just going to accept that while I love the concept, and the plot seems fascinating, something about this series is not working for me. 

Hopefully this struggle to finish the book is just about my shifting tastes in fantasy novels. :)
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3.5 stars rounded up. 
This is a rare instance where my feelings towards a book actually improved a bit with time. While reading Blood Debts, I struggled a bit with the high-drama aspect of the story, not because of the focus on family feuds and magical rivalries, but because the adults were acting out worse than the younger characters. While I don't expect every adult character to always behave thoughtfully and intentionally, I had a hard time being on board with some of the rash decisions that were made in the name of holding a grudge. 
But after finishing the novel, I just keep thinking about it. My long-term memory holds this book as fast-paced and fun, and I am interested in how the ending cliffhanger is explored in future books. I liked how the magic was explored in this contemporary setting, and I liked how the sibling dynamic evolved in the story. I wouldn't rush out to buy the sequel, but I will definitely keep my ears open for reviews from folks who enjoyed the first book.
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Thanks to the publishers at Tor Teen for a chance to read “Blood Debts” by Terry J. Benton-Walker.  

A thoughtfully woven family drama with at least three different kinds of magic, political plotting, and a murder mystery all rolled into one plus some coming of age, ancestor work, blossoming romances with two black teenage twins as our protagonists. 

If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. This book is nothing if not ambitious, and honestly? I’m here for it. At Blood Debts’ best, it’s intriguing, keeps you reaching for the next page, and invites you into an alternate world where the ancestors’ power becomes literal in the form of Gen magic. What’s most refreshing about “Blood Debts” is the way it dives head first into racial politics, and truly allows its protagonists the full range of their feelings including but not limited to anxiety, depression, grief, and rage without ever reducing them to caricatures. In particular, this book is an ode to anger and the way anger - an often maligned emotion in even in the most progressive of social justice circles -  is often the key towards progress. 

While “Blood Debts” is trying to set up sequel novels, I did sometimes get overwhelmed by the number of loose plot threads and multiple character POVs that left me more confused than intrigued. Did there need to be a love dodecahedron between some of the adults, including the birth of a secret love child? How is the narrative is served by having Valentina or Zack as additional narrators, especially when their chapters come in critical moments of the book at the expense of the story’s momentum? 

“Blood Debts” tries to balance all of these genre bending tropes, big ideas, and multiple perspectives in a single volume but is not necessarily always successful. Regardless, it was such a great read and I can’t wait for the sequels.
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Closer to 4.5 stars but I rounded down due to just some parts of the book, mostly the first fifth, feeling a little slow for me to really get into. This was one I wasn't sure what to expect but had seen circling around on social media every once in a while. Once it picked up, I had so much fun reading it and found myself not really putting it down for a break. Will definitely pick up the next book and looking forward to more!
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I applaud the author's attempt at creating fleshed out characters but ultimately, this was not enough to captivate me throughout the story. The premise was interesting and I am still looking forward to what this author writes in the future.
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3/5 stars!

Okay, this book. I liked it but I didn’t like it. I’m conflicted. While there were great aspects to the story line, the ancestral witch history & there were some I was not so fond of, the vert explicit sex scenes for a YA book… This book is borderline NA genre. I’m not sure who on the editing team thought yah this is appropriate for teens to read…. But maybe that’s just me?

Pros to this book were the multiple perspectives which for me are a huge plus. I like when you get more than one view of the story especially between the main character Cristina and her antagonist Valentina. Also, her twin brother Clements perspective. I love a New Orleans witch setting. Lots of dramaaa! I enjoyed the addition of the twist of solving a 30 year mystery. Also, the cover is gorgggggg!

Cons….. Well, there were just a lot of random things happening in this book that weren’t necessarily related to one another… I wish that the use of magic was well more magical, felt taboo and boring. The themes in the story weren’t explored enough such as racism, anxiety, depression, drug use and loss. And again, as I mentioned the overly explicit sex scenes…

I think this book had a lot of potential to be over the top great, but it just missed the mark for me. I think if you’re someone who loves drama and mystery with a tie in of magic and family history then I think this book would be a perfect fit for you. 

Thank you net galley for this advanced E-Arc for an honest review!
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I really couldn't get into this book. I had to stop at about 35%. I loved the concept, the setting and the potential of the story but the characters just could not keep me hooked. Very sad because I wanted to love this book.
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"Thrones, Curses, and Secrets" immerses readers in a gripping tale of magic, family, and dark mysteries. The story's intricate web of a brutal past, a cursed mother, and a looming threat keeps you hooked from the start. Clement and Cristina Trudeau's complex sibling dynamic adds depth to the narrative, and their journey to uncover the truth is both thrilling and emotionally charged.

The blend of magic, family secrets, and a decades-old murder mystery creates an engrossing atmosphere. As the twins navigate their own relationship and the tensions within New Orleans, you'll find yourself eagerly turning pages to uncover the truth and prevent another catastrophe. A compelling read that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
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This story full of family, love, justice, and magic was a fantastic read. I really enjoyed following Clem and Chris as they solve a 30 year mystery. My only drawback was I felt there was too many POV’s and it was hard at times to keep all of the details straight. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Tor Publishing Group for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This fast paced narrative is remarkable, featuring compelling characters, intricate family interactions, and enchanting mystery. The family dynamics were so fresh and relatable and something that I find can be sorely lacking in fantasy fiction.  You'll find yourself swiftly turning each page!
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10 out of 10 would recommend! This had everything I was looking for and got me out of the reading slump I was in!
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I picked this book because of the Beautiful cover, New Orleans and Magic and  I found myself being mesmerized by the story, it's thought-provoking and poignant in ways I wouldn't normally expect from a YA novel, and was oh so surprised by how truly wonderful the story was. 

Now I will say there are some pretty tough topics dealt with in this one, mental health being one of them, and each topic was met with dignity and respect which I loved.               
Clem and Christina have one heck of a journey if they're going to reclaim what was taken from them and I for one will be looking forward to the next book to see where this story goes, who ends up where, and honestly who ends up with who, I have some seriously wicked thoughts going through my head after finishing this one. 

Thank you to Tor Group, Macmillan-Tor, and NetGalley for providing a copy of this e-book, I have voluntarily read and reviewed it and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I want to thank NetGalley and Tor for the eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

TW: racism, murder, lynching, mental health issues, sex trafficking (briefly), sexual assault, manipulation through magic, death of parents, mentions of drug use/overdosing (including underage use), mentions of bullying. 

I’m really disappointed that I didn’t enjoy this book more but there were just so many things that pulled me out of the story. 

One of the biggest things was just how many plot threads and POVs the book had. There ended up being six different POVs that the reader gets, the majority of which are from the main characters: magical twins Cristina and Clement. There’s Cristina’s ex-best friend Valentina, Clement’s bully Zachary, Valentina’s grandmother Lenora and a secondary character Jean-Louise. 

Plot points consisted of: the death of Cris and Clem’s grandparents, their father’s death the year before, why all their aunts moved out of their house and no longer speak to their mother, unrest within the magical hierarchy that exists, what happened to a girl who disappeared not too long ago, and what happened to a young man who died several years before. There’s also the fracturing of Cris and Valentina’s friendship, both Cris and Clem’s romantic relationships, and their mother’s failing health. 

Individually or even in small number, these plot points are all strong but with so many of them being told and figured out at the same time, the story got very overwhelming, with some plot points doing better than others. There were several that really could have been left out and the story would probably have been stronger for it. 

It was also frustrating that neither of the main characters were particularly enjoyable to read through. 

Cris in particular is quite nasty to Clem, especially in regards to his romantic relationships and makes several comments (both out loud and to herself) about how gross she finds her brother’s “honeymoon” phase with his new boyfriend, etc. Additionally, Cris very much has the attitude that if it doesn’t include her in some way or she doesn’t know about it, then it can’t be that important. Towards the end of the book, she mentions being worried about Clem to her mother, who tells Cris that she’s been talking to Clem and trusts he’s going to be alright. Instead of being relieved, Cris is upset that Clem hasn’t talked to her, despite the fact that she spent the last year pulling away from her family and also didn’t reach out and confide in him. 

Clem, for his part, is quite rash and makes multiple fairly large decisions without thinking through any of the consequences of what could happen, including a very large one at the end, despite having seen what the consequences of that action are earlier on. 

It also seems quite hard to believe that a family that is as close as this one is wouldn’t share or talk more about the grandparents and how they died, what happened, etc. Cris makes a comment about halfway through that she should have taken the time to learn more about her grandmother and she shouldn’t have let rumours dictate her opinion of the woman. Considering how much pride the family has in their work and abilities, it seems odd that Cris’s mother wouldn’t talk about her mother or try and correct any misinformation that there might be. 

Again: the ideas in this book are all really interesting but I do think as a whole the book suffered under the weight of too many plot points and too many POVs.
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