by Terry J. Benton-Walker
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Pub Date 04 Apr 2023 | Archive Date 04 Apr 2023
Macmillan-Tor/Forge, Tor Teen
GODS MEDDLE AND MAGIC WILL BETRAY YOU, BUT THIS TIME JUSTICE WILL REIGN.
Terry J. Benton-Walker's contemporary fantasy debut, Blood Debts, is "an extravaganza from start to finish" (Chloe Gong) with powerful magical families, intergenerational curses, and deadly drama in New Orleans.
Thirty years ago, a young woman was murdered, a family was lynched, and New Orleans saw the greatest magical massacre in its history. In the days that followed, a throne was stolen from a queen.
On the anniversary of these brutal events, Clement and Cristina Trudeau—the sixteen-year-old twin heirs to the powerful, magical, dethroned family—are mourning their father and caring for their sick mother. Until, by chance, they discover their mother isn’t sick—she’s cursed. Cursed by someone on the very magic council their family used to rule. Someone who will come for them next.
Cristina, once a talented and dedicated practitioner of Generational magic, has given up magic for good. An ancient spell is what killed their father and she was the one who cast it. For Clement, magic is his lifeline. A distraction from his anger and pain. Even better than the random guys he hooks up with.
Cristina and Clement used to be each other’s most trusted confidant and friend, now they barely speak. But if they have any hope of discovering who is coming after their family, they’ll have to find a way to trust each other and their family's magic, all while solving the decades-old murder that sparked the still-rising tensions between the city’s magical and non-magical communities. And if they don't succeed, New Orleans may see another massacre. Or worse.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 84 members
Thanks to Tor Teen and Netgalley for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
I actually had no plans to pick Blood Debts up, and I didn't even know it was a book until I saw it while I was surfing what fun new titles Netgalley had to offer me, and boy am I glad I read it!
I had a great time with Cris and Clem and their quest to take back their family's rightful place in the New Orleans magical community after a lynch mob killed their grandparents 30 years prior to the events of the novel. The character arcs were compelling and I especially enjoyed Cristina's, with her refusal to use magic due to it killing her father. The story itself started off a little slow for my tastes, and I wish the atmosphere and setting had been described a bit more, but the queer representation from Clem and a some of the other side characters was awesome, and I loved the bits of romance scattered in between the search for the truth of what happened to the twins' grandparents. The magic was fun to read about, with the inspiration of voodoo magic taking a part in how it was portrayed, and I found the curses and spells very interesting in what they allowed characters to do, and how magic as a system is tied to heritage and ancestry as an important detail.
This was a solidly enjoyable teen read, and one that I will for sure be recommending to any fans of YA fantasy!
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