Title: Blood Debts
Author: Terry J. Benton-Walker
Pub. Date: April 4th 2023
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
Publisher: Tor Teen
GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON | LIBROFM
☆☆ARC PROVIDED BY PUBLISHER IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW☆☆
New Orleans is where this story begins, the city is rife with tension between the magical and non-magical communities. We follow 16 year old twins Christina and Clementine in dual POV as they learn of their family’s painful history. Thirty years ago their grandmother was accused of murder, removed from the throne as queen and lynched alongside her husband, the twins grandfather. Flash forward to present day where Chris and Clem have recently lost their father leaving them to look after their sick mother. Or so they thought. When a voodoo doll is found under their mother’s bed, they realize they’re the target of the same magical council who dethroned their grandmother and a war for the throne is on the horizon. Told in dual POV this is a YA Fantasy centered around the Trudeau family and their generational magic. There are some mystery elements that play into the overall arc as we see Christina search for answers to her family’s tragic past and present day. Who is trying to kill their mother? did a spell Christina cast indirectly cause their father’s death? will Christina ever practice magic again? will the crown ever return to its rightful heir in the Trudeau family?
What I Loved? the strong presence of the twins elders, grief explored, necromancy, queer main character and side characters, and last but not least Clementine’s POV. I absolutely LOVED being in Clem’s mind who is loving, hopeful and has a strong desire to unite his family and help them get past their differences. This is a spoiler free review so I won’t go into detail but Clem’s story line definitely broke my heart and got me to shed some tears. It’s why I am absolutely picking up the follow-up Blood justice next Spring 2024.
What I wanted? More of the city/setting, it’s New Orleans only because it’s stated but it’s not really shown. More of their mother’s POV, after all she is the rightful heir to the throne, lastly a slightly less morose Chris. She’s a force to be reckoned with and her powers are hinted at having the potential to be huge but she lives in perpetual guilt until about the last 10% of the book. That being said, I have a ton of respect for Christina who has her boundaries set firmly in place. Non-consent is discussed when magic is used for a love spell, seeing Chris firmly oppose this was one of those moments that stand-out and give you insight to her character. We also get introduced to a few side characters, some like the necromancer are very interesting. I’d love to see them explored more in the next book, especially because it was giving Frankenstein vibes and that is one my all time favorite classics. Given that the last 20% of the book was fast paced, violent and bloody…I predict Blood Justice will be delivered swiftly and mercilessly. High hopes from this Book Lover 🤞🏽
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