Fun fact: guzzling coffee at 10pm might result in one’s brain going on hamster wheel of death mode.
I can’t tell if all my thoughts are now lightning speed, or if I’m wading though murky mind waters at -300 mph. But the coffee is most certainly buzzing. Like a gaggle of bees. Is it gaggle? Wait. According to the Googler, it’s actually called a “group.” But that’s lame, so I’m going with gaggle. But yeah, buzzing. Don’t know if that is good or bad. Hopefully good because I have words to write and places to be. And by places I mean here. On the internet.
You know what? I’m going to swiftly exit the hamster wheel of death that my brain is currently on and shut up. Let’s get back to what I actually want to talk about today. An arc! yay!
PLEASE NOTE: I received an advance copy of this book via Netgalley and Simon and Schuster exchange for an honest review! This in no way effects my review!!
Book: Blood Like Magic
Author: Liselle Sambury
Published June 15th 2021 by Margaret K. McElderry
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
After years of waiting for her Calling—a trial every witch must pass in order to come into their powers—the one thing Voya Thomas didn’t expect was to fail. When Voya’s ancestor gives her an unprecedented second chance to complete her Calling, she agrees—and then is horrified when her task is to kill her first love. And this time, failure means every Thomas witch will be stripped of their magic.
Voya is determined to save her family’s magic no matter the cost. The problem is, Voya has never been in love, so for her to succeed, she’ll first have to find the perfect guy—and fast. Fortunately, a genetic matchmaking program has just hit the market. Her plan is to join the program, fall in love, and complete her task before the deadline. What she doesn’t count on is being paired with the infuriating Luc—how can she fall in love with a guy who seemingly wants nothing to do with her?
With mounting pressure from her family, Voya is caught between her morality and her duty to her bloodline. If she wants to save their heritage and Luc, she’ll have to find something her ancestor wants more than blood. And in witchcraft, blood is everything. (from Goodreads)
Ok so this book sounded super cool. Didn’t really know much about it other than witches. But witches are part of the holy trifecta of fantasy (pirates, witches, dragons) and I was click-happy as a Netgalley newbie. Low and behold, I got approved. Thus began my journey with this book.
I feel like I should preface my review by saying I am majorly in a contempaory mood. During the summer I go back to my reading roots and bask in the joy of romance and contemporary. With the occational tear jerker in there. Basically my mind is off surfing in contemporary-landia (because obviouly there is a beach there) and I’m not really in a fantasy mode. But the arc gods bestowed this book upon me so I read it.
Cool. Now that we have that bit out of the way, let’s get down to the bookish deets.
What place is better to start than the beginning??? I could have done without the first fifty pages or so of the book. It was one of those not so fun situations where the blurb of the book totally screwed me over. I mean, the very summary of the book says that Voya has to kill her first love. Yet this revelation doesn’t come into play until page 125ish. Pacing where??
To make matters worse, those pages are just filled with a bit of infodumping, some worldbuilding, and a boatload of indecision. It made the book feel longer than it was and made the beginning feel really slow. Combine the slow start and my ehhhh mood towards fantasy, and you get a recipe for disaster. Wellll disaster might actually be a strong word, because it did get better once we found out Voya’s task is to destroy her first love.
The writing was a major contributor to the picking up of things. To put it simply, it flowed really well. The dialogue is snarky and it’s really easy to fall into the rhythm of the book. Once we got to the heart of the story, it kept things moving. In the realm of fantasy, the writing definitely felt on the lighter side.
The plot felt a bit undercooked to me. The world and the magic were much more developed, but the plot itself left a bit to be desired. Like it sort of seemed like a winding trail, unsure of a firm direction. Sure, the goal in mind was always to make a choice, but it felt like the end had much more emphasis than the steps it took to get there. I would have loved to see less wandering and more inititive on the part’s of the characters.
Ok. Let’s talk world building. Besides a bit of infodumping in the beginning, I thought the development of the world was really well done. It was really cool to be fully immersed in this futuristic society that relies on genetics, these mind phone transmission thingamabobs, and a bucket full of technology. Seeing the system combined with magic was honestly one of my favorite parts of the whole book.
I also kind of struggled with Voya and her narration. Voya just lacked direction as a character. Girl had no idea what was going on or what choice to make for basically the entire book. It made being in her head feel a touch repetitive. Being in Voya’s mind was like being on a hamster wheel of indecision and by the midsection of the book it really started to get to me.
There are a ton of characters in this book. There are a lot of family dynamics going on, and all of them felt so genuine. Sambury did a really great job capturing that family dynamic. Even when they didn’t all agree, or it was messy, they still were there for each other. Given the ending, I’m excited to see how this is going to be explored further in the next book.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. The writing and dialogue is so easy to fall into and the worldbuilding is really intriguing. I think I will be picking up the next book, mostly because I need to know what’s next ahhhhh. All and all, if the idea of futuristic witches intrigues you, I’d highly recommend checking out Blood Like Magic!!
Have you read Blood Like Magic?? What did you think??