Blood Like Magic (Blood Like Magic, #1)

Blood Like Magic (Blood Like Magic, #1)
Age Range
Release Date
June 15, 2021
Buy This Book
“High stakes, big heart, and lots of Black Girl Magic…unputdownable.” —Aiden Thomas, New York Timesbestselling author of Cemetery Boys

A rich, dark urban fantasy debut following a teen witch who is given a horrifying task: sacrificing her first love to save her family’s magic. The problem is, she’s never been in love—she’ll have to find the perfect guy before she can kill him.

After years of waiting for her Calling—a trial every witch must pass 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.

Editor review

1 review
intriguing YA sci-fi/fantasy
Overall rating
Writing Style
BLOOD LIKE MAGIC is an intriguing YA fantasy about family, sacrifice, and choices. Voya is 16 and nervous about the arrival of her Calling. In a family of witches, this is an incredible time when they undergo a challenge to receive their magic powers. An ancestor will appear to give them the challenge, and if they pass, will then bestow their special magic. Voya lives with her family and Matriarch grandmother in a house all together, raised with her cousins, aunts, uncles, and divorced parents. Her cousins have gone through their Callings, bestowing skills like reading minds, creating supernaturally good clothes, and others.

Voya is worried about her Calling and worrying that she may fail - something that hasn't happened in about a hundred years. She does not want to let her family down and knows that she will not be able to contribute if she does not receive her own skill. When her Calling comes and she immediately fails, she begs for another chance - something unheard of. But then, she gets it, and the task assigned is unbelievable, to kill her first love or to have her family's magic taken away forever. Considering she has never been in love, Voya knows she will need to fall in love fast if she has any hope of helping her family.

Luckily, in this future, genomes have been more defined and can be used for just about everything - including finding that perfect match. With the receipt of a trial to do just that, Voya finds out she has a perfect match, Luc, who seems arrogant and rude, but he may be her only hope to saving her family.

What I loved: The premise of the book was really intriguing, and there is a lot about family bloodlines, magic, genetics, and the weight of ancestry. While this takes place in the future, much of it felt as though it could occur now (except for the genetic advancements). The book is largely character driven with much introspection that takes the reader deep into Voya's mind, her fears/concerns, and her hopes/dreams. She was a really compelling character, and I appreciated the way we get to know other key characters through her, including her family and Luc.

This book had a lot of really poignant and thought-provoking themes around genetics, choices, colonialism, capitalism, family, racism, and transgender rights. This future includes a world run by corporations. As college is prohibitively expensive, the only way to attain higher education is through company sponsorship. Similarly, companies "raise" their CEOs by selecting talented children from poorer countries and sponsoring them to live in the country, while being raised by the current CEO almost like children - except that they can be deported at any time if the company does not feel that they are beneficial. This corporate power and selection process raises some intriguing points around immigration and capitalism that would be great to discuss with a book club.

Throughout, there are also important themes around racism with the primary family being Black and suffering prejudices along the lines as well as their ancestral suffering in those that came before them but also commune with them still. Although this is the future, the echoes of the present are also seen with later events in this community (not specified to avoid spoilers). Additionally, 2 of the main characters are transgendered, and while they are in this advanced future where things are better, there are still important considerations that are not yet made (and money is a key factor to why not). These themes are really poignant.

Additionally, the major theme of choice comes up quite a few times. While Voya feels that she does not have any choices, she comes to understand the true meaning of it and the ways in which she is able to make her own choices. At the beginning of the book, she fears making choices and her character development arc hinges on the choices she has and her growth around doing so.

What left me wanting more: The book felt really slow in places, and I found the beginning of the book difficult to stick with. However, this does really pick up toward the end of the book, and the last quarter was highly devourable. I did wish that we could have gotten into the action faster to really give that hook from the beginning.

Final verdict: Thought-provoking and highly intriguing, BLOOD LIKE MAGIC is a YA fantasy that captures the imagination with magic, unforgettable characters, and important themes. Highly recommend for fans of WINGS OF EBONY, THIS MORTAL COIL, and THE LIGHT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD.
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