Blood-Soaked Magic: Blood Debts by Terry J. Benton-Walker

Release Date: April 4, 2023
Series: Blood Debts #1
Publisher: Tor Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy


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.

My Thoughts

Clem and Cris are going to be a challenge for some readers. If you insist on protagonists being likable, this is not the book for you. The siblings are mercurial, tempestuous, frustrating, and kind of annoying. They bite and spit rather than compromise and comfort. But instead of writing them off as merely “unlikable,” think about why they are the way they are. You have ancestors who had to make terrible choices to survive. Death and blood were prices they were willing to pay if it meant their children would live. The first few generations past slavery didn’t have it much better. I think often of the W.E.B. Du Bois quote “The slave went free; stood a brief moment in the sun; then moved back again toward slavery.” Imagine having your freedom stolen from you, the freedom you and your ancestors fought for taken from your children. It’s no wonder those subsequent generations often refused to talk about the past…

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