Murder Magic and First Loves: My Blood Like Magic Review

The second I saw the description for Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury, I knew I had to have it. I actually preordered it several months before its release, and then ended up being approved for an ebook review copy from Netgalley after I'd already locked in my preorder. But that's okay, because after reading the ebook, I knew I'd want a hard copy of this wonderful book anyway!

So why exactly is that? Read on to find out!

Book Title: Blood Like Magic
Author: Liselle Sambury
Publisher/Year: Margaret K. McElderry, 2021
Genre: Science Fantasy
Number of Pages (According to Goodreads): 496
My Rating: 4 out of 5

Book description (from Goodreads):

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 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.

Come Along to Futuristic Toronto

The worldbuilding in this book was super unique and interesting, and I loved how Sambury blended cool sci-fi technology with an awesome magic system! There were a lot of little details included in the story that made it really immersive.

I do think that sometimes the worldbuilding got a bit infodump-y, and there were parts that I felt threw a LOT of information at the reader at once, which made it a tad more difficult to get through. But overall, I really liked the world of this story.

Morally Gray Character Arcs and Family Matters

I'm a sucker for books with morally gray aspects and tough choices for the characters to make, and this one did not disappoint! I really related to Voya in terms of being indecisive, and it was awesome to see her learn and grow throughout the story. I didn't end up being totally sold on her conclusion to the pure vs impure magic debate (which was a really cool concept in and of itself!), but I'm hoping that will be fleshed out more in the second book.

I also liked getting to know Voya's family members, and the emphasis on community was really lovely to see. Without getting too specific because of spoilers, it was amazing to see part of Voya's journey hinge on the idea that platonic love is just as important as romantic love. But don't worry if you love romance, because there's plenty of that too!

Trigger and Content Warnings for Blood Like Magic

The author's website lists the following content warnings: "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."

Final Thoughts

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who's looking for a fresh take on YA fantasy and loves detailed fictional worlds! I'm super eager to see what will happen in the sequel with Voya and her family.

Blood Like Magic is now available everywhere, so check out the links below if you want to snag your own copy:

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