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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 d 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.


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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 d 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.

30 review for Blood Like Magic

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mash

    ~ 4 stars ~ 💜~ Thank you to the publisher via NetGalley for providing this eARC in exchange for an honest review ~💜 For a full, detailed review, check out my blog Mashlovesbooks! Blood like Magic is a Young Adult fantasy book, with science fiction and paranormal aspects. Set in future Toronto, It follows Voya, a young witch from an honoured witch family. A witch's calling is the biggest, most important moment of their life and the last thing Voya expected was to fail, shamed and disappointed, V ~ 4 stars ~ 💜~ Thank you to the publisher via NetGalley for providing this eARC in exchange for an honest review ~💜 For a full, detailed review, check out my blog Mashlovesbooks! Blood like Magic is a Young Adult fantasy book, with science fiction and paranormal aspects. Set in future Toronto, It follows Voya, a young witch from an honoured witch family. A witch's calling is the biggest, most important moment of their life and the last thing Voya expected was to fail, shamed and disappointed, Voya prayed for something better to happen. Unexpectedly, Mother Jova -Voya's ancestor- visits her and gives her an almost impossible task, Voya must kill her first love and if she doesn't, her entire family will be stripped of their magic and left helpless. Through technological advances, Voya is able to find her genetic match, the frustrating and arrogant Luc. Now, she must fall in love with him, then kill him or her entire family will fall apart. Blood like Magic is a story of love, blood and the power of advanced technology. Going into this, I expected a paranormal fantasy book and that is why I got, but what I didn't expect was the depth of the scientific technology used in the time the book is set. The science-fiction aspect (however unexpected) was a lovely surprise and a really good added bonus. I loved that this was set in my city because it allowed me to connect and relate to the story more than I would have if it was not. The writing was eerie and beautiful and very detailed. It was written from the first-person perspective of Voya and I really liked how it brought out her strength and weakness, making her a flawed but lovable character. I love the way things are described and how well the narration was able to summarize the places and give beautiful descriptions of them. I think the book could have been a little shorter because it was dragged quite a bit (will talk about this later in the review) but overall, I liked the writing. The plot was well executed but was just a little slow at certain times in the book. I felt that the beginning was really dragged out but I also understand that it was used to set the setting and the world building of the book. There were times where I wanted to put it down because it felt like the plot wasn't really progressing but I'm glad I didn't because it got much, much better after the 50% range. The world-building was really interesting because though it is set in this world, there are so many unusual aspects to it, including the community of witches that live in the streets unnoticed and the fact that the story is set in the future. I loved the magic system and how unique some of the powers are, I liked that the whole premise is blood because it shows the ties the family has with magic. I really liked the plot and most of the aspects of it but I think the book could have been shortened a little bit and the beginning could have been a little more action-packed. I LOVED the characters of this book very much. The diversity was natural and beautiful and very accurately represented the true diversity of Toronto. Voya, the protagonist, was a caring and and female but she was also fierce and was willing to make sacrifices for her family and give up everything to keep them safe. I connected with her through her determination and her struggles with a large family. I love how the author made her characters flawed because they are realistic and they directly correlate with the people in our real world. I also loved Luc because of his love for science and technology but also because of how strong he was and how he has overcome so many challenges in his life, with his identity and with his family. Despite their flaws, I really like Voya's family because they remind me so much of mine, everything isn't perfect and not everyone gets along but together, they were able to do what needed to be done and that makes for a wonderful family relationship. Overall, I really liked this book. The writing was beautiful and honest, the plot dragged a little but was good nonetheless, the world-building was fantastic and the characters were diverse and flawed but still very lovable. I am really excited for the next book in the series and I cannot wait to see where Liselle Sambury takes this storyline! Thank you for reading my review and I hope it helped! **Disclaimer** This is all personal opinion and is in no way intended to harass or offend anyone. If I do, I sincerely apologize (also let me know so I can fix the offensive content, thank you) Blog Pinterest

  2. 4 out of 5

    Angelica

    witches? and murder? and Canada????? witches? and murder? and Canada?????

  3. 4 out of 5

    Aiden Thomas

    With high stakes, big heart and lots of Black Girl Magic, BLOOD LIKE MAGIC is everything you love about paranormal fantasy. The fast pace, painfully relatable characters, and incredible generational magic system makes BLOOD LIKE MAGIC unputdownable. Liselle Sambury left me with a massive book hangover that won’t be cured until I get the sequel!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Liselle Sambury

    The first and last time I shall be popping on here as the author because I do believe that Goodreads is for readers, but I wanted to say that I'm so excited for everyone to read BLOOD LIKE MAGIC. This is such a personal book for me incorporating some of my own family history, my Trinidadian and Canadian background, my city of Toronto, and an overall deep desire to see Black girls with magic in books. For those looking for content warnings, I have these listed on my website here: https://bit.ly/b The first and last time I shall be popping on here as the author because I do believe that Goodreads is for readers, but I wanted to say that I'm so excited for everyone to read BLOOD LIKE MAGIC. This is such a personal book for me incorporating some of my own family history, my Trinidadian and Canadian background, my city of Toronto, and an overall deep desire to see Black girls with magic in books. For those looking for content warnings, I have these listed on my website here: https://bit.ly/bloodlikemagic

  5. 4 out of 5

    Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard

    WE'RE GETTING A BOOK WITH WITCHES SET IN CANADA!? WE'RE GETTING A BOOK WITH WITCHES SET IN CANADA!?

  6. 5 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    Oh wow. This cover is absolutely stunning. This beauty must grace my shelves with its presence! ((me: scurries to preorder)) Oh wow. This cover is absolutely stunning. This beauty must grace my shelves with its presence! ((me: scurries to preorder))

  7. 4 out of 5

    tay❀ (taylor reads)

    that cover is just gorgeous☺️

  8. 5 out of 5

    fanna

    October 20, 2020: UM THAT COVER >>>> August 21, 2020: We have a Black witch and all the paranormal magic?! And the author said there'll be Trinidadian food refs, and she researched the history of slavery in Canada and the US so you know how amazing this book is going to be. October 20, 2020: UM THAT COVER >>>> August 21, 2020: We have a Black witch and all the paranormal magic?! And the author said there'll be Trinidadian food refs, and she researched the history of slavery in Canada and the US so you know how amazing this book is going to be.

  9. 4 out of 5

    ☀︎El In Oz☀︎

    Reminder that is book is out this year and is set in Canada with witches, blood magic, and romance 😌 Edit October 19: I WANT TO MARRY THIS COVER OMG THE COLOUR SCHEME AND OUR MAIN CHARACTER LOOKS STUNNING!! AND ALSO PAGE COUNT OF 492!!! SO IT’S LONG AND ALMOST 500!!!! ********************************************** A BOOK SET IN CANADA?? YES

  10. 5 out of 5

    Angela Anne

    This book is phenomenal!! Anyone who enjoys well written sci-fi or stories about witches needs to read this book. Sambury pulls you into a world and plot line that is unlike anything I’ve ever read. The entire time I was at the edge of my seat, wondering how our protagonist was going to get out of the impossible situation her ancestor put her into. The magic system was thought provoking and melded with a futuristic world to create a rich world which came alive on every page. Against that backdro This book is phenomenal!! Anyone who enjoys well written sci-fi or stories about witches needs to read this book. Sambury pulls you into a world and plot line that is unlike anything I’ve ever read. The entire time I was at the edge of my seat, wondering how our protagonist was going to get out of the impossible situation her ancestor put her into. The magic system was thought provoking and melded with a futuristic world to create a rich world which came alive on every page. Against that backdrop, Sambury gave us not only a gripping plot, but a protagonist who was equally lovable and frustrating (which might sound like an odd combo, but I loved how Voya wasn’t perfect. She was relatable and human in a way which made me more emotionally invested in the story). It’s been awhile since I’ve read a book which pulls me into the world as much as Blood Like Magic and when I finished reading, I instantly missed the characters and wanted to dive back in. If you enjoy jaw dropping storylines, a dynamic cast of characters, and reading stories so good, it’s hard to recover after, then you need to pick up Blood Like Magic. Oh, and when you do read it, carve out a weekend or a couple days off because this book is impossible to put down!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cailin

    a book set in toronto!!!!!! sign me up

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sofie |

    Thank you NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Canada for the e-ARC for review! From the start of this, Mama Jova has wanted me to take control of my future and my choices. And this whole time I believed that I would make the wrong choice. Thats how it’s been with everything in my life. Ever decision was another chance to mess up. I don’t know if this is the right one either. But it doesn’t matter. It’s my choice, and I have to make it. So I do. When Voya Thomas, a young witch, fails her Calling, she Thank you NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Canada for the e-ARC for review! From the start of this, Mama Jova has wanted me to take control of my future and my choices. And this whole time I believed that I would make the wrong choice. Thats how it’s been with everything in my life. Ever decision was another chance to mess up. I don’t know if this is the right one either. But it doesn’t matter. It’s my choice, and I have to make it. So I do. When Voya Thomas, a young witch, fails her Calling, she begs her talker for another chance. And to her entire family’s surprise, she gets it. But the task seems impossible: to get her gift, Voya must destroy her first love, or else her entire family will lose their magic. A strong 3.5 stars. Fantasy and sci-fi are wonderfully blended in Liselle Sambury’s Blood Like Magic. Reading the blurb, I was initially worried this would be too similar to the Bone Grace series, but the novel was one of the most original and impressive fantasies I’ve read in a long time. I wasn’t expecting such an immersive, black mirror-esque component to the world building; Sambury’s sci-fi ideas were mildly uncanny, and I don’t doubt they’ll be part of our reality soon. There was a diverse familial cast of characters, wherein everyone felt distinct and purposeful. Voya was an imperfect protagonist, riddled with self doubt, and tasked with an impossible calling that kept me guessing. And most excitedly, the book showcased a vast variety of cultures and backgrounds, and Toronto was the perfect setting for it all. I loved learning about Voya’s Trinidadian background, especially through her cooking, as well as the other witch families and their own histories. I also appreciated that, despite being set in the future, Sambury still addressed issues of race and bigotry that, like Voya mentioned, likely will take centuries more to dismantle. Similarly, I loved that social issues we are currently working through were near old news. There were a few story-telling issues that brought me out of the book. Comprehensive world-building is so important, especially for such a unique story, but the novel was a bit slow to start. I’m also a bit torn on how I feel about Voya’s task, about Justin’s ideology, about the pure vs. impure magic concept. I won’t post any spoilers, but some reasoning felt a bit weak, and I couldn’t suspend my disbelief enough to let it slide. That said, this is a strong debut and great for young adult fantasy and sci-fi lovers everywhere.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ameema Saeed

    4.5 - 5 stars. This book was magic!

  14. 4 out of 5

    emily

    to gain her powers, voya must complete an unusual task: find her first love and kill them. even though that’s already shocking, the stakes get higher and higher as family secrets are uncovered, and i LOVED it. literally the plot was so exciting, i was never bored and was always on the edge of my seat waiting to see how this would end. there’s a perfect balance of seriousness, humor, and surprises! also, the characters were so vibrant and realistic. a lot of this book centers around voya's love fo to gain her powers, voya must complete an unusual task: find her first love and kill them. even though that’s already shocking, the stakes get higher and higher as family secrets are uncovered, and i LOVED it. literally the plot was so exciting, i was never bored and was always on the edge of my seat waiting to see how this would end. there’s a perfect balance of seriousness, humor, and surprises! also, the characters were so vibrant and realistic. a lot of this book centers around voya's love for her family, and i loved learning about each of them! this entire book just felt so refreshing. it has tons of representation, diverse characters, a unique plot, doesn’t shy away from struggles many face, and constantly had positive ideals woven in. this book has all the elements i wish other fantasies had and i HIGHLY recommend to everyone!! 4.5 stars thank you to netgalley for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    ✨~Deep_Abyss~✨

    Forbidden love? Black girl magic? Witches? Even more magic? Sign me the fudgin up!!!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Solace_In_Reading

    10.18.2020 I've been following Liselle Sambury for a while and am so excited to see that her cover is coming out soon!! 10.18.2020 I've been following Liselle Sambury for a while and am so excited to see that her cover is coming out soon!!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Zizzy W

    GIVE me this Black Canadian witchy book right this instant!!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Starr ❇✌❇

    I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: slavery, whipping, police/gun violence, mentioned racism, mention of an eating disorder, mentioned child neglect, mentioned substance abuse 4.5 When The Bleeding comes, it means your ancestors will set you a trial, and upon passing you will finally get your gift. On Voya's Bleeding there is nothing but raw excitement- until she does the impossible, and fails thanks to her own anxious indecision. Now, thanks to a second chance, she has one month to do the imp I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: slavery, whipping, police/gun violence, mentioned racism, mention of an eating disorder, mentioned child neglect, mentioned substance abuse 4.5 When The Bleeding comes, it means your ancestors will set you a trial, and upon passing you will finally get your gift. On Voya's Bleeding there is nothing but raw excitement- until she does the impossible, and fails thanks to her own anxious indecision. Now, thanks to a second chance, she has one month to do the impossible- kill her first love, a task impossible in its hugeness not just because of the idea of murder, or because she hasn't actually met her first love yet, but also because failing will cost her all the magic in her family present and future, including the magic keeping her sister alive. When she gets into a beta for a genetic matchmaking program it should solve at least one of the problems. But her match, Luc, is the last person she could see her self falling for. And as annoying as he is, can she really go through with killing him? I loved this book. I love the concept by itself- I'm a big, big fan of characters having to find their true loves in order to sacrifice them- but the love doesn't stop there because the characters are fantastic, the casual queer representation is phenomenal (not to mention the all POC cast), the romance is excellent, and the world feels startling real. The characters are all written so well. Community is a major theme and building block in this story, from the Black Witch community at large to Voya's family living and dead. You really get a sense of how things work and the sort of life Voya is leading just from the way she interacts with these people and the different types of people surrounding her. They're all varied enough to feel distinct and yet caring a certain quality of people who were raised together. Voya specifically is a really wonderful character. She feels really modern and unfettered (though I guess modern isn't the right word, since this is about 30 years in the future), boundlessly enthusiastic and sure of her, while also struggling with indecision and an uncertainty that stems from putting others and their welfare above her own wants. She feels like a real person and I love her character arc so much. Luc is also a great character, and his romance with Voya is so fun. Luc is a prickly, cold and a bit uncomfortable person. And he could have easily been a level of condescending and frustrating that was impossible to root for, but instead Sambury has his layers peeled away in the perfect way to get to know him but not so impossibly that he turns into an entirely different person. There are so many points in the romance that I found myself thinking "wow, if this wasn't so well written I wouldn't buy this relationship but instead I love it". It's paced so well and peppered with moments of mocking turned to teasing that it's impossible not to get drawn in. I just love them so much, honestly. Also, I really appreciate the fact that Luc is trans (as is one of Voya's cousins) and it's never highlighted as a major part of his story in the least, or used as a teaching moment, but also not dropped as if it was lip service. The world of the story worked really well for me. I didn't realize when I picked up this book that it's not just fantasy but also sci-fi, hinging on some integral technological advancements, and it threw me for a few pages but it actually works really well. Nothing is pushed too hard in this book, so the world is allowed to just be as it is and it all works and makes sense. I also love the magic and the mix of both the magic and technology, particularly with the ancestors. The marriage of the past and future isn't leaned on, but it is done really well. The idea of being visited by the honored ancestors and blessed with a magical gift is also just astoundingly cool. Just like Sambury integrates magic with tech and the future with ancestors she keeps this story moving by marrying the tense main plot with a handful of tiny mysteries and obstacles, never overdoing or burying either. It works especially well with the side plot mysteries of Lauren and Mama Elaine, and everything is tied together so well it feels like a complete package. There are only two things I didn't entirely love. Firstly, the theme of pure & impure fell a little flat for me, because it's kept so messy. Maybe if the murder wasn't harped on so often or if we didn't get so many details, then the easy take away at the end would have been clear but instead I'm left confused about what I'm supposed to be taking from this. And the other issue was in the ending. While I liked the ending in general, as a final act, where things actual land wasn't satisfying to me. There is a sequel coming out so I'm hoping that all this will get built upon into something better, but I won't lie about being nervous about it. I really enjoyed this book! This was one of y most anticipated releases of 2021 and it did not let me down. Now I can't wait for the sequel!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dreams

    Magic born or magic earned? Well how about both? First things first, I absolutely loved this book. I was hooked from page one and was hard pressed to put it down. It's fast paced and full of twists and turns. The story is set in the near future in Canada, with tons of diversity. I loved the blend of science fiction and fantasy. Robots and magic! There is a huge emphasis on family and how a big loving family, doesn't equal to a big happy functioning family. Every family has fissures and cracks, bu Magic born or magic earned? Well how about both? First things first, I absolutely loved this book. I was hooked from page one and was hard pressed to put it down. It's fast paced and full of twists and turns. The story is set in the near future in Canada, with tons of diversity. I loved the blend of science fiction and fantasy. Robots and magic! There is a huge emphasis on family and how a big loving family, doesn't equal to a big happy functioning family. Every family has fissures and cracks, but ultimately family can be there for you. There are tons of different cultural food mentioned that will make your mouth drool so warning, don't read on an empty stomach. You will get hungry. However, do not mistake all the food mentioning that this is a light happy read. There is plenty of bloody imagery through-out the book. Voya is a very lovable and frustrating protagonist that you never know if you want to hug or smack up side the head. I saw myself in many parts of her, so even in the frustrating parts, I still wanted to hug her. I highly recommend this book and cannot wait for the next book to be released! Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the e-arc to read and review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Vianne

    This was really great, RTC!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Melanie | pagesandtealeavess

    Publication Date: June 15, 2021 TW: Slavery, Whipping, Gun Violence, gore, death, substance abuse, child neglect Every witch has a calling, a trial arranged by one of their long dead ancestors when they hit puberty that tests their worthiness. If successful, the ancestor will award the witch with a magical gift, if they fail, they lose their witch status forever. Voya has waited a long time for her calling. She’s blown away when one of her more notorious ancestors sets out her trial. She has 30 da Publication Date: June 15, 2021 TW: Slavery, Whipping, Gun Violence, gore, death, substance abuse, child neglect Every witch has a calling, a trial arranged by one of their long dead ancestors when they hit puberty that tests their worthiness. If successful, the ancestor will award the witch with a magical gift, if they fail, they lose their witch status forever. Voya has waited a long time for her calling. She’s blown away when one of her more notorious ancestors sets out her trial. She has 30 days to kill her first love, except Voya hasn’t experienced her first love yet. What follows is a story of family, love, loyalty and hardship. Firstly, thank you for including content warnings at the beginning of the story. I also want to shout out the author for writing such wonderful, loyal, messy and diverse characters. Voya has entered my list of favourite female characters in literature. I’ve never read a book that takes place in Toronto nor did I ever realize how much I craved a fantasy story to take place where I’m from. While this story takes place well into the future, Liselle’s inclusion of future Toronto as almost a character itself in the story was really neat. From the inclusion of the TTC arrival jingle, to famous landmarks and our unabashed multiculturalism, it was so interesting to see how years into the future the best of Toronto still shines. As for the plot, it was a bit of a slow start in terms of the story. There was a lot of worldbuilding thrown at the reader all at once. I do appreciate when authors flesh out the world before they introduce the stakes in the plot. However, the story didn’t really pick up until about 20% in. It was bogged down by repetitive details about the same concept. The premise of the story was definitely what intrigued me about this novel and it continued to keep me interested throughout the book. I’m normally the type of reader that guesses how the story is going to turn out long before the ending but this was not the case in this book. I’ll be keeping my eye out for the next book in the series. I’m excited to see where the story goes and what happens to a number of characters. Thank you to #NetGalley and @SimonandSchusterCanada for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Feel free to send any future books my way…. but actually.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Guin Blue

    DID SOMEONE SAY A BLACK WITCH!??????????

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I love the characters, the plot, and how this book walks the line between science and magic. This book felt fresh and interesting...I've read stories with similar elements before, but not in this original combination. I love the characters, the plot, and how this book walks the line between science and magic. This book felt fresh and interesting...I've read stories with similar elements before, but not in this original combination.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    This book sounds so GOOOOOOOD!!!!

  25. 5 out of 5

    sol

    that cover 😍

  26. 4 out of 5

    thegirlonfire

    i requested blood like magic on netgalley so i read it in ebook format! both the cover and description of the book had me intrigued and i had been hearin/seeing it around so i was curious about it! im glad i requested/read it. i enjoyed the world/magic/characters! i like that it takes place in canada and they mentioned where i live. i also like that its in the future and seeing all the techonology that this world has but also the fact that magic exists in it! i liked knowing each characters gift i requested blood like magic on netgalley so i read it in ebook format! both the cover and description of the book had me intrigued and i had been hearin/seeing it around so i was curious about it! im glad i requested/read it. i enjoyed the world/magic/characters! i like that it takes place in canada and they mentioned where i live. i also like that its in the future and seeing all the techonology that this world has but also the fact that magic exists in it! i liked knowing each characters gifts and what their callings were (both very interesting things to know) some characters u dont know their gifts tho. i liked voya as the narrator most of the time (sometimes when she was indecisive or she kept thinking about her task and if shes able to do it or not and being negative was kinda of annoying/frustating to read bc could get repetitive and also bc i believed in her but i can also relate to her indecisiveness) i also liked voyas family specially keis and i liked her relationship with her family they are all so close and spend so much time together and there was funny moments between boya and her family! and its funny to think that her grandma wouldve been probably a teenager in our current time. SOME SPOILERS AFTER THIS: there were some not so fun scenes like when voya gets her task and see mama jova and her past :C when shes given her task and the days go by i didnt see how she could get out of it and not kill luc or destroy him by destroyin his career but eventually she realises that luc isnt her first love but that her family/ keis is which i loved but at same time hated bc that meant destroyin her best friend/cousin. and i liked both luc and keis. luc and voyas interations were always soo funny/cute/sarcastic. i also kept my fingers crossed that lauren was gonna show up eventually and be ok.. also eden is soo adorable! when voya decides to be at the ritual with johan and he told her not to mess up/enter the circle and then she has a messed up vision and enters the circle im like "u know u have messed up vision that arent real so why would u go into the circle.." it was a bit frustating that sometimes she didnt know what was real or not,acted upon those visions and then something bad would happen. or moments of miscomunication like when in the end her mom tells her not to leave for caribanna without them and voya doesnt tell her family that she knows what shes gonna choose and that she has a plan that involves not killing luc etc,and her mom not telling her what they were gonna go do (i feel like if voya had told them her plan etc or her mom would tell voya their plan certain things wouldve been different or wouldnt have needed to happen: like liking their magic to the house etc and or voya need to link keis to the house etc) i feel bad that keis got that ending and i hope they can reverse it some how. also didnt want a certain character to die but i understand that she needed to die so that voya could ger her wish (which was a good idea what she wished for ,it was clever of her and also the plan she did for keis was clever but it still sucked) i also like voyas gift in the end and her plan involving justin, and the scenes when she sees aunt elaine. i also liked that voya was into cooking and alex was a designer and into clothes etc. theres also 2 trans characters in this book which i really liked reading about and keishas love life too. im curious to see what will happen in the sequel so ill definitly read it, we already know bad things will happen,more suffering and challenges bc mama jova tells voya in the end and i wanna see how voya uses her past and future gift..also to see what happened to lauren and what will happen to keis.

  27. 4 out of 5

    thegirlonfire

    both the cover and description of the book had me intrigued and i had been hearin/seeing it around so i was curious about it! im glad i requested/read it. i enjoyed the world/magic/characters! i like that it takes place in canada and they mentioned where i live. i also like that its in the future and seeing all the techonology that this world has but also the fact that magic exists in it! i liked knowing each characters gifts and what their callings were (both very interesting things to know) so both the cover and description of the book had me intrigued and i had been hearin/seeing it around so i was curious about it! im glad i requested/read it. i enjoyed the world/magic/characters! i like that it takes place in canada and they mentioned where i live. i also like that its in the future and seeing all the techonology that this world has but also the fact that magic exists in it! i liked knowing each characters gifts and what their callings were (both very interesting things to know) some characters u dont know their gifts tho. i liked voya as the narrator most of the time (sometimes when she was indecisive or she kept thinking about her task and if shes able to do it or not and being negative was kinda of annoying/frustating to read bc could get repetitive and also bc i believed in her but i can also relate to her indecisiveness) i also liked voyas family specially keis and i liked her relationship with her family they are all so close and spend so much time together and there was funny moments between boya and her family! and its funny to think that her grandma wouldve been probably a teenager in our current time. SOME SPOILERS AFTER THIS: there were some not so fun scenes like when voya gets her task and see mama jova and her past :C when shes given her task and the days go by i didnt see how she could get out of it and not kill luc or destroy him by destroyin his career but eventually she realises that luc isnt her first love but that her family/ keis is which i loved but at same time hated bc that meant destroyin her best friend/cousin. and i liked both luc and keis. luc and voyas interations were always soo funny/cute/sarcastic. i also kept my fingers crossed that lauren was gonna show up eventually and be ok.. also eden is soo adorable! when voya decides to be at the ritual with johan and he told her not to mess up/enter the circle and then she has a messed up vision and enters the circle im like "u know u have messed up vision that arent real so why would u go into the circle.." it was a bit frustating that sometimes she didnt know what was real or not,acted upon those visions and then something bad would happen. or moments of miscomunication like when in the end her mom tells her not to leave for caribanna without them and voya doesnt tell her family that she knows what shes gonna choose and that she has a plan that involves not killing luc etc,and her mom not telling her what they were gonna go do (i feel like if voya had told them her plan etc or her mom would tell voya their plan certain things wouldve been different or wouldnt have needed to happen: like liking their magic to the house etc and or voya need to link keis to the house etc) i feel bad that keis got that ending and i hope they can reverse it some how. also didnt want a certain character to die but i understand that she needed to die so that voya could ger her wish (which was a good idea what she wished for ,it was clever of her and also the plan she did for keis was clever but it still sucked) i also like voyas gift in the end and her plan involving justin, and the scenes when she sees aunt elaine. i also liked that voya was into cooking and alex was a designer and into clothes etc. theres also 2 trans characters in this book which i really liked reading about and keishas love life too. im curious to see what will happen in the sequel so ill definitly read it, we already know bad things will happen,more suffering and challenges bc mama jova tells voya in the end and i wanna see how voya uses her past and future gift..also to see what happened to lauren and what will happen to keis.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Emma Vossen

    ***I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*** I was so excited to get an ARC of Blood Like Magic! Witches living in futuristic Toronto? What's not to like! Sambury is a talented writer, and I look forward to reading the sequel! First off, this book will make you VERY VERY VERY hungry! The main character, Voya, is a talented chef, and a lot of this book is about her cooking delicious food for her family or in cooking competitions etc. You will probably be gett ***I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*** I was so excited to get an ARC of Blood Like Magic! Witches living in futuristic Toronto? What's not to like! Sambury is a talented writer, and I look forward to reading the sequel! First off, this book will make you VERY VERY VERY hungry! The main character, Voya, is a talented chef, and a lot of this book is about her cooking delicious food for her family or in cooking competitions etc. You will probably be getting on UberEats at least once while reading this; I know I did! As someone living in Toronto myself, I loved all the details of the setting. I was especially a sucker for the stuff at OCAD, where I've taught some classes! The parts at the Dixie mall was also excellent. I love low-fantasy books where the magic is right there under your nose in ordinary places, but no one notices! BLM is not a fluffy YA book. Despite me just saying it will make you hungry, it will also make your stomach turn at parts! Sambury does not shy away from the bloody imagery that the title "Blood like Magic" suggests! The author describes her style as writing stories about "messy Black girls in fantasy situations," which is precisely what you get here! There are no easy decisions or tidy bows. Definitely check out the content warnings that Sambury provides because this book has some heavy scenes. The first 100 pages or so of the novel are heavy on exposition, making all the narrative threads a bit hard to hold in your head. When it clicks, it clicks, but it took me a while to get into the book for that reason. Every member of Voya's family is very well developed, but to such an extent that it's sometimes hard to keep track of. No one could ever accuse Sambury of having underdeveloped characters. This brings me to my last point. Voya is a girl with PROBLEMS. No one could argue that there isn't enough conflict in this book. But she maybe has a few too many problems? BLM is a fantasy novel about witches, but it is also a sci-fi novel, a romance at times, a multi-generational family drama, a futuristic dystopia, a coming of age story, a mystery novel/ who-done-it. On top of that it looked at all sort of issues, from LGBTQ issues, gender issues, racial issues, economic issues, the undervaluing of the arts, drug addiction etc. It also has a narrative thread that seems inspired by Octavia Butler's Kindred, in which Voya sees and experiences the pain and suffering of her ancestors first hand. And another thread that seems inspired by the sci-fi novel Timer, in which people wear something on their wrist that helps them find their soulmate. I think I'm forgetting some more layers; that's how many there are! These are all very cool ideas, but it is a lot. I found myself feeling like the book was turning to me and saying, "oh, and another thing!" It seems like Sambury had a ton of great ideas and tried to cram them all into her first book. I think a few of these threads could have been cut, and it would not have harmed the book whatsoever. All these threads are tied up by the end, so she makes it work, but it can feel overwhelming at times. All overall, I enjoyed reading Blood like Magic, and I recommend you check it out when it comes out on June 15th 2021!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Thank you to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to review an eARC of this book! Book content warnings (as taken from the author’s note): whipping scene within the context of slavery, gun/police violence, discussion of and character with an earring disorder, blood/gore/violence, death, substance abuse/addiction, mentions of child neglect. “To black girls everywhere: You can be more than a slave or a lesson for someone else. You deserve to be a witch or a dragon tamer. To fall in lo Thank you to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to review an eARC of this book! Book content warnings (as taken from the author’s note): whipping scene within the context of slavery, gun/police violence, discussion of and character with an earring disorder, blood/gore/violence, death, substance abuse/addiction, mentions of child neglect. “To black girls everywhere: You can be more than a slave or a lesson for someone else. You deserve to be a witch or a dragon tamer. To fall in love with a vampire or lead your friends against a villain. You are more than the best friend or the sassy comedic relief. You are the hero.” - Author’s dedication There is so much to love in this debut! The characters are multifaceted, imperfect, charming, lovable and very diverse. Voya is a relatable and realistic main character - her struggle with indecision to a point where it hinders her ability to live is so relatable to me. The world building was my favourite part. Futuristic Toronto blends technological advances, Canadian and international cultures, and is just so smart. The world this story takes place in is in the future, but it does not escape the effects of racism, colonialism, and slavery. The world is better, but not perfect. Struggles continue to exist and affect the lives of the characters. The modernity is believable, the societal struggles are based in our current reality, and the unique magic system fits right in. The plot is high stakes and intriguing. While I found the writing repetitive at times, and it took me a while to get into it, I really enjoyed Voya’s story and her struggle with her identity and future. Her lack of vision for her own future is something I think so many young adults can relate to, making it a great YA read. Additionally, Voya’s grappling with her identity within her own family - and how families can be more cracked and divided than we realize under the surface - was very well done. I didn’t find the romance particularly compelling, but I would be eager to see how it progresses in future instalments! An additional highlight for me was definitely the FOOOOD. Every time Voya described food my mouth was watering. Overall, a great debut! I would definitely recommend to lovers of YA, YA fantasy, and black girl magic (literally!). This is a dark fantasy novel that is bound to inspire young readers. Favourite quote: (I chose this because it is SO RELATABLE to me as someone who lacks direction in life) “What must it be like to know exactly what you want? Whenever I try to imagine my future, I come up against a block. There’s always something in the way, and no matter what route I take, the end is a mystery. I keep thinking that my gift will change everything. but what if it doesn’t? What if I don’t have that lightbulb moment that helps me decide what it is that I want to do with my life?”

  30. 5 out of 5

    CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨

    Woah, woah, WOAH. This is one of the most unique books that I've read - witches in a futuristic setting! - and it was - wow. I was captivated from start to finish. This is dark urban fantasy like I've never read before. - Follows Voya, a Black-Canadian witch, who receives a task from her ancestor: destroy her first love or her whole family will lose their magic forever. - I loved the blend of science-fiction elements with witches. The setting was incredibly unique, and the technology and where it Woah, woah, WOAH. This is one of the most unique books that I've read - witches in a futuristic setting! - and it was - wow. I was captivated from start to finish. This is dark urban fantasy like I've never read before. - Follows Voya, a Black-Canadian witch, who receives a task from her ancestor: destroy her first love or her whole family will lose their magic forever. - I loved the blend of science-fiction elements with witches. The setting was incredibly unique, and the technology and where it will go was creative and fascinating, and the worldbuilding and magic system of witches was so intriguing and, sometimes, terrifying. - This is a high-stakes story that builds slowly. And my goodness, it is good. It takes it time by weaving in several subplots, all coming together and culminating to what Voya does at the end of the book. - This story has a huge emphasis on family - how families are often messy and dysfunctional and fight, but will ultimately be there for you. More though, it's also about how knowing our ancestors is power, community and belonging can also be power too. - Voya was such a good protagonist. She's this teen, trying to figure out what she wants to do in such a challenging and conflicting situation. She's not perfect. She makes plenty of mistakes. But she's trying and doing her best and just wants to do the right thing. I loved her. Content warning: whipping scene in 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

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