Review of ‘Blood Like Magic’

A compelling urban fantasy, Blood Like Magic focuses on the present without sight of the past and the injustices based on power, sexuality, gender, and skin color.

Compelling Storytelling

Blood Like Magic

Blood Like Magic
Liselle Sambury
Margaret K. McElderry Books

Blood Like Magic is a richly told urban fantasy that pulls together the past to create a new and compelling debut novel. It is incredible to think of this novel as a debut because the writing is so powerful, pulling the past forward to highlight the injustices that continue.

The story follows Voya, a young girl from a witch family who just got her calling – the moment where the ancestors gift her power. She just needs to pass a test, and then she is all set. That is until her task is to sacrifice her first love.

Voya has to constantly straddle this line of morality, questioning whether she can destroy one life to save another. It puts her position into perspective because she is a young black woman with power, making her dangerous to some. But Voya has a code, she has hope, and while her indecisive nature makes others look down at her, it is her greatest strength.

Voya’s indecisive nature gives her perspective. She can look at a situation and come up with various alternatives. It is what saves her and her family, this ability to find creative ways to solve a problem.

Furthermore, the story gives the reader much to think about. While the reader sees Voya think outside the box and grapple with the tough decisions she is forced to make; the reader also sees the past.

There are some brutal scenes in the novel, scenes depicting the cruel brutality that is slavery. These scenes should hurt; they should make the reader feel uncomfortable because we should never forget the past atrocities or be doomed to repeat them.

And Blood Like Magic is about uncovering the secrets of the past and learning from them.

Final Thoughts

There is so much about Blood Like Magic that was amazing. From the way it moved, the way it captured the pain of the past and brought it to life, using it as a teaching moment for readers. Injustices continue for people of color, and it is essential to highlight that. Voya and her family keep their magic secret so that they are not exploited as their ancestors were. But the story is about more than that.

The way Blood Like Magic was diverse, never letting anyone just be a “sidekick,” and highlight how unfair society is to people of color and transgender people or anyone in the LGBTQ+ community. It is incredible how Sambury was able to highlight those injustices and inequality by giving readers an incredibly diverse cast of characters. I loved it; every minute, every page was full of thoughtful storytelling and powerful characterization.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Product Details:

Pub Date: June 15, 2021Page Count: 496ppAge Range: 14 & Over
ISBN: 978-1-5344-6528-2Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry BooksList Price: $19.99

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Blood Like Magic


Writing Quality


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"Couldn't Put It Down"-ness


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  • Diverse.
  • Impactful & thoughtful storytelling.
  • Good pace.
  • Good world-building.
  • #BlackGirlMagic

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