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
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.
This is easily one of my favorite reads this year. A science fiction, fantasy book? Sign me up!! The timeline of this book takes place over the course of about a month, but this story absolutely flew by for me. I truly wanted it to be longer. Our MC, Voya, was both frustrating and loveable at the same time. As a Libra, I can absolutely understand her hesitance to make decisions, even easy ones such as choosing what you want your mom to make you for lunch. Voya has just under a month to decide the fate of her family, she can either complete the task bestowed upon her or her family’s lives will change forever. I’m not gonna lie this plot had me stressed the entire time I was reading it. I couldn’t wait to see what Voya ended up choosing in the end.
The blend of science fiction and fantasy elements was a nice surprise. I originally went into this book expecting it to just be about witches and nothing else, but it was so much more than that. We got bodily modification, including bionic eyes, perfect skin, and hair any color you could ever want; we got genetic manipulation that could completely change the way someone’s genes are presented; and we also got common futuristic technology, including computers in everyone’s brains, holographic signs that display anything you could possibly think of, and fully self-driving vehicles. Reading about these elements alongside the blood magic that the magical families possessed made for a very full and rich reading experience.
I really appreciated the rep in this book as well. Our MC is black, multiple characters are trans, there is a character who classifies themselves as demiromantic and a part of the LGBTQ+ community as well. All of this rep in the book is very natural as well. It doesn’t feel forced and I didn’t feel like the author threw all these characters into the story just for the heck of it.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this books for people who loves to read about witches in a modern/future setting. Sambury does a wonderful job of making these different story elements flow together seamlessly and she wrote an ending that I never would’ve guessed. Easily devourable and un-put-down-able, a truly unique and creative book.
Meet the Author
Liselle Sambury is a Trinidadian-Canadian author who grew up in Toronto, and her brand of writing can be described as “messy Black girls in fantasy situations.” In her free time, she shares helpful tips for upcoming writers and details of her publishing journey through a YouTube channel dedicated to helping demystify the sometimes complicated business of being an author. She is represented by Kristy Hunter at The Knight Agency.
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