[Book Nook] ‘Blood Like Magic’ Is A Poignant, Enchanting, And Riveting Dark Urban Fantasy

Book Nook is a little corner of Screen Queens dedicated to books. From book adaptations to book reviews this will be a place for readers of SQ to engage with the oldest form of entertainment, the written word.

Title: Blood Like Magic

Author: Liselle Sambury

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada

Blood Like Magic is an enchanting tale about a young woman finding the strength to stand in her power. The choices we make don’t often just affect us but imagine if one choice, one crucial decision, determines the fate of not just yourself, but your family and legacy. Voya Thomas is given the impossible task of making a deadly choice, but will she be able to get over her indecisiveness when it counts the most? Or will she risk it all for the boy she loves? Liselle Sambury weaves an intricate tale about respecting one’s history, embracing community, and forging a new path. Blood Like Magic is a promising start to deeply personal and affecting sci-fi/fantasy that gives you everything.

Voya is a witch, well, not just yet. She has just had her Calling and is set to undertake a crucial task that will determine whether she has powers or not, and what gift she will be presented with. All seems to go well until Voya meets the ancestor that is meant to present her with her task; a most dreaded ancestor and their task is as impossible as it sounds. Voya must destroy her first love or risk her family’s magic. Just as Voya is at the precipice of great power she meets Luc, a young genius. She is paired with him during a trial of a genetic matchmaking program that pairs you with your one true love. Now faced with choosing her family over her first love, Voya must learn to find the strength within to stand on her own and finally make a choice.

Blood Like Magic is anchored by familial drama. Voya is deeply devoted to her family and is concerned for their well-being. To feel the impact of Voya’s choice (or lack thereof) one needs to feel the familial connections. Sambury beautifully illustrates a tight-knit Black Trinidadian-Canadian family with many secrets and flaws, however, the love they have for each other is a throughline that is never forgotten. Just as we learn more about Voya and become invested in her journey, we become equally invested in her family, especially her cousins Keis, Keisha, and Alex. 

The most moving element of the family dynamics is the unwavering strength and power that lies within the women that give these witches more texture and vibrancy. Each is uniquely drawn with clear voices and motivations. As we explore these familial connections and how each woman relates to each other, Voya’s character arc is strengthened and propelled forward as she is so intrinsically linked to these women and the history of the Thomas family. The balance and care given to writing these characters illustrates just how skilled a writer Sambury is.

In the intro, I said this book has everything, and it truly does. Blood Like Magic is set in a not-too-distant future in Toronto, Canada and witches are alive and well. However, they operate under the radar in a world that is so tapped into biotechnology and the like that it can expose their powers. Sambury seamlessly melds science fiction and fantasy, bringing magic and science together in a way that highlights the two aren’t so different. The book is a romance as Voya embarks on a cute enemies-to-lovers romance with the stoic Luc. This romance is the crux of the novel as Voya is meant to destroy her first love, and lo and behold, Luc certainly fits the bill. To top off the already emotionally heavy novel, Sambury weaves comedy and mystery into her writing effectively creating a mesmerizing and engaging read.

Blood Like Magic is cinematic in its writing. Taking over one’s senses and making you feel every agonizing and triumphant twist and turn of Voya’s journey. Voya is an exceptional protagonist, whose growth is deeply impactful. She is the sort of heroine that will have a hold on your heart for many years. If the characters aren’t enough, then this genre-defying novel has so much more to offer. There is a lot to embrace and what could have easily fallen apart under the sheer weight of the tension and expectations, Sambury leads us to an equally satisfying and devastating end. It’s the kind of end that will have you staring off into the distance, wondering, “how will I survive the wait?” Blood Like Magic is exactly what the first book in a series should be and so much more.

Purchase Blood Like Magic at your local bookshops or find an online vendor here.

by Ferdosa Abdi

Ferdosa (she/her) is a lifetime student of cinema. Three of her current favourite films are: Addams Family Values, Cinderella (2015), and Emma. (2020)On Twitter you can see her support women-led cinema, her ongoing love/hate relationship with Disney, her totally healthy obsession with Eva Green, and her great admiration for Guillermo del Toro.

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