Blood Debts by Terry J. Benton-Walker
Xolo Score 4.25/5
Trudeau twins Clement and Cristina are descendants of the once-powerful Queen of New Orleans’ Generational Magic Council. Clement is devoted to practicing his ancestral magic, while Cristina swore off conjuring after their father’s tragic death. Until they find out their mother’s sudden illness wasn’t incidental but a curse meant to take out the Trudeau family slowly. Clement and Cristina immediately seek answers and dig deep into solving a generation-old mystery.
*** SPOILERS AHEAD ***
Through the twins’ relationship with their family’s magic, Blood Debts explores themes of generational trauma and resilience. The Generational (Gen) Magic Clement and Cristina inherit is an integral part of their culture that has deep roots in New Orleans’s racial history. Cristina has to constantly explain to her oblivious and culture-appropriating boyfriend that Gen Gods created Gen Magic to survive colonization, slavery, and lynchings. These magical powers have given the Trudeaus strength to persist. Still, it caused the traumatic lynching of their beloved grandmother and queen – “Cristine wasn’t just our queen, she was the keystone of our magical community. And those pale devils took her away from us. They destroyed your future before you were even born.”
Blood Debts is intentional about demonstrating complexities across the many Black characters of the novel. The Trudeau family members are all doing their best to live a happy life after Cristine’s murder. And they must find a way to stand up to fellow Gen Magic conjurors who want to eradicate the family. But no matter what the different conjurors believe is best for preserving their magic, they all stand together against outsiders’ dangerous infatuations with their heritage.
However, by intentionally including many complex characters and their narrative points of view, Blood Debts’ plot is chaotic at times. So many harrowing events happen across different characters in a short amount of time. Fortunately, there will be a sequel to the novel where hopefully, the author doesn’t have to rush the critical nuances of the story’s plot and characters.
Twins with a deep, magical, dark family history seek blood and justice in this spellbinding YA Fantasy set in New Orleans.
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To what extent are there BIPOC leading characters or perspectives?
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