Black Culture & Identity
CW: Blood, Sacrifice, Violence
When you see this title, know that blood is very prevalent within the book. It’s the root of all magic, and used with intent for spells. It also denotes when a witch can be Called by ancestors and bestowed with their gift. However, things don’t exactly go to plan when Voya fails her Calling immediately and then the second chance she’s given is completely impossible.
Ya’ll know I’m always here for a plot with witches, and this was no exception. Voya lives for her family, and yearns to find her missing best friend as well as reunite the other Black witch clans that live in the Toronto area. I overall really enjoyed the book, and appreciated how LGBTQ+ characters were treated in this near-future timeline. Nonbinary ancestors are typical, and called Bibi rather than Auntie or Uncle. Transitions are mentioned in passing, like any other characteristic.
Author Liselle Sambury describes her writing style as “messy Black girls in fantasy situations” and this phrase is hilarious and incredibly accurate. Voya can see where she’s made mistakes, there’s nothing neatly wrapped up in a bow with last-moment serendipities during any of the crises that arise. While the witch community is relatively hidden from the non-magic community, the entire society is much more heavily tracked genetically, and people can purchase “mods” for their bodies. It’s an interesting blend of science and magic, and I had so many questions about different offhand comments that Voya made about daily life. I really enjoyed the story arc overall, and am pretty much ready to start checking for witch symbols everywhere now.
This book was kindly sent by Simon & Schuster, but all opinions and decisions to review were my own.
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.