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Blood Debts (Blood Debts)
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Blood Debts (Blood Debts)

Series: Blood Debts (1)

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1936141,468 (3.86)1
Fantasy. Young Adult Fiction. LGBTQIA+ (Fiction.) HTML:

This program features multicast narration.
GODS MEDDLE AND MAGIC WILL BETRAY YOU, BUT THIS TIME JUSTICE WILL REIGN.
Terry J. Benton-Walker's contemporary fantasy debut, Blood Debts, is "an extravaganza from start to finish" (Chloe Gong) with powerful magical families, intergenerational curses, and deadly drama in New Orleans.

Most Anticipated from Buzzfeed, BookPage, Nerd Daily, and more. Featured on NPR Weekend Edition Sunday.

"A conjuring of magnificence." â??Nic Stone

  • "A force." â??Roseanne A. Brown
    • "An extravaganza." â??Chloe Gong
    • "Powerful." â??Ayana Gray
    • "Sings with hope and rage." â??TJ Klune
    • "An unforgettable thrill ride." â??J. Elle
    • "Steeped in magic." â??Alexis Henderson
    • "Crackles with mystery and ferocity." â??Mark Oshiro
      Thirty years ago, a young woman was murdered, a family was lynched, and New Orleans saw the greatest magical massacre in its history. In the days that followed, a throne was stolen from a queen.
      On the anniversary of these brutal events, Clement and Cristina Trudeauâ??the sixteen-year-old twin heirs to the powerful, magical, dethroned familyâ??are mourning their father and caring for their sick mother. Until, by chance, they discover their mother isn't sickâ??she's cursed. Cursed by someone on the very magic council their family used to rule. Someone who will come for them next.
      Cristina, once a talented and dedicated practitioner of Generational magic, has given up magic for good. An ancient spell is what killed their father and she was the one who cast it. For Clement, magic is his lifeline. A distraction from his anger and pain. Even better than the random guys he hooks up with.
      Cristina and Clement used to be each other's most trusted confidant and friend, now they barely speak. But if they have any hope of discovering who is coming after their family, they'll have to find a way to trust each other and their family's magic, all while solving the decades-old murder that sparked the still-rising tensions between the city's magical and non-magical communities. And if they don't succeed, New Orleans may see another massacre. Or worse.
      â?? "Riveting and relevant." â??Kirkus Reviews, starred review
      A Macmillan Audio productio
      … (more)
  • Member:ariel1234987
    Title:Blood Debts (Blood Debts)
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    Blood Debts by Terry J. Benton-Walker

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    » See also 1 mention

    Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
    Wow. I am still digesting just how incredible this story was. I adored the magic woven in with history. The New Orleans setting made this feel so beautifully eerie. Our two main characters risk everything to try to solve what happened to their family 30 years ago. Clem and Cris are an absolutely brilliant pair to follow. I cannot wait to get my a copy of the sequel coming out soon! ( )
      Nlwilson607 | Jan 24, 2024 |
    I enjoyed listening to this book and I am really excited to read the next book in the series when it is released. I like that Cris and Clem are able to get the family back together to save their mom. I am hopeful that the family will be better at working together in future books and stop letting secrets keep them apart.

    Narrators Torian Brackett, Bahni Turpin, Zeno Robinson, Joniece Abbott-Pratt all did a great job bringing this book to life and I hope they narrate the remaining books planned for this book series. ( )
      Shauna_Morrison | Apr 16, 2023 |
    I love the idea, concept, and setting but couldn't fully immerse myself into the story. Overall, a good read. If you're a fan of YA novels settings with voodoo and hexes. It started off really fun and exciting but definitely slowed down.
      nicole.rivera | Mar 31, 2023 |
    Blood Debts by Terry J. Benton-Walker is a tricky novel to review. On the one hand, it is a story about intergenerational magic, revenge, and power that is dark, dangerous, and seductive. On the other hand, the execution of the story could be more masterful than the plot suggests. There is much to love and, unfortunately, a lot that would make a reader set it aside unfinished. What you think about the book depends on your patience and willingness to ignore some unfortunate prose for a great plot. Myself, I struggled until the story engrossed me enough to be able to ignore its faults.

    To say that Mr. Benton-Walker’s writing style is simplistic is to understate the issue. The problem with Blood Debts is that it reads like a young teenager, still in the throes of puberty young, wrote it. No matter their age, every character sounds like a whiny teenager complaining about not getting their way. While this makes sense for Clement and Cristina, who actually are teenagers struggling to find their identities, school bullies, boyfriends, mean girls, and other high school drama, it makes less sense for the adults in their lives. Even the oldest character sounds a bit like Regina George, crowing at her power over the entire school, or in this case, the council. In addition, each sentence is as basic as you can get. While it makes for easy reading, it does not make for the best descriptions. Mr. Benton-Walker’s metaphors and similes are too prosaic and less poetic. It makes Blood Debts feel clinical, dry, and dull when the plot is anything but that.

    Where Mr. Benton-Walker excels is his story. There is something magical about any story set in New Orleans, which he uses to his advantage. In Blood Debts, he takes NOLA back from Anne Rice’s vampires and brings the focus back to the true magical heart of the area, its long history of magic in the hands of its Black citizens. In this case, it is the intergenerational magic given to formerly enslaved people by their gods as a way to break free from their oppressors. With its roots in Hoodoo, Voodoo, Haitian Vodou, and European witchcraft, the magic the Trudeau family practices is unlike what we usually expect when we hear the word “witch.” Theirs is darker, more dangerous, and more prone to cause harm to the person casting the spell as much as to the intended recipient.

    The other impressive aspect of Blood Debts is that Mr. Benton-Walker highlights his characters’ failings and uses them as character development tools for them to learn and grow. In Clement’s case, he must overcome his severe anxiety and the trauma he feels upon the death of his father and his mother’s failing health. While it happens more often, a novel in which a character’s mental health is not just a convenient plot device but rather an integral part of the character itself is still rare. For all his writing faults, Mr. Benton-Walker makes Clement a likable character because of his mental illness and not despite it. Through Clement, we understand what it feels like to suffer severe anxiety, and we rejoice when he stops letting it hinder his ability to obtain his goals.

    I like Blood Debts by Terry J. Benton-Walker. The story is dark and bloody, and revenge stories never get old. Where I struggled, and where I see many people struggling, is with Mr. Benton-Walker’s writing style. It does not match the nuanced and complex story he builds. Every voice is too immature, and each sentence reads like a middle-grade English textbook. Given that, I am still deciding whether to continue the series. I want to discover what happens to Clement and Cristina, but I wonder if I should put myself through the writing issues again. ( )
    1 vote jmchshannon | Mar 18, 2023 |
    Let me start off by saying that I love the cover for Blood Debts, though it did make me think it was going to be historical fantasy rather than contemporary given how the two characters are dressed. But still, A+ cover!!

    Now on to the actual review. Blood Debts is about two teens, twins Cris and Clem, whose grandmother once ruled the Generational magic council in New Orleans, but was accused of murdering a white woman and lynched thirty years ago. They grew up with their parents and a whole lot of aunts, but after their father died a year ago the aunts all left and neither sibling is dealing well. Cris has given up magic, thinking she is at fault for her fathers death, and Clem is lonely, anxious and depressed, and dates various guys without letting himself ever get close. But what if their grandmother was framed for the murder, and their family should still be ruling the gen magic council?? Throw in a reclusive necromancer, a showboat with some major showdowns, and an answer trapped in the mind of a girl who's been crossed, as well as the family of the new ruling queen and a serious quest for revenge, there's excitement and drama for sure.

    I really liked the concept of the book, but I think it suffered a bit from trying to tackle too many intense subjects and storylines in one volume. I never felt like we learned enough about any of the various plots and subplots, as one would be dropped for a bit to focus on another, and then yet another would come up seemingly out of nowhere. This also makes the pace of the first half of the book rather slow, as various elements all have to separately develop. The pace of the second half is much better, and the main storyline is resolved at least.

    The magic system was really interesting, and the setting of New Orleans was an excellent backdrop. In fact I am sorry we did not get to see more of the magic use, though that is for a reason in the book. And without spoilers there is some pretty significant magic usage during the last quarter.

    One significant thing that I did not love was the relationships between most of the characters. Their family has all fallen out with each other, and I was expecting Clem and Cris especially to be learning to work together and overcome what separated them in the past. However this doesn't happen for most of the book, so mostly its two siblings who don't get along well and their dysfunctional family who also don't get along well. The villians are also pretty much one hundred percent awful without nuance, even Cris's ex-best friend, the daughter of the current gen council Queen. We get a few chapters from her perspective which I think are meant to humanize her but mostly it was like, here is an awful person who has also happened to have some bad things happen to her. There were also a couple chapters from a minor characters perspective and I am honestly unsure of their purpose at all. Perhaps that will become clear in the next book.

    The end of the book is also very surprisingly violent. I was not really prepared for it to be quite that brutal. So just a heads up there for anyone who may be a little squeamish.

    All in all, a decent but not amazing debut. I don't regret reading it but I probably won't remember to look out for the sequel. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review. ( )
      oceancat | Mar 3, 2023 |
    Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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    Fantasy. Young Adult Fiction. LGBTQIA+ (Fiction.) HTML:

    This program features multicast narration.
    GODS MEDDLE AND MAGIC WILL BETRAY YOU, BUT THIS TIME JUSTICE WILL REIGN.
    Terry J. Benton-Walker's contemporary fantasy debut, Blood Debts, is "an extravaganza from start to finish" (Chloe Gong) with powerful magical families, intergenerational curses, and deadly drama in New Orleans.

    Most Anticipated from Buzzfeed, BookPage, Nerd Daily, and more. Featured on NPR Weekend Edition Sunday.

    "A conjuring of magnificence." â??Nic Stone

    "A force." â??Roseanne A. Brown "An extravaganza." â??Chloe Gong "Powerful." â??Ayana Gray "Sings with hope and rage." â??TJ Klune "An unforgettable thrill ride." â??J. Elle "Steeped in magic." â??Alexis Henderson "Crackles with mystery and ferocity." â??Mark Oshiro
    Thirty years ago, a young woman was murdered, a family was lynched, and New Orleans saw the greatest magical massacre in its history. In the days that followed, a throne was stolen from a queen.
    On the anniversary of these brutal events, Clement and Cristina Trudeauâ??the sixteen-year-old twin heirs to the powerful, magical, dethroned familyâ??are mourning their father and caring for their sick mother. Until, by chance, they discover their mother isn't sickâ??she's cursed. Cursed by someone on the very magic council their family used to rule. Someone who will come for them next.
    Cristina, once a talented and dedicated practitioner of Generational magic, has given up magic for good. An ancient spell is what killed their father and she was the one who cast it. For Clement, magic is his lifeline. A distraction from his anger and pain. Even better than the random guys he hooks up with.
    Cristina and Clement used to be each other's most trusted confidant and friend, now they barely speak. But if they have any hope of discovering who is coming after their family, they'll have to find a way to trust each other and their family's magic, all while solving the decades-old murder that sparked the still-rising tensions between the city's magical and non-magical communities. And if they don't succeed, New Orleans may see another massacre. Or worse.
    â?? "Riveting and relevant." â??Kirkus Reviews, starred review
    A Macmillan Audio productio

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