Last year, I read T.J. Young and the Orishas, through which I was introduced to a pantheon of gods I knew little about and greatly enjoyed getting to know. So when I started reading Blood Scion, I was thrilled to discover many familiar characters and words that carried over from T.J. Young. However, this book is much darker and written for a more mature audience, focusing on some challenging subject matter while incorporating magic and the innate power humans can wield. Sloane Shade is a character with many sides, and her story is one that will keep readers on the edge of their seats and considering her actions long after the book ends. Please see my full review below!
When fear and desperation rule the behavior of a society, the people within that society will always be divided. Sloane Shade has a secret—one that will get her killed if she is ever found out. Her people are ruled by the Lucis, a domineering military group focused on eradicating the world of Scions, or those born with ancient Orisha magic. With the arrival of her fifteenth birthday, Sloane is drafted into the army and forced to become the kind of monster she has feared for her entire life, whether she wants to or not. Danger and peril come at her from every direction, and she must decide whether she will bend to the will of others or choose to defy that will in favor of the greater good.
This intense story is a captivating and high-stakes adventure for young adult readers. Taking place in a dystopic future setting, relics of the past nonetheless make themselves known throughout the narrative. Orisha gods and Yoruba language fill Sloane’s memory and awareness, anchoring her to the lives of her ancestors who came before. Similarly, parallels to slavery and oppression appear at several moments within the story, reminding readers of the dangers of reigniting past events. Blended in with all this is deeply-rooted magic that Sloane herself is attempting to understand, which adds a dynamic complexity to this tale.
Much like The Hunger Games and Divergent, this story features characters who must decide whether or not to trust one another and who ultimately suffer great losses at the hands of ruthless and unfeeling leaders. Sloane actively opposes the actions of the Lucis, yet she balances this ire with the need to keep herself and those she loves alive. There are never easy answers, and Sloane frequently shifts her behavior in order to survive her reality. With pain comes strength, though, and Sloane begins to transform into a young woman with more power and possibility than she initially believes.
The first in its series, this book will keep readers on the edge of their seats as each chapter leads easily into the next. Due to the intensity of the narrative, it is best suited to more mature young adult readers who can manage scenes of suffering and death. Many layers comprise this story, each of which engages readers in a thoughtful contemplation of Sloane, her circumstances, and whether she will ever find peace. Filled with complex relationships and even more controversial subject matter, this book is one that will resonate with readers because of its raw and visceral delivery. This is a powerful young adult debut, and readers will anxiously await the arrival of the second installment.
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