Title: Blood Scion
Series: Blood Scion #1
Author: Deborah Falaye
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: March 8th, 2022 (HarperTeen)
Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Sloane can incinerate an enemy at will – she is a Scion, a descendant of the ancient Orisha gods.
Under the Lucis’ brutal rule, her identity means her death if her powers are discovered. But when she is forcibly conscripted into the Lucis army on her fifteenth birthday, Sloane sees a new opportunity: to overcome the bloody challenges of Lucis training, and destroy them from within.
Sloane rises through the ranks and gains strength but, in doing so, risks something greater: losing herself entirely, and becoming the very monster that she abhors.
In a society ruled by the cruel Lucis, anyone found to be a Scion, a descendant of the Orisha, is immediately put to death. Sloane has spent her whole life concealing her abilities, which allow her to summon fire, but when at fifteen, she is drafted into the Lucis army, she has no choice but to train alongside the very people who would kill her in a moment if they knew who she was.However, she sees it as an opportunity to gain some valuable information about her mother who disappeared years ago and possibly bring down the Lucis from within. The training is brutal, yet Sloane persists, rising through the ranks, but can she overcome the challenges placed in her path without becoming one of the monsters she has always despised?
“You have to decide what matters most: your humanity or your survival.”
Given how much hype there was around this book earlier in the year, I was a little nervous to pick it up despite the intriguing synopsis, but luckily, this turned out to be one of those situations where the hype is definitely warranted! I really enjoyed the author’s narrative style which was truly immersive and made the world come alive. The world, based on Yoruba mythology and folklore, made for a rich and intriguing setting and the vivid descriptions and the riveting plot made this an unputdownable read. The magic system too, was really interesting and I’m hoping to see a little more information in this area in the sequel. This story did not lack for unexpected twists, though some were more predictable than others. With the main character in such a precarious position however, it was hard to figure out as a reader which of the other characters we met were trustworthy, and it made the book all that much more fun to read.
Sloane was a good protagonist, easy to root for, and it was great to discover this world through her eyes. Undoubtedly a survivor, Sloane perseveres through some horrific experiences as a child soldier and never stops fighting even as she uncovers secrets which lead back directly to her past and who she is. I did however find her to be kind of gullible at times, and given how she has had to hide her identity and abilities all her life, she should not have been nearly so trusting of others merely because they claimed to be on the same side as her. Nonetheless, she was a complex and layered character, and her arc was well written. It will be interesting to see how her character evolves going forward, especially given the events at the end of this book.
I didn’t really come across anything I didn’t like in this book, but I want to mention that it does get rather violent at times, more so than I’ve come to expect for a novel in the YA spectrum. The characters are supposed to be fifteen, child soldiers, but they read as much older than that, so there were times I felt like YA might not be the best classification for this. Then again, The Hunger Games are still considered YA, and this was on a comparable scale with a similar vibe.
I was definitely expecting a twist in the final chapters, especially as things had been going just a little too well and according to the plan for a while, but I certainly didn’t predict those shocking reveals! The ending left me with many unanswered questions and just the right amount of suspense and cliffhanger that the next book will be among my most anticipated titles for next year (at least I hope it’s next year). With how sophisticated the narrative felt and how smoothly the story flowed, it’s hard to believe that this is a debut novel. Perfectly paced and action-packed, this book was a thoroughly enjoyable read and I’m very much looking forward to the sequel. Highly recommended for fantasy fans!
Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series: