Book Review: Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury

Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury

Posted July 19, 2021 by Amber in Reviews / 0 Comments

Blood Like Magic

Blood Like Magic

by Liselle Sambury

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books on June 15, 2021
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Target Age Group: Young Adult
Representation: Asian, BIPOC, Black, Own Voices Author
Content Warnings: Abandonment, Blood, Death, Death of Parent, Drug Use, Eating Disorder, Kidnapping, Slavery

Rating: ★★★★★

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After years of waiting for her Calling—a trial every witch must pass in order to come into their powers—the one thing Voya Thomas didn’t expect was to fail. When Voya’s ancestor gives her an unprecedented second chance to complete her Calling, she agrees—and then is horrified when her task is to kill her first love. And this time, failure means every Thomas witch will be stripped of their magic.

Voya is determined to save her family’s magic no matter the cost. The problem is, Voya has never been in love, so for her to succeed, she’ll first have to find the perfect guy—and fast. Fortunately, a genetic matchmaking program has just hit the market. Her plan is to join the program, fall in love, and complete her task before the deadline. What she doesn’t count on is being paired with the infuriating Luc—how can she fall in love with a guy who seemingly wants nothing to do with her?

With mounting pressure from her family, Voya is caught between her morality and her duty to her bloodline. If she wants to save their heritage and Luc, she’ll have to find something her ancestor wants more than blood. And in witchcraft, blood is everything.


Blood Like Magic takes place in a world only a few decades ahead of ours. Sciences has expanded to deep genetic analysis and modification and these things are amazing for those who can afford them, which does not include Voya Thomas’s family.  The Thomas family has their own set of problems – specifically Voya’s Task to destroy her first love.  It’s an unthinkable requirement for Voya to become a witch, and when she’s genetically matched to one of the head of NuGene’s sponsor kids, things get even more complicated.

In Blood Like Magic, we watch Voya Thomas face a serious of impossible choices.  We see her surrounded by family that is well-meaning but flawed, and by neighbors that are superficial but they generally all stick together.  The community, the magic, and the tech were all interesting to me, but the complex multi-level family relationships made Blood Like Magic particularly good.  I loved it.

Voya has a huge family, and sometimes, it was challenging to keep track of everyone.  I both applaud and bemoan Sumbury’s choice to name two different characters Keisha.  For the most part, I was able to keep track of who was who and who did what… although admittedly I sometimes had to slow myself down in the scenes that contained both Keishas.  The large cast of characters is something to prepare yourself for, but there is only one POV and that belongs to Voya.

The world is close enough to our own that the technological advances don’t feel leaps and bound ahead, a common flaw of futuristic sci-fi.  I thought NuGene was interesting for the little times we spent learning about the company and its technology.  I thought the Thomas family’s magic was even more interesting.  Blood Like Magic focuses heavily on Voya’s story, since this is her Coming-Of-Age ritual.  But there are so many interesting people in her family, all with their own gifts, and there are scores of ancestors with stories as well.  Not only is the magic system interesting, there are so many individuals who have potential for bigger stories.  I hope Sambury pursues them – there is already confirmation for the next book in the series next year, so we’ll see where she takes it.

Absolutely 100% pick up this book is you like Black girl magic, tech-related sci-fi, witchy vibes, family relationships, or messy YA stories.  Blood Like Magic is entirely a fantastic book.  I enjoyed reading it and look forward to the next one!

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★★★

5 Star Rating


Blood Like Magic Stays on the Shelf

I very much enjoyed reading Blood Like Magic.  Because of all the characters involved in the story, I’m sure I missed some details about the plot or the characters that multiple readings would reveal.  There’s a lot going on, but it’s also a wonderful adventure.  I feel like in this first reading, I was more focused on the tech aspects and of course trying to figure out the ending (without peeking)… I think I missed a lot of the witchy bits so I’m looking forward to revisiting that.


What would you be willing to do to get a magical gift?  Would you be willing to sacrifice someone?  Would you be willing to sacrifice yourself?  Let me know in the comments!

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