I come to you from the depths of a multi-day streak on Heardle (like Wordle, but with music) and being hopelessly in love with the song “Spiritual” by Pink Sweat$ (linked here) to bring you a review! Check out the rest of the hosts here!
EXTREME CAUTION, this book features many a TW, including: attempted r*pe, death of characters (referenced and on page), gore, and graphic description of murder. PLEASE think of yourself and practice big huge mega caution before diving in to this one, beloved.
This is what they deserve. They wanted me to be a monster. I will be the worst monster they ever created.
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.
Following one girl’s journey of magic, injustice, power, and revenge, this deeply felt and emotionally charged debut from Deborah Falaye, inspired by Yoruba-Nigerian mythology, is a magnetic combination of A Song of Wraiths and Ruin and Daughter of Smoke and Bone that will utterly thrill and capture readers.Synopsis found at Goodreads
This book is heavily influenced and inspired by the War on Children and the pain those kids (some as young as 7 years old) who were forced to become soldiers, endured. Sloane, our main character, has just turned 15 and is now of age to (potentially) be conscripted into the Army to fight. Reader, she gets drafted. And so does one of her best friend, Teo. But Teo doesn’t want to go to war, not for the Lucis, the brutal tyrannous overlords who have taken over the land and now oppress its people. No, Teo wants to flee his homeland and gain sanctuary somewhere else, away from the Lucis. He tried to convince Sloane to come with him — they could run away together and get to live out the rest of the childhood as children should! No fighting, no killing. But Sloane declines. She has a personal vendetta against the Lucis government she’s got to see through.
As the story progresses, we learn that Sloane is a Scion, a descendant of one of the ancient gods of Orisha. She is Yuroba, but has to hide her power and her true heritage for threat of immediate death from the Lucis. Her mother, also Yuroba, has been missing for the past 2 years, and is presumed dead by everyone. Everyone except Sloane.
Having survived the first of many brutal tests of loyalty the Lucis force on her, Sloane is taken to the recruit barracks where yet another tests must be passed before the kids are even shown to their rooms. To borrow from Tyra Banks:
…. And so the herd thins again.
Despite the synopsis depicting Sloane as “rising through the ranks” that doesn’t happen immediately, nor in huge leaps. Sloane gets extremely lucky (as a main character does) to have her Scion secret discovered by not one but TWO (maybe even three) different people who could 100% turn her in…and they don’t.
Sloane makes new friends along the way, and eventually a MEGAHUGE plot twist comes involving Sloane, [redacted], [redacted], AND [redacted]. Trust me, you won’t see it coming.
Overall, this book was a 5 star read for me! But not because it was so amazing (a la Legendborn) but because Falaye has such a good grasp on human emotion and imagery that a few times throughout my read, I cried — quite profusely — for Sloane. I had to hold myself back from vomming with some of the descriptions of death.
Blood Scion was an amazing powerhouse debut, and personally I think it should have been marketed as New Adult due to the graphic nature of violence within. I understand why it wasn’t, but dear readers, please protect yourselves first rather than jump into this book with reckless abandon.
Deborah Falaye is Nigerian Canadian young adult author. She grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, where she spent her time devouring African Literature, pestering her grandma for folktales, and tricking her grandfather into watching Passions every night. When she’s not writing about fierce Black girls with bad-ass magic, she can be found obsessing over all things reality TV. Deborah currently lives in Toronto with her husband and their partner-in-crime yorkie, Major. Blood Scion is Deborah Falaye’s debut novel and released on March 8th from HarperTeen, a division of HarperCollins. You can purchase this book using my Bookshop affiliate link here, or by visiting any of your favorite retailers!
I received a finished copy of Blood Scion from HarperTeen via MBC Communications in exchange for my participation on this tour and for an honest review. Receiving these materials in no way impacted my review.