Book Reviews

Review: Blood Debts by Terry J. Benton-Walker

Blood Debts is captivating. I had such high hopes for it based on the synopsis, cover, and announcement. But this is one of those books which I found excuses to come back to. Normally I have a very strict reading schedule, but this had me breaking that! Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


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 Trudeau—the sixteen-year-old twin heirs to the powerful, magical, dethroned family—are mourning their father and caring for their sick mother. Until, by chance, they discover their mother isn’t sick—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.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: sexism, homophobia

Blood Debts will capture your heart. With a focus on intergenerational secrets and mystery, the short chapters will leave you telling yourself, “just one more” until you’re done. This fantasy has one of the most compelling and intriguing magic systems. I am amazed at the depth of the world, the magic, and the history of the magic within these pages. I can’t pick what I loved more, the action or the characters. But the action, the way the twists and secrets are revealed, seem masterful.

I was not expecting some of these twists which all speak to what we will do for family. For those people who only anger us the way family can. The ones we want to prove ourselves to above all else. Those mistakes, fights, and resentment which can be put aside to save our family. Blood Debts is full of complex relationships of all sorts. Friendships that break under the strain, or relationships that fight against fear, and family which fail to see us for who we are.

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History lives on, the grudges and events of that night echo to the present. And the level of family politics, ghosts of the past, and politics in Blood Debts is fascinating. Blood Debts examines the dangerous and deadly power of magic and revenge. What people will do to get a taste of what is denied to them. What they think they deserve. It’s also about how we get justice in a system stacked against them. With loopholes that never apply to us. If you’re looking for your next fantasy obsession, you have to check out Blood Debts. Find Blood Debts on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon, Indiebound,, & The Book Depository.


What is the last book you read where you read more than you thought you would in one sitting?

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