Young Adult Fantasy Novels Featuring Black Girls: Background information when reading Blood Like Magic

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Blood Like Magic

Book 1

by Liselle Sambury

Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury X
Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2021, 496 pages

    Paperback:
    Jul 2022, 512 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Althea Draper
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About this Book

Young Adult Fantasy Novels Featuring Black Girls

This article relates to Blood Like Magic

Print Review

An exciting addition to young adult fantasy, Liselle Sambury's Blood Like Magic is a thrilling story of a Black teenage girl discovering her magical powers in a genre that has been disproportionately filled with white main characters for a long time. There are now plenty of fantastic young adult books out there where Black girls are no longer relegated to being side characters and are instead able to flourish in their own magical ways.

Young Adult Fantasy Novels Featuring Black Girls

One of the leaders in this new wave of YA fantasy is Tomi Adeyemi, and it would be remiss to create this list without mentioning her well-loved debut novel, Children of Blood and Bone. Taking inspiration from West African mythology, the book is an action-packed story following Zélie — a maji (someone who can do magic) with bright white hair who has the power to command undead spirits. She must join forces with a rebellious princess to return magic to the land of Orïsha after an iron-hearted king found a way to mute all magical abilities, killing Zélie's mother in the process.

Much like Blood Like Magic, the exciting urban fantasy novel The Black Veins by Ashia Monet features strong bonds between characters. The novel follows Blythe, who is not at all bothered by the fact that she is one of seven people on Earth to have apocalyptic powers, and spends her days working in her family's coffee shop. But when her family is kidnapped and political tensions reach an all-time high, Blythe takes matters into her own hands, heading out on a road trip to find the other six magic-wielders — the Guardians — and to put things right.

For readers who love the urban fantasy genre and would enjoy a fresh look at a well-loved tale, Legendborn by Tracy Deonn is a new take on Arthurian legend. It follows 16-year-old Bree, who, on her first night at a residential summer camp at a prestigious university, witnesses a magical attack on a student. The head of the university's secret magical society fails to wipe Bree's memories of the night, and she discovers that she has powers of her own, powers that might help her figure out details of what happened to her mother when she died in an accident — but Bree won't get that far if the magical war looming on the horizon breaks out first.

Similar to the Bleeding ceremony Voya goes through in Blood Like Magic, a blood ceremony in The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna determines whether Deka will become part of her village or not. During the ceremony, it is revealed that her blood is gold, signaling impurity. When a woman arrives at the village offering Deka an alternative to her damning, Deka takes it, joining an army of girls just like her — the alaki.

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Article by Althea Draper

This "beyond the book article" relates to Blood Like Magic. It originally ran in August 2021 and has been updated for the July 2022 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

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