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 ahbors.
Synopsis source: Goodreads
Thank you to Deborah Falaye for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Whoa. I stayed up until the early morning hours finishing this book and my heart was pounding so much I couldn’t fall asleep afterwards!
First, can we just take a minute to fawn over that cover?? It’s striking and beautiful and strong, and I’m in love with it!
It’s hard not to compare this to Children of Blood and Bone, since both focus on the African mythology of the Yoruba and the Orisha. I confess that I cannot do a comparison of the authenticity of their respective interpretations of this mythology, but several other reviews from those who know better assure us that Blood Scion does it better.
The writing is not particularly beautiful. It is blunt and unpolished, but where at first I thought it was simply because of the author’s inexperience as a writer, I’ve come to believe that it was this way purposefully. The book is written through the lens of Africa’s child soldier crisis, and I think the bold, blunt, in-your-face language only serves to sharpen the focus on the fact that these are children who have been forced to do and endure unspeakable things in a kill-or-be-killed situation. These situations will at best challenge them morally, mentally, emotionally, physically, and psychologically as they navigate those situations and try to reconcile the experiences in a way that preserves their humanity and sense of self-worth. At worst, it will turn them into monsters.
I do think there were some instances where the writing was a bit amateurish, but this is also an uncorrected eARC, so it stands to reason that some of this will be polished up a bit before it’s pub date.
But let’s talk about the story itself now. Restrained magic, prophesies, friendship, angry ancestral spirits, betrayal, UNrestrained magic, Orisha gods…this was a great ride! Ms. Falaye certainly knows how to write a page-turner!
After centuries of oppression, of torment and pain and suffering, they dare judge me for my rage.
The world-building is fantastic. I could see each location the story takes us to very clearly, the scene coming alive in my imagination. From the village where Sloane grows up to the training room with Dane, to the spooky forest of the ancestors, we see everything Sloane sees, feel everything she feels.
The supporting characters are all so real as well, and it was easy to empathize with all of them, all the while wondering which among them was the person Sloane was warned not to trust. In the end, I didn’t see it coming and was completely surprised. In fact, there were several surprises and several false leads.
If I had to pick at anything, it would be the reason that Sloane stated as her primary reason for showing up for her training instead of running away with Theo (not that I think the threat to her Baba and Luna or the Lucis ability to track down deserters left her any other choice, really): she wanted to find out for sure what happened to her mother. I’m not sure I could completely buy that the confirmation of her suspicions would be enough to risk the punishment of getting caught. But she’s 15, so….I don’t know…things that make sense to 15 year olds don’t always make sense to adults and add in the culture, who is to say, really?
Regardless, the story was fantastic and absolutely rivals anything else similar out there right now. However –reader beware–this book will punch you in the gut at times and totally leaves you hanging in the end. But don’t worry, this book is the first part of a duology, so the story isn’t over yet and I for one am eagerly awaiting the second/last book!
This book is set to release in March of 2022 from Harper Teen.
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