ARC Review: Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury

Posted June 13, 2021 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 13 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review: Blood Like Magic by Liselle SamburyBlood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury
Series: Blood Like Magic #1
Published by Margaret K. McElderry on June 15, 2021
Genres: YA Urban Fantasy
Pages: 496
Source: the publisher
Format: ARC
My Rating: five-stars
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A rich, dark urban fantasy debut following a teen witch who is given a horrifying task: sacrificing her first love to save her family’s magic. The problem is, she’s never been in love—she’ll have to find the perfect guy before she can kill him.

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.

My Review:

Of course the synopsis of this immediately grabbed my attention. I mean having to sacrifice your first love to save your family, wow. What a horrible thing for a young girl to have to do. This book lived up to every expectation I had for it. And it surpassed what I had even though I would be reading. The amount of family lore and the mythology of this magical world was so detailed and had so much depth, that I feel I could read more books because there is still so much more to discover. Not only about Voya’s immediate family that she lives with, but also about all the other witch families we meet in this story. Which is one reason the surprise of seeing there is supposed to be a sequel was a very happy surprise for me!

Now, this is an almost 500 page book. And when I first picked it up to get started, I was thinking that could be an issue. But it wasn’t. At all. This book had me turning the pages as fast as I could to find out what would happen next, as well as to learn more about this family and their ancestors. All of the characters had so much to them that I wanted to learn more and see what would happen to them. I will admit to guessing a few things before they happened, but in the end there were even some twists and turns that I did not see coming! Things that I was shocked like Voya, and could see how much she was beating herself up for making the choices she did, even though she’d spent as much time as she could trying to make sure her decision was the best she could do out of all the options! That’s why the end took me a bit to understand exactly what the gift was, but once I did, it was perfect. It wrapped up what all Voya had been dealing with throughout the story.

I really did love this story a lot. I can’t wait to share this one with the students at my new school. And I wish I was still working at the bookstore so that I could have this as my staff recommendation! Maybe they’ll let me come in and do a staff rec for old times sake?

One teeny thing that bothered me, and I’ve mentioned it with other books set in the future or dystopian worlds, is when they use a word for slang. In this it was “hack”. Like instead of the f word or other curse words, they’d say hacking. It was a little annoying because that word really has a meaning that is used a lot.

But to make up for that teeny tiny issue I had, was all the delicious sounding food that was discussed! Real food, things I had to Google, and make a list to get out and try. I must find either a Trinidadian or Caribbean restaurant or festival of some sort to try things like kurma sticks, or bake bread, just to name a few.

About the Author:

Liselle Sambury is a Trinidadian-Canadian author who grew up in Toronto, and her brand of writing can be described as “messy Black girls in fantasy situations.” In her free time, she shares helpful tips for upcoming writers and details of her publishing journey through a YouTube channel dedicated to helping demystify the sometimes complicated business of being an author. She is represented by Kristy Hunter at The Knight Agency.

You can find her at any of these sites and social media:


Twitter: @LiselleSambury



And if you want, you can go back and read my interview with her from last month HERE.

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13 responses to “ARC Review: Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury

    • Lisa Mandina

      It’s so good! And it has some great parts about trans people in the future, and how things might be able to work for them. I highly recommend it!

  1. Danielle Hammelef

    I have this book on my TBR and didn’t know it would also make me hungry! I enjoy when authors add real foods into their books that I can research recipes.

    • Lisa Mandina

      I loved this one so much, and yeah, all the food talk was very hunger-inducing. Hope you get to it soon!

  2. John Smith

    Any book with a witches and witchcraft theme appeals to my sense of fantasy, and the tragic-love element in this sounds like it amps up the drama!

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