Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye

*Spoiler free*

Thank you so much to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

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.

I’m not sure what drew me to this book, either the title or a brief synopsis somewhere, but I knew I wanted to read it. I mean, Blood Scion is an incredible title, so of course I was interested in what it was going to be about. And that cover, oh my gosh, that cover, it’s gorgeous. About a girl who is fighting within the army she hates with her entire being, trying to destroy, but risks losing herself. It sounded incredible. Trigger warnings: sexual abuse, mentions of rape, torture, racism, violence, genocide, colonization, blood

This book is absolutely brutal and absolutely brilliant. It’s ‘give it the budget of GoT and watch it become better than that show ever could have been”. It’s “plaster posters of this book everywhere”. It’s so good. It’s so, so good.

To start off, this book is horrifying, brutal, and graphic. It’s doesn’t shy away from the atrocities it depicts at all. That said, nothing is done for shock value. Violence is not there for the sake of violence. This is a story about child soldiers, the loss of morality, oppression, colonization, and war. It’s a book the examines the horrors of each of them, and the absolute destruction they can wreck. This book feels like a gut punch that burns throughout the entire book, but it’s one that isn’t there for the sake of burning. It’s there because it needs to be.

I will say, I was surprised at just how graphic this book was. I actually thought I would think that it should have been Adult when I finished it, but I do think this book is firmly YA, and it’s a good thing it is. While the content is graphic, the writing firmly fits in the YA category. Plus, the way the plot is structured, really the whole point of the book, is that these horrors are forced upon children. Sloane is fifteen. It’s a bloody, violent YA book, but it’s a YA book all the way through.

Speaking of the writing, it was FANTASTIC. The way it flowed, and wrung every drop of emotion out of every scene. It created an emotional buoyancy to everything, and I know that’s weird, but it’s true.

I fell in love with the characters. I love Sloane. Her journey is one that is filled with pain, but the fleeting moments of joy she is able to carve out where so, so great. She has so much fight in her, and so much she wants to do. She aches for survival, for revenge, for freedom, for life.

And the side characters, oh my gosh, they felt so real, and so full, and I loved them so much. And I grew to love them. I didn’t think I would, but I fell completely in love with them.

The need, the yearning for survival is also another thing I loved about this book. It’s messy, and not morally correct. It’s bloody, and violent, and sometimes even bitter.

A lot of my thoughts come from spoiler places. This book isn’t afraid to do anything.

Honestly, my jaw was dropped most of the way through this book. It’s a fantastic, spectacular fantasy (with a thin thread of underlying scifi), that is going to stun and entrance everybody. I loved it a whole lot.

Blood Scion comes out March 8, 2022! You can add it on Goodreads and pre-order a copy in the meantime!

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