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BLOOD SCION by Deborah Falaye

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.

Title : Blood Scion
Author : Deborah Falaye
Series : Blood Scion (book one)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 432
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : HarperTeen
Release Date : March 8, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★

Hollis’ 3 star review

I’m going to ask you to slide on right by this review because I definitely think I’m going to be an outlier on this one.

Truthfully, the only reason I picked this up was because I attended an event and saw the author pitch it. The pitch immediately hooked me and it was one of the books I was most interested in once the event had wrapped, which was pretty impressive considering I hadn’t even heard of it until that moment. So, naturally, I was excited to receive a copy. I did enter with a bit of trepidation as I think I’ve got one foot out the door when it comes to YA but every now and then they still surprise me and blow me away. I hoped this would be one of those.

Therefore, with those prefaces out of the way, let’s dive in.

The bare bones of this story, and many of the details that echo the real world, including the rich history based on the author’s own Yoruba culture, was both lovely and rich and completely unfiltered in an unflinching way. This book handles, and describes, dark themes and darker events; from the eradication of the people of this world and the accompanying revisionist history in the victor’s favour, to abuse and assault, to the drafting of child soldiers to fight and kill their own, and so much more. I thought it was all so well done (brutal, but well done). I also liked the magic system based around the Orisha gods even though we only got a little taste of this (hoping for more in book two!).

Where, for me, this failed was in the details, the pacing, and unfortunately the romance.

I was constantly losing track of the time that was passing (or, rather, not passing, as this takes place over the course of a month and yet felt like it should’ve maybe been six). I felt sometimes the details just weren’t enough on some parts, too much on others, and while I am not advocating for more horrors, I do feel like certain things just got glossed over and we didn’t sit with them to truly feel the impact. Which I think also applies to the romance. In some ways it came out of nowhere (though in others it was hard not to spot coming down the pipeline) but while there was some build, I don’t think there was enough. The foundation for it was made of clay. And, again, the timing of it all. I was also frustrated by Sloane’s behaviour towards this particular character (basically from the word go) when she should’ve been acting very differently. This just didn’t align. And maybe it’s just one of those things we’re supposed to accept but.. yeah, I never did.

My one other little gripe was that while I have no issue with Sloane, and her friends, being fifteen, I do have issue with how she felt (ie, read) so much older. I absolutely respect her circumstances, and life in this world in general, would age people differently but it just felt a little discordant.

And as for the big climatic events near the end.. I’m just perplexed. I just don’t feel it worked very well after everything that came before it. Having said all that, I almost forgot to mention that I did really like one of the reveals near the end — but did not appreciate the other one. If you know you know.

Overall, I found the first half of the book to be much stronger than the latter half, but in general I found the writing to be good; especially for a debut. I will absolutely be reading the sequel (yay for duologies!). Also, as always, and while it should go without saying by now, please check out reviews from other readers and take this particular one with a grain of salt.

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

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