Forged by Blood by Ehigbor Okosun (Book 1 of 2)
In the midst of a tyrannical regime and political invasion, Dèmi just wants to survive: to avoid the suspicion of the nonmagical Ajes who occupy her ancestral homeland of Ife; to escape the King’s brutal genocide of her people—the darker skinned, magic wielding Oluso; and to live peacefully with her secretive mother while learning to control the terrifying blood magic that is her birthright.
But when Dèmi’s misplaced trust costs her mother’s life, survival gives way to vengeance. She bides her time until the devious Lord Ekwensi grants her the perfect opportunity—kidnap the Aje prince, Jonas, and bargain with his life to save the remaining Oluso. With the help of her reckless childhood friend Colin, Dèmi succeeds, but discovers that she and Jonas share more than deadly secrets; every moment tangles them further into a forbidden, unmistakable attraction, much to Colin’s—and Dèmi’s—distress.
The kidnapping is now a joint mission: to return to the King, help get Lord Ekwensi on the council, and bolster the voice of the Oluso in a system designed to silence them. But the way is dangerous, Dèmi’s magic is growing yet uncertain, and it’s not clear if she can trust the two men at her side.
A tale of rebellion and redemption, race and class, love and trust and betrayal, Forged by Blood is epic fantasy at its finest, from an enthusiastic, emerging voice.
PUBLISHER: Harper Voyager HarperCollins
LENGTH: 400 pages
Partial Queer Rep Summary: Lesbian/Sapphic Secondary Character(s).
*I received a free review copy in exchange for an honest review of this book.
DNF 24% in.
The worldbuilding is pretty dense and frequently relies on descriptions of visual details in a way that’s hard for me to process due to my aphantasia. Ultimately it didn’t work for me, so I’m stopping.
Graphic/Explicit CW for grief, blood, violence, murder, parental death, death.
Moderate CW for bullying, racial slurs, racism, classism, xenophobia, slavery, confinement, genocide, self harm.
Minor CW for pregnancy, excrement, fire/fire injury, child abuse, kidnapping, medical content, child death.