Voya Thomas comes from a long line of witches, and if she can pass her calling with one of her ancestors, she will receive her gift and be a full witch as well. However, when paired with Mama Jova, the only ancestor to ever fail a witch, Voya inevitably fails in her first attempt. After Voya begs for a second chance, she gets one. However, the task Mama Jova sets her is not one that a “pure” witch family should ever have to attempt. Mama Jova tasks Voya with killing her first love, and not only is her magic on the line, but her family’s magic is on the line with her. To save her family, Voya will have to do the unthinkable. She has a month to meet and fall in love with a boy she is planning to kill – and finding him becomes a more complicated task than even the indecisive Voya could ever imagine.
This book dropped me right into a state of anticipation because it opens with Voya, 16, anticipating her calling the next day. Voya, who is constantly described by her family as someone who has trouble making decisions, is unsure she will even complete her calling. Her doubt about herself and her abilities plagues her throughout the book. I found myself rooting for her to trust in herself and her abilities, much like her cousins do throughout the book.
Typical calling tasks are always about a choice the new witch must make, and Mama Jova’s seems particularly difficult. Voya does not seem able to understand the importance of what Mama Jova asks. When she fails initially and begs for a second chance, you feel for her and how hard it will be to make these decisions.
Voya has never put romantic interests above the large collective family with which she lives. She is constantly cooking and looking for other ways to be helpful to her family. Voya is unable to decide what she wants in life. For her, her life is tied to her gift and having magic. This fear and uncertainty do not extend to her family. She is constantly pushing her favorite cousin, Keis, who wants to be more than just a witch, to try for the internships that are so important to securing a future.
When it comes to the task of destroying her first love, Voya finds herself struggling with how to go about it, mostly because she has never really thought about life outside of her family home. When she finally meets someone, he is stubborn and rude. At first, she does not know how she can fall in love with this boy; then, Voya finds herself struggling with whether she can go through with the task; even to save her family’s magic.
Blood like Magic is engaging and interesting. The book is set in a future that is plausible to the world in which we currently live. Voya has a love and protective nature of her family that I find endearing in a heroine. The author built a world that draws the reader into it. If you choose to pick up this book and give it a read, you will not be disappointed.
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Margaret K. McElderry Books, for review.