Thirty years ago, a young woman was murdered, a family was lynched, and New Orleans saw the greatest magical massacre in its history. In the days that followed, a throne was stolen from a queen.
I have come across such a book, dear friends, and I want to share it with you. That book is Blood Debts by Terry J. Benton Walker. Set to be released April 4th, 2023, I was lucky enough to be sent an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Now, I have been following terry on Twitter for a while, and have loved his personality, his jokes, the pictures he’s shares of his adorable son, and the snippets of his writing he has shared with us on there. I had a really good feeling about Blood Debts the more he talked about it, but I was unaware at how blown away I was going to be by this amazing book.
Here’s a link to the synopsis if you are inclined to check it out: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60784432-blood-debts?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=Ti6VIjwKKJ&rank=1
When I picked this book up, I was super excited, but also a tad bit nervous because i was in the midst of a 2 month long reading slump, and I was worried that my mood would affect my experience with this book that I was highly anticipating. I am more than happy to announce that this book gripped me by the throat and single handedly pulled me out of my slump and didn’t let go until the very last page.
“For every child of color who was denied the justice they deserved. You always matter.”
This is the dedication that was in the beginning of the ARC I received of this absolutely phenomenal book, and what an important dedication it is.
This story is a love letter to Black kids as well as an intriguing mystery full of Black magic, family drama, revenge and messiness all blended into the fantastical setting of New Orleans.
It’s been a long time since I have read a book in which every single character has jumped off the page and come alive. Even characters that I was set against felt real, and I understood their complex emotions and reasoning. I fail to see how this book is just a debut; it stands out so well on its own that it feels like a third or fourth book.
I love how Terry always mentions on his socials that this book is for Black readers to feel seen and like this is their story, because this book feels exactly like that. There was some trauma in Blood Debts, but there was also the strong sense of familial bond, the deep intense love that every Black family knows. This family went hard for each other and even during moments when they were at odds with one another, they still had each other’s backs.
So much detail went into this book, from family history to past betrayals to current rivalries. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.
I went through all the emotions reading this book. I was rooting for these characters, crying over them, hyping them and cursing them out all at the same time. Trust me when I say each character in this book is gonna make you feel some type of way.
My favorite thing about this book was how unapologetically Black it was. It was so refreshing to just immerse myself in this story and see myself (specifically my YOUNGER self) in every aspect. i am so excited that younger Black readers get to experience this story and see themselves as well.
I am 100% in support of anything Terry J. Benton writes from here on out; this debut was a masterpiece, and I don’t say that lightly. My only gripe is that I needed the sequel YESTERDAY!
I can’t wait for more of these characters and to get more answers because the ending had me shook to my core.
This is a book I can definitely see flying off the shelves upon its release date, so if you haven’t already already, do yourself a favor and pre order Blood Debts by terry J. Benton Walker (and why not follow him on his socials as well? I promise he’s a lovely human being.).