Blood Like Magic

S. & S. Audio. 2021. 1,614p. $29.99. ISBN 9781797130644.
Gr 9 Up–Voya’s family has a long history with magic: everyone is charged with a task before their individual gifts are bestowed by their ancestors. Voya’s task is killing her first love before the end of the month or her family will lose their magic and her sister will lose her life. She has never had a boyfriend, until she is matched with someone in a new genetic relationship matching program. Their first meeting is a disaster, but Voya knows she must fall in love with him so she can eventually kill him, though she and her family hope to find a loophole. Set a few decades in the future in Toronto, genetics and gene manipulation are commonplace while magic is still hidden from the general society. The magical and scientific worlds seamlessly blend together. Characters are well developed, with side-characters having thoughtful backstories. Cousins of Voya identify as trans and queer, which is more accepted in this future society, though one points out that there is still work to do. History of BIPOC people being treated differently is also addressed. Voya, who is Black, says things are better but there are still times when skin color affects how people are treated. The book includes an officer-involved shooting and death of an unarmed Black man. Veteran YA voice actor Joniece Abbott-Pratt provides excellent narration throughout, giving each character a distinct voice that resonates with their personal traits. Unresolved conflicts expertly set readers up for a follow-up book.
VERDICT A good addition to YA audiobook collections and an excellent choice for students who enjoy urban fantasy or a bit of sci-fi combined with their fantasy.

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