magic, monsters, and martyrs | forged by blood by ehigbor okosun

by - 5:00 PM

Forged by Blood is a fantasy adventure from debut author Ehigbor Okosun that follows Dèmi as she experiences the prejudices of being a magic-wielding Oluso and her journey to fight against a tyrannical society that seeks to wipe her people out. When she is tasked to kidnap the prince to help an Oluso regional lord gain a seat on the king's council, Dèmi's powers and strength are tested - especially when the mission reveals pieces of unfinished business from her past.

 isbn: 9780063112629  pages: 400
       publication date: August 08, 2023 | source: physical arc from publisher
      genre: adult, fantasy, adventure, Nigerian mythology/folktales
     rating: 6.5/10

     A M A Z O N    |    G O O D R E A D S    
       B O O K S H O P *    |    B A R N E S A N D N O B L E S
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I received a physical arc from the publisher -  I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts are my own honest opinion.

From page one, the author introduces us to a world lush with magic and folktales inspired by Nigerian mythology and harshly juxtaposes its beauty with the cruel reality of the racist regime that is determined to destroy it. Dèmi is quick to act and dare I say a tiny bit hot-headed, but her intentions are good and she truly just wants to see the world become a better place. Even when her world is brought crashing down by her mother's death and her worldview becomes more vengeance-tinted, Dèmi doesn't stray from her ideals of wanting peace for her people.

Her compassion and sense of duty towards the other Oluso send her down a path of possible rebellion but also reunites her with someone from her past. Her journey exposes more of herself and her morals while she battles against time and uncovers truths that threaten her own survival. Despite being marketed as an adult novel, the characters felt more targeted towards an upper YA or NA audience because of how black and white everything was portrayed. The bad guys are bad (for obvious reasons) and the good guys are good, but there's a lack of morally grey characters to help sway the story. Not to say that every novel needs the whole spectrum, but I found myself being less convinced and almost worried by the idealistic goals of the characters as a result.

With that being said, I still rooted for Dèmi and her friends because of how much they believed. With all that is thrown their way, they refused to hope for a better world even when set against a colonial power that has brought so much violence and suffering. This just leads to an explosive ending with angry mobs and literal chaos raining down as Dèmi has to choose whether violence is the only answer or if peace is possible to achieve. And while the story itself wraps up nicely, there's room for the author to expand and challenge the characters which I am very intrigued about.

Forged by Blood is a fantastic story of hope in the face of tyranny and a solid introduction into a captivating world of magic and spirits. Despite being younger in tone than I expected, Dèmi is a strong storyteller and I am excited to see how her story and world will continue to grow in the sequel.

I received a physical arc from the publisher -  I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts are my own honest opinion.

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  1. Ooooo I'm intruiged!! Does that mean I can steal your copy to read this 👀