ARC Review: BLOOD SCION by Deborah Falaye

I received an ARC from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Title in white with flames obscuring part of it on blurred image of a Black girl's face
Genre: Science Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - first book in duology
CW: sexual assault, violence/brutality, blood


Book cover for BLOOD SCION: title in white on blue and orange graphic of

This is what they deserve. They wanted me to be a monster. I will be the worst monster they ever created.

Fifteen-year-old Sloane can incinerate an enemy at will—she is a Scion, a descendant of the ancient Orisha gods.

Under the Lucis’ brutal rule, her identity means her death if her powers are discovered. But when she is forcibly conscripted into the Lucis army on her fifteenth birthday, Sloane sees a new opportunity: to overcome the bloody challenges of Lucis training, and destroy them from within.

Sloane rises through the ranks and gains strength but, in doing so, risks something greater: losing herself entirely, and becoming the very monster that she abhors.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


BLOOD SCION is a brutal debut about survival, war, and oppression. This is a rare book that delivers on the promise of being “dark.” There are actual real costs for the main character, Sloane, and the body count of her friends, allies, and others around her is high. And she’s often involved in their deaths.

It is bloody and brutal and does not flinch back from the cost of war and what it does to Sloane. Be ready for that going in, but don’t let it put you off the book, particularly if you often feel let down by the relative tameness of books called “dark fantasy”.

I’ve called it “science-fantasy” as it sits in that in between space where fantasy and science fiction overlap. There is magic from the gods sitting alongside technology like planes and guns and surveillance cameras. It’s a similar blend to RED QUEEN, except it’s not the oppressive regime that have both. Rather the regime has the technology and are using that to hunt down those with magic.

It gives the two sides of the conflict a nice balance, and uses fear and oppression tactics to explain why the magic-wielders (Scions) haven’t risen up. They live in fear so don’t reveal their magic and thus they can’t unite.

The sci-fi and fantasy elements themselves are neatly balanced, never making you wonder why one hasn’t managed to make the other redundant or why certain technologies were invented as magic had filled that need. They fulfil different needs in the story and are used in different ways by the people. I really liked the care that been taken to make it all fit cohesively, as sometimes that doesn’t quite happen.

The plot itself has many twists and turns as Sloane fights for survival. There are moments of hope and lightness in there, which help makes the brutality of normal life stand out even more. The reveals go places I didn’t expect, ending with a cliff-hanger just after the final reveal that makes all the previous ones seem tame. I am interested to know where it goes from there, given all the pieces in play that haven’t come to fruition yet.


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