cover image Forged by Blood

Forged by Blood

Ehigbor Okosun. Harper Voyager, $32 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-311262-9

Okosun’s stunning debut puts a Nigerian spin on epic fantasy tropes to create an addictive tale of political intrigue, love, loss, betrayal, and magic. Nine-year-old Dèmi was born during a time of transition, when the queen of Ifé was replaced by a king who fears and hates hereditary magic users, called Oluso, leading to an ongoing genocide. Dèmi, an Oluso herself, assists with her mother’s forbidden but necessary magical healing work—until she is forced to flee their village after they are betrayed by a former client, leading to her mother’s death. Nine years later, the politician Lord Ekwenski tasks Dèmi with kidnapping the crown prince as part of his scheme to rise in power and become a voice for the Oluso on the king’s council. This dangerous mission is complicated, however, when Dèmi discovers a surprising connection—and attraction—to the prince and uncovers secrets about her family’s past and her own powers. Okosun’s elaborate worldbuilding is lavishly detailed and meticulously constructed, but it never feels overwhelming. The result is an impressive and refreshingly original page-turner that will leave readers eagerly awaiting the second volume. Agent: Kiana Nguyen, Donald Maass Literary. (Aug.)