cover image Blood Debts

Blood Debts

Terry J. Benton-Walker. Tor Teen, $18.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-250-82592-6

Benton-Walker’s scintillating debut follows the Trudeau twins, members of a once-powerful magical New Orleans family. Thirty years after Cristine Dupart, the queen of the city’s Generational Magic Council, was lynched for allegedly murdering the white mayor’s daughter, her descendants live in enmity. Clement Trudeau, a young Black man with chronic anxiety, is a devoted practitioner of generational magic, while his gifted twin sister Cris swore to never use magic again following their father’s tragic death. But when the siblings learn that their mother is dying of multiple organ failure, they perform a good luck spell in hopes of healing her, only to discover that their mother’s mysterious illness isn’t incidental: it’s a curse, and she isn’t the only target. Together, the pair must uncover the truth of Cristine’s tragic history to ensure the surviving Trudeaus don’t share her terrible fate. Steeped in spiritual lore that takes cues from the rich cultural history of the Black diaspora, Benton-Walker paints an evocative picture of an enchanted New Orleans as earthly as it is divine. Benton-Walker effectively parallels contemporary politics with heady alternate magical history to create a layered world that is more than the sum of its mercurial characters and its many moving parts. Ages 13–up. (Apr.)