Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye is a fantasy novel which explores colonialist themes, drawing from Yoruba legends and mythologies. The story portrays Sloane struggling to hide her identity while fighting for the very people who would kill her: the Lucis. Sloane must go through mandatory recruitment training known to either kill or break you, in order to thwart them. The world of Blood Scion is rich with magic and lore; the use of African mythology sets it apart from other mythology based books. It is far more frequent to find books with Greek gods or even Norse gods but African gods are untapped source material. It was enjoyable to read a new mythos, being unfamiliar with Yoruba mythology. YA needs more diversity in its titles and this felt like a great example of what new authors should strive for.
I was pleasantly surprised by the worldbuilding in this book. The war between the surviving decendants of the Orisha and the Lucis set the backdrop for the entire plot to unfold. Scions are descendants of the ancient Orisha gods; Sloane being a descendant of Shango, possesses fire áse (fire magic). It was different to see characters who use their hands to perform magic, unlike books such as Harry Potter which uses wands and Percy Jackson which has “enhanced abilities.” Magic systems not limited by magic aids (wands) or ancestry, were refreshing to see, as these overused tropes often dilute the impact of universal themes. It was also interesting to have Sloane’s magic be physically painful for her to keep in and not expend. Magical powers are often written as gifts with no negative effects to the user, but this book depicts magic as a painful burden. The magic systems therefore end up contributing to the theme of oppression and colonialism the book explores; Scions and Yorubas have to hide who they are in order to avoid persecution. Sounds familiar doesn't it?