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The Blood Trials (The Blood Gift Duology, 1) Hardcover – April 5, 2022
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Blending fantasy and science fiction, N. E. Davenport’s fast-paced, action-packed debut kicks off a duology of loyalty and rebellion, in which a young Black woman must survive deadly trials in a racist and misogynistic society to become an elite warrior.
It’s all about blood.
The blood spilled between the Republic of Mareen and the armies of the Blood Emperor long ago. The blood gifts of Mareen’s deadliest enemies. The blood that runs through the elite War Houses of Mareen, the rulers of the Tribunal dedicated to keeping the republic alive.
The blood of the former Legatus, Verne Amari, murdered.
For his granddaughter, Ikenna, the only thing steady in her life was the man who had saved Mareen. The man who had trained her in secret, not just in martial skills, but in harnessing the blood gift that coursed through her.
Who trained her to keep that a secret.
But now there are too many secrets, and with her grandfather assassinated, Ikenna knows two things: that only someone on the Tribunal could have ordered his death, and that only a Praetorian Guard could have carried out that order.
Bent on revenge as much as discovering the truth, Ikenna pledges herself to the Praetorian Trials—a brutal initiation that only a quarter of the aspirants survive. She subjects herself to the racism directed against her half-Khanaian heritage and the misogyny of a society that cherishes progeny over prodigy, all while hiding a power that—if found out—would subject her to execution…or worse. Ikenna is willing to risk it all because she needs to find out who murdered her grandfather…and then she needs to kill them.
Mareen has been at peace for a long time…
Ikenna joining the Praetorians is about to change all that.
Magic and technology converge in the first part of this stunning debut duology, where loyalty to oneself—and one’s blood—is more important than anything.
“Davenport debuts with an ambitious epic that blurs genre lines, setting futuristic technology against a historical fantasy backdrop...this invigorating debut marks Davenport as a writer to watch.” — Publishers Weekly
"Davenport’s ambitious debut is gritty and bloody, and balances emotional arcs with fast action. Fans of Pierce Brown’s Red Rising and Evan Winter’s The Rage of Dragons will find similarities in Ikenna’s journey." — Library Journal
"The Blood Trials is one of my top reads of the year—a riveting story with richly-drawn characters caught in a tangle of political intrigue, systemic racism, and nonstop peril. Don't miss this one!" — Melissa Marr, New York Times Bestselling Author of Wicked Lovely
"The Blood Trials is a fresh, intense gut punch of a book that has everything I love most in sci-fi and fantasy. I rooted for Ikenna, the trials gripped me, and the political mystery at the heart of it all kept me constantly on my toes." — Susan Dennard, New York Times Bestselling author of the Witchlands series
“The plotting is an intricate mix of action, intrigue, and betrayal, with a fast pace and a high body count… Thankfully, this is book one of a proposed duology, because revenge is a dish best served cold.” — Booklist
“With a high-octane sci-fi setting, a twisty murder mystery, and a badass heroine, THE BLOOD TRIALS is a damn good time.” — Hannah Whitten, New York Times bestselling author of For the Wolf
“The Blood Trials is an electrifying debut that deftly incorporates the best elements of science fiction and fantasy. A must-read!”
— Alexis Henderson, author of The Year of the Witching
"An action packed adventure paired with luscious world building makes The Blood Trials an enthralling, unputdownable read. Davenport is a force to be reckoned with."
— Bestselling author of Cinderella Is Dead, Kalynn Bayron
"If you want to be on the edge of your seat, find another book, because this one hands you a blade, shoves you right into the action, and demands you start running if you want to keep up. It is action, mystery, and heartfelt character--all balanced perfectly on the tip of a knife."
— Scott Reintgen, Bestselling author of the Nyxia series
“Each bloody scene has depth and leads to more answers that compel you to keep reading, which was one of my favorite aspects of Davenport’s writing.” — Lightspeed Magazine
"The Blood Trials is an ambitious debut by N.E. Davenport had me on the edge of my seat the entire time and constantly guessing. This story beautifully tackles some difficult themes that resonated with me deeply and imagined the main character that I fell in love with." — Bookish Brews
About the Author
N. E. Davenportis the science fiction/fantasy author of The Blood Trials and its sequel. She attended the University of Southern California and studied biological sciences and theatre arts. She also has an M.A. in secondary education. She teaches English and biology to amazing students. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys vacationing with her family, skiing, and being a huge foodie. She’s an advocate for diverse perspectives and protagonists in literature. You can find her on Twitter or on Instagram, where she talks about bingeworthy TV, killer movies, and great books. She lives in Texas with her husband and kids.
- Publisher : Harper Voyager (April 5, 2022)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 464 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0063058480
- ISBN-13 : 978-0063058484
- Item Weight : 1 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.41 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #129,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on August 7, 2022
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We meet Ikenna Amari in a bar. She's getting rip-roaring drunk with her two friends the night before their graduation from the academy—and it's not working. She's trying to forget, she's trying to stop time... and she's spoiling for a fight.
Ikenna's life is over, you see. Her grandfather is dead.
The Amari family consisted of just two people: Ikenna and her grandfather, Verne Amari. Verne was one of the highest ranking Commanders from the Gamma Unit in the Republic of Mareen, the savior of Mareen's people from the evil Blood Emperor, and the shining star of Ikenna's entire existence. It was the Amaris vs. the world in more ways than one—as two of the only dark-skinned people in Mareen, and the only two in sea of pale-skinned war houses leading the military-based government, Verne was a symbol of equality as much as he was Ikenna's personal inspiration. He was the first in the Amari line, and Ikenna was all set to become a Praetorian soldier to continue their budding Amari war house dynasty.
But now the dream is dead, and Ikenna's debating not pledging into the dangerous Praetorian trials to rise up into the academy. What's the point, without her family?
However, everything changes when Ikenna—bruised from the bar fight that she got after all—returns home the night before graduation to find her grandfather's best friend and advisor, Brock, there with some shocking revelations. Her grandfather was potentially murdered—by one of his own men in the Praetorian.
The stakes have changed. Filled with rage and retribution, Ikenna decides to join the Praetorian trials after all. Two thirds of every class doesn't make it out alive, and the Praetorian is filled with snakes.
Watch out, little soldiers. Ikenna's ready for war on a deadly scale.
And the cards she has in her hand are older and steeped in the blood of the gods. It's not a fair fight, Ikenna won't even pretend—her arsenal is loaded for bigger beasts.
Let the games begin...
Ohhhhhhhh let's talk about this absolute banger of a debut. If the above pitch didn't sell you—I don't know how you're NOT yet intrigued, but alright—let me say that this is the grown up, kickass older sibling to what Divergent tried to be. (I love Divergent, but this needs to be said to show you what kind of scale The Blood Trials is operating at.)
This is a takedown. A high-stakes competition. A series of challenges leading to a spot in a deadly faction. A physical and mental showdown across multiple spectacles. A personal Everest of reconciling grief with action. An intimate and global discussion of racism and corrupt systems. A series of shocking betrayals and twists with some truly jaw-dropping reactions. A setup for more, and a promise for epicness.
The Blood Trials has it all—action, a deadly competition with REAL stakes, an accurately paced romantic arc, a relatable and incredibly flawed main character, discussions of racism and systemic oppression, and the perfect blend of worldbuilding vs. plot for my reading tastes.
Do yourself a favor and pick it up. Especially if you're interested in genre blending in the science fiction/fantasy space and are a reader of both young adult and adult work. This is a gem.
That doesn’t stop her from reaching for every possible connection that’s pretty akin to Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. For example, when a medic who might have attempted to poison her is married to a distant cousin of her best friend ergo the conclusion she reaches is her friend’s father tried to murder her? Sometimes while the conclusions she reaches seem to make sense to her I’m in need of a little more convincing. But I suppose if you think everyone’s out to get you you’d make some unreasonable assumptions too. Ikenna isn’t a protagonist who I can easily identify with. She has numerous flaws and at times comes across as childish and extremely arrogant. But near the end of the story I was really rooting for her because of all the struggles she had to endure. And the fact that there’s some pretty horrible people who inhabit the world.
It took me a while to get into the story. Honestly the first two chapters were a struggle to get through. And then you have a romance element that happens so haphazardly it’s like it came out of a random YA novel. Overall though I liked that the story had a well fleshed out conclusion. Even though this is a duology, the first story felt very complete and I look forward to the next installment to see how Ikenna’s powers and alliances evolve.
Take a chance and read this amazing book. I can't wait for the next one.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 7, 2022
Take a chance and read this amazing book. I can't wait for the next one.
Top reviews from other countries
I loved Ikenna’s anger – rage even. Is that wrong of me, to enjoy the growly ragey killey vibe Ikenna brings to the table throughout the entire story? The ‘I don’t give two goats – I will never forget and always remember to dot my t’s and i’s, with the weapon of my choice’ – yeh that vibe.
It certainly has a Brown’s Howler’s vibe, and a societal structure fights for restructure and against oppression Red Rising vibe. It doesn’t shy away from the need to assert, for the show of violence, and it doesn’t pull any punches. I enjoyed the snarly, snarky, I talk the talk and walk the walk attitude and feel of the story. Ikenna is such a strongly written voracious character that she leaves a lasting impression.
I have to say I am absolutely loving all of the new voices, directions and reinventions of genres. Davenport is definitely an author to watch going forward. Fantastic energy, creative and wonderfully powerful main character. I would love to see this in screen format. Bring on the next one – soon!
Ikenna is an excellent smart protagonist who's flaws seem real and any mistakes made aren't her picking up the idiot ball that was clearly palmed off by an author, as too many books easily go about doing.