- Amanda Joy
- Debut, Book 1 of a Duology
- Genre: YA Fantasy
- Heritage/Background: Black (Black People Magic runs through her veins y’all)
- IG: @amandajoywrites; Twitter: @amandajoywrites (she’s hella fun to follow, by the way!)
- Release: 10/29/2019 (not too many sleeps now!)
- Publisher: Putnam (Penguin Random House)
- Favorite Character: Aketo…who doesn’t like a dude who is comfortable and confident in who they are?! Baccha comes in a close second!
- Favorite Quote(s): “I used to hate my magick. For a long time, I couldn’t understand where my feelings ended and everyone else’s began. It was overwhelming. I spent most of my time alone until I was ten.”-Aketo As an empath, I feel this so hard. It’s REALLY rough when you are doing fine and someone around you starts to feel sad or angry…it sucks, especially with children because crying can come easy for some (I’m around them all day so I know) *deep sigh*! One more cause its so good: “I should warn you, Eva. I can feel you.”-Aketo…I think EYE blushed when I read that and I KNEW what he meant (see previous statement)! And THIS, My Gentlepeople is WHY Aketo is my favorite, LOL!
First, let me just say that I sincerely apologize for not having my post up on Thursday, As I’ve been doing my best to try to keep consistent…let’s just say that drama, adulting, pretty much life has been kicking a sista’s ass. I know I’m a day (or two) late but hopefully not any content short…I had a great fucking time revisiting all my feels (and DMs to Amanda) around this story to write this out and hopefully you get a chuckle or two out of it! Also, I curse A LOT in this one so if you are sensitive to that, proceed with caution (also know that I’m grown and as a grown woman, I curse a lot…I let all the words rip). So let’s get it, let’s GO!
A few months ago at the Schomberg Lit Fest, I was blessed with a copy of A River Of Royal Blood (ARORB, to keep it short from now on) at the Penguin Teen booth but prior to that, I had heard about this book and knew that I wanted to read it! Even if I had not, who wouldn’t be drawn to a cover with 2 dueling Black Girls, welding their magick like its nothing?! This cover is nothing short of fierce and it gave me every last bit of my life! Not only is the cover stunning but the story…GAH! I ate this book up in like 3-4 days staying up until unspeakable hours in the morning to read it as if I didn’t have adulting to do later…I believe I finished at like 2 am and you know what…#WorthIt!
As someone with a sibling…one that is not uncommon to have “spats” with, I felt this book so hard. Only difference is that I’m the older sibling (Eva is the youngest) & to my dismay, am not a royal (I am, in fact, a magical Black Girl *snap & neck roll combo*). I couldn’t imagine going after my sibling in the way that Isa did Eva because I’m of the philosophy of “Don’t Start No Shit, Won’t Be No Shit” but I’m also of the mindset of if I have to choose between me & you, I’m #TeamMe all day, every day & bitch, you gotta go like Isa…and that’s about where she & I’s similarities end because Isa was on some extreme hoe shit in this book! Like I told Amanda, Isa is a hoe x10 (so much like Efiya in Kingdom Of Souls…see post –>Here<–). You know I’m not about taking lives (I’m vegan for fucks sake)…though I will snatch a scalp or two when fucked with and thus was happy when Eva dug deep within her ovaries and started to fight back. Thinking about it, this book was like an episode of Snapped: Literary Sibling Edition because shit was BANANAS…*cues Gwen Stefani* B-A-N-A-N-A-S!
Not only was Isa on some hoe shit but so was her mom…like ma’am, you should be like all parents outchea on their “I don’t have a favorite” shit that we ALL KNOW isn’t true but know they say to make themselves feel better…like go change some shit so that Eva and Isa don’t have to you know attempt to kill each other. Also, Fuck her (yes, I’m still salty with her, let me be)…If I could’ve knocked her block off, I would have but she’s a character in a book so not possible! Side Note: What the fuck is up with these literary mothers?! I felt the same way about Arrah from KOS‘s mother, Arti…she’s a hoe ass hoe and don’t you ever forget that…*pauses…takes a deep breath* moving on. She, Eva’s Mom, genuinely pissed me off…I think my blood pressure skyrocketed in those scenes with her mother and it is rising thinking about her now…
I’mma switch to something that gave me all the feels which is Eva’s love for her daddy…as a former daddy’s girl (my sister stole that title), I felt like a meme where a heart is being squeezed into little pieces. The way Eva loves her daddy, just melts my heart. Her daddy & her love for him was so ingrained in this book that even though he wasn’t present often, it felt like he was because of how often Eva thought of & spoke about him. It was so clear that he was a positive influence to her & loved her very much…it was a little sickening…ly sweet. Their connection had me in my feelings, for real for real & made my eyes leak a little…I’m here for it doe.
Speaking of males in Eva’s world…Falun, Aketo & Baccha…they are like the holy grail of homies/road dawgs/besties! Like where do I sign up to find homeboys like them because I could surely use ride-or-dies like them! Falun is like the friend that knows you almost better than you know yourself, calls you on your shit but still let’s you know that he’s still gotchu no matter what…he’s like the best homie & you can’t sma- I mean cuddle & date, the homie (at least, you should not). We know he is beautiful but Eva gotta be careful outchea, especially when she know her sister is waiting for the time to come to kill her (which is not tah-day, Bish), so there is that.
While we are talking about beautiful and sma- I mean cuddling & dating because that would be a thing…AKETO! He stole my heart (what was left of it because Zan from Jackpot took a chunk of it & I’m still waiting for it back). I mean, who doesn’t love a dude who is confident, intelligent, has swagger for dayssssss, is a gentleman AND can talk with sexy double meaning?! I sure do! From the moment he set foot into Eva’s universe, I was like “ohhh, I like him” & “Eva betta claim him quick” (I know he’s not property, so calm down if you got in your feelings), you have to read the book to truly understand why I feel the way I do about Aketo!
Last, but certainly not least, Baccha is like that annoying but hella funny & dedicated friend you can’t stand at times but you love their ass so much you deal with their “moments”…sometimes Baccha made me want to fight him, like slap boxing fight because a magickal fight wouldn’t end well for me, but at other parts, I wanted to squeeze him until he awkwardly asks me to let him go or attempts to wiggle out. He has so many zingers in this book, which I think it a big part of why I like him, outside of the fact that he’s a fucking guru of sorts…and who doesn’t like a guru?! He’s far from the Yoda type but he gets the job done…dude is about his bizness! Eva’s squad is seriously some real ones!
Saving the best for last, Eva is such a great main character. She’s so kind and warm, yet she hardens the edges that are necessary to get through all the shit she has to deal with. It felt like all she wanted was freedom like a typical teen but she also was responsible & respectable as fuck! She never forgot who she was while discovering all these new parts of herself as she goes through this journey of self-preservation in dealing with a tradition that cared nothing for her life, just that blood flowed from someone (ah HA *lightbulb goes off*… just take some time to think about it and your AH HA moment will come too). I’m telling you, when you back a Black Girl/Woman in a corner, just know that earrings come off and asses will be beat! I’m so here for Eva though and she does have a dope ass crew that helps her get through all the shenanigans!
Needless to say, I loved this book & I need people to talk to about specifics with outside of Amanda soooooo please go get ARORB when it comes out (10/29/2019) or now if you are reading this after that date. Deadass, ARORB is SO GOOD & is such a worthwhile read (Amanda DID THAT)! I had dreams of various outcomes…so when a book world shows up in dreams, you know that book is good than a muthafucka. Now go get this book so you can get your entire life like I did!
While I still have your attention, I just wanted to note that this is my 10th review for this blog (BGM will be 2 months old soon) & I couldn’t be having a better time with it…I hope you are as well! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for joining me bookish and non-bookish boos! Now come, follow me on IG @bookishgirlmagic, twitter @bookishgrlmagic (I really cut up on there) and facebook Bookish Girl Magic if you haven’t already!