Blurb & Info
In a world where magic thrives in secret city corners, a group of magicians embark on a road trip — and it’s the “no-love-interest” found family adventure you’ve been searching for.
Sixteen-year-old Blythe is one of seven Guardians: magicians powerful enough to cause worldwide panic with a snap of their fingers. But Blythe spends her days pouring latte art at her family’s coffee shop, so why should she care about having apocalyptic abilities?
She’s given a reason when magician anarchists crash into said coffee shop and kidnap her family.
Heartbroken but determined, Blythe knows she can’t save them alone. A war is brewing between two magician governments and tensions are too high. So, she packs up her family’s bright yellow Volkswagen, puts on a playlist, and embarks on a road trip across the United States to enlist the help of six strangers whose abilities are unparalleled — the other Guardians.
Published: July 17, 2019
Series: Dead Magic #1
Content Warnings: minors in peril, violence, occasional profanity
I read The Black Veins in a buddy read with Sarah @ Suits of Stories! Both of us really enjoyed this book.
I finished this book waaaayy back in March, and have been trying to figure out how to review it ever since. It’s honestly great, and by the end I loved all of the characters so, so much and was sorry to say goodbye to them. (Everyone! Go bug Ashia Monet on Twitter to write the sequel! …No, actually, please don’t do that; that would be so rude).
In some ways I’m surprised that this is a debut novel, because the characters are so well-crafted and I loved all of their dynamics with one another, but in other ways I can understand how this is the first book Monet has written; in the first couple of chapters, the style feels a bit stiff and formal, but the further you go into the book the more it relaxes. It feels like Monet finds a more natural “voice” about 1/4th of the way through, and from there everything is smooth sailing.
But the characters! The characters. The blurb describes this book as “the no-love-interest, found family adventure you’ve been searching for” which is a bold claim but ended up being entirely correct. I hadn’t realized I’d been searching for that exact thing, but Monet proved me wrong. All of the Guardians are so vibrant and quirky, and so inclusive — Blythe is Black and bisexual, Caspian is trans, Daniel has an anxiety disorder, Antonio is Latino, and the list just goes on. Their “babysitter,” a young woman named Katia, is grouchy and rude and participates in a kidnapping over breakfast, but is still likeable because yeah, she’s a bitch, but she isn’t a bigot. (My favorite character was definitely Cordelia, but this is supposed to be a serious book review as opposed to just me gushing about a new favorite read).
All of the Guardians have a great, complex dynamic with one another that changes over time. They aren’t instantly best friends, nor do they even instantly get along, and they keep secrets, make bargains, and occasionally even lie to each other. Ultimately, however, they are definitely a found family, and they keep each other going through even the darkest trials. It’s very wholesome, but it’s wholesomeness with so much tension because the stakes are so high. All of the Guardians are minors, but the danger they were facing felt so real and I was genuinely scared for them.
One of those dangers is the Erasers, who “erase” magic-users out of existence if they reveal the secret of magic existing to non-magical people. The Erasers have been pursuing Blythe and her family for as long as she can remember, and it’s a big mystery as to why they’re doing so until the very end of the book. My opinion is that the mystery of the Erasers was drawn out for too long, because their terrifying mystique had become hokey and annoying by the time everything was explained about their motives for what they did. Nevertheless, I’m really intrigued by them, and I’m really curious about what role the Erasers will play in the next installment of this series.
⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5 stars