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Blood Debts, by Terry J. Benton-Walker

Review copy provided by the publisher.

Every family relationship has its ups and downs, and twins Cristina and Clement are definitely in a low point. Instead of bringing them together, their father’s death has pushed them apart–and their mother and her sisters are going through much the same thing. Inexperienced Clem got more interested in the generational magic that is their birthright, while his accomplished sister rejected it. They can’t seem to meet in the middle. But they’re going to have to, because the powers that be in their city are not willing to leave their family alone.

The New Orleans Benton-Walker imagines for us here is just next door to our own universe. This is not a tourist’s NOLA, though it has tourists in it, but one drawn from thought about the history and culture that shaped the area–and ways they could have gone somewhat differently. Benton-Walker isn’t trying to write about every person or group in his imagined New Orleans. Instead he makes sure that the people clustered around the centers of generational magic power have a vividly drawn world and relationships within it.

This is not a stand-alone. Benton-Walker has more story than he can fit in this one book–the characters’ relationships aren’t done, and the worldbuilding definitely isn’t done. But there’s a satisfying climax here, a barnburner that left me wanting more.

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