The first of an anticipated Afrofantasy duology has caught the attention of teen vogueBook Riot, Nerd Daily, Tor.com and other sites like a book to watch. blood scion joins the growing genre of Afrofantasy alongside popular novels such as Tomi Adeyemi Children of Blood and Bones and that of Namina Forna Walleyes, who center African culture, history and mythology in the magical realms of their books. Yoruba-Nigerian mythology, espionage behind enemy lines and explorations of wrath come together in author Deborah Falaye’s debut dark fantasy novel, which was released last month from HarperTeen. In the story, Sloan, a descendant of the Orisha gods with the power to wield fire as she pleases, must keep her magical abilities a secret under the colonial rule of Lucis. When she is unwittingly recruited into Lucis’ army, Sloan takes advantage of her position in the heart of enemy operations to overthrow their rule from within.
Falaye told TP“When I started writing, there wasn’t really any diversity at YA [looking at] mythology outside of Western culture, beyond Greek mythology or Norse mythology. So I thought, ‘Well, how cool would it be to write about the Orisha gods at a time when people didn’t really know about them?’ ”
blood scionThe March release marked Falaye’s 10th anniversary beginning her first draft of the story in 2012. Self-taught, Falaye took it upon herself to enroll in online writing classes, learned to edit, and found first readers on and eventually discovered Pitch Wars, the former online mentorship program that provided him with guidance to further his concept. After her stint as a Pitch Wars mentee, Falaye then found her first agent, Victoria Marini, at the Irene Goodman Literary Agency, and began pitching her book. in 2019, HarperCollins editor Kristin Pettit acquired global rights. Falaye is currently represented by Jenny Bent at the Bent agency.
“I got really lucky with my editor because from the jump, Kristin just figured it out.” said Falaye. “It was really the one that said, ‘Give me more spirituality, give me more culture, give me more ferocity.’ It’s really great to work with her.
Upstream promotional plans blood scionThe release included pre-order campaigns with exclusive merchandise such as “Humanity Always” jewelry and picture cards featuring the book’s central characters. An exclusive edition of blood scion was published by OwlCare, with sprayed edges as well as signed bookplates and matching wooden bookmarks. Falaye was also more hands-on with gifts, offering signed and personalized copies of the book, which also came with song annotations from a playlist containing more than 400 songs, which she listened to while writing to evoke emotions similar to those of her heroine Sloan.
Sloan’s anger stems from the fact that colonial powers invaded her country, stealing her resources while leaving her natives on the brink of poverty and forcing her to be a child soldier in a war waged against her own people. Falaye was inspired to reflect on anger and violence against black girls by the 2014 Bring Back Our Girls campaign, and is committed to informed representation, drawing research from books such as A long way home by Ismaël Beah and They fight like soldiers, they die like children by Romeo Dallaire.
“As black women, we have no right to be angry; we have no right to show our rage and anger at certain things,” she said. “So we almost have to temper our emotions, don’t we?” And with this book, I was like, ‘No, you’re going to have an angry black girl. And you will understand where this anger is coming from, and know that it is valid anger and that it is justified. ”
It seems that Falaye’s efforts paid off, as early readers’ enthusiasm for the novel was accompanied by personal and touching stories. “I recently read a wonderful email that brought me to tears,” Falaye said. “It was that girl who said she read Sloan’s story and [seeing] her anger as a black girl, she was so connected to that.
BuzzFeed, Bustle, Dough magazine, and Nerdist all vaunted blood scion in their highly anticipated 2022 book roundups, and it was recently selected as Teen Staff Pick of the Month at Chapters Indigo, the Canadian bookstore chain.
Looking ahead to upcoming installments, Falaye is happy to keep readers on their toes. “I’ve had a lot of people who are like, ‘The twist! The twist! The twist!’ “, she said, referring to the shocking final twist of the novel. “So there are definitely more twists to come. I didn’t even know the story was going to go in this direction, but it’s going in a direction that I’m so glad people are finding out about.
blood scion by Deborah Falaye. HarperTeen, $18.99 Mar 8 ISBN 978-0-7595-5447-4