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The Lighting Paced Sequel to The Blood Trials Delivers

Updated: Apr 19

Ikenna is back and out for blood in this stunning duology conclusion.

The Blood Gift

by N.E. Davenport

Author Connect


"If we want to play a game of threats, that's fine. A waste of time, but fine. Let me help you out, though: I'm hard to kill,' I return. 'Most Praetorians are. So are most blood-gifted. As it turns out, I'm both."

The Blood Gift, the sequel to The Blood Trials, is a heart-palpating roller coaster ride of a book that delivers more of everything readers love in the first book. This book has more sex, more violence, and more emotion -- the hits just keep coming. While this book is supposed to be the series finale, I can't help but feel that the author is leaving the door open for at least one more book.

We rejoin Ikenna Amari and her crew of "traitors" as they set out to take down the Blood Emporer and end corruption in Mareen. Unfortunately, they are on the run and running out of options. A war between Accacia and Mareen is in full swing, and all her grandfather's (Verne Amari) former allies are uninterested in joining forces. Ikenna must figure out how to defeat a man the majority of the planet considers a living god, all while dealing with the betrayal of a former best friend, a complicated relationship with her squad leader, and her new and unpredictable powers.

The plot was just as enthralling as it was in the first book, with almost neverending action sequences. The storyline throws the reader from one crisis to the next. And while there aren't twists and turns the reader doesn't see coming, Davenport still manages to keep her audience on the edge of their seats. Her ability to write an action sequence will have readers sweating it out like they are battling alongside Ikenna. The pacing, while mostly racing, felt a bit off in some places. However, the author did have a lot of ground to cover in one book.

Ikenna is still a character that I have a love-hate relationship with. While she is undoubtedly entertaining, I found her lack of meaningful introspection to be somewhat irksome. Despite her belief that she has improved her impulsivity, Ikenna remains the same hot-headed and rash individual we saw in the first novel. That being said, she does learn to channel her impulsiveness more productively. Her character hovers in an odd place between self-acceptance and self-improvement, but she doesn't fully get to either destination. However, what's refreshing about her character is giving a Black (coded) heroine the space to be angry, flawed, and selfish. She is unapologetically herself -- the reader never witnesses her regret of being exactly who she is. So while I found her frustrating, there is a relatability in oscillating between those two dynamics. It makes her someone to root for.

The issues I had from the first book were still there. We don't really get a clear picture of the Pantheon. Yes, the reader learns a bit more about the gods, but their divinity and connection to the planet could be more explicit. There are times when I found them frustratingly obscure. The structure of the Mareenian government is still very hand-wavingly vague. There were several aspects of relationships and personalities that were under-explored, leaving too many lingering questions and loose ends. (I'm not asking for a Tolkienain level of specifics, but a little more detail would have been nice). However, they added a glossary of characters to the end, which I found helpful.

Overall, The Blood Gift is a fantastic book I highly recommend if you're a plot-driven reader who doesn't focus on details. This book delivers for anyone looking for nonstop heart-racing action looking for some spice with their sci-fi/fantasy read, unbothered by fairly graphic violence.