Review: Forged By Blood by Ehigbor Okosun





Dèmi is a young woman living in Ife, her ancestral homeland that is occupied by the nonmagical Ajes. She’s trying to stay under the radar to avoid suspicion from the oppressors, survive the King’s brutal genocide of her people, the Oluso, and learn to control her powerful blood magic. However, when her mother is killed due to her own misplaced trust, Dèmi seeks revenge. She seizes the opportunity to kidnap the Aje prince, Jonas, and use his life to save the remaining Oluso. Dèmi enlists the help of her childhood friend Colin, but their mission takes a turn when she and Jonas begin to feel an undeniable attraction towards each other. Now, they must work together to return to the King, help Lord Ekwensi get on the council, and give the Oluso a voice in a system that suppresses them. The journey is perilous, and Dèmi’s magic is growing but uncertain, as she navigates trust issues with the two men by her side.


Ehigbor Okosun’s debut novel, Forged By Blood, is a promising beginning to an excellent duology. The book is filled with intricate world-building, including customs and traditions that transport readers into the story’s setting, making them feel as though they are walking alongside the characters. Furthermore, I have never read another book that draws inspiration from Nigerian mythology . Therefore Forged By Blood was truly a refreshing and original book. With its fast-paced and action-packed plot, it is a thrilling read that is brimming with unexpected twists and turns. The book’s suspenseful and intriguing storyline will keep readers on the edge of their seats until its very last page.

Being a woman of color myself, I eagerly anticipate reading literature penned by fellow female writers of color, especially debut authors. Therefore, I sincerely hope that Ehigbor will regard my feedback as constructive criticism, rather than an affront to her writing abilities because she truly is a gifted writer.

Despite my appreciation for the novel’s rich world-building, dynamic plot twists, numerous character arcs, and action-packed scenes, I found myself frequently experiencing a sense of frustration while reading it. In my opinion, I felt as though the author attempted to incorporate an excessive amount of information and story into this book, resulting in a rushed and occasionally bewildering reading experience.

I found myself confused by the magic system in the book, as it was never adequately explained. Additionally, the characters seemed to utilize magic in some situations while disregarding its existence in others, leading to further perplexity on my part. The plot at times was flimsy and unconvincing. I found the justifications provided for certain characters’ behavior to be questionable, leaving me feeling dissatisfied with the story’s development.

Although I greatly appreciated the author’s realistic portrayal of the struggles faced by people of color and the devastating impact of racism, I was disappointed by the lack of unity and action displayed by the community in the face of oppression. Rather than taking a stand against their oppressors, the characters often appeared to simply voice their grievances without actively pursuing change. Furthermore, even when the characters did attempt to formulate plans of resistance, it felt as though they were hastily put together with no clear or effective long-term strategy in place.

Demi often acted impulsively, disregarding the potential impact of her actions on both her loved ones and the broader community. Despite being aware of the consequences of her behavior, she frequently made decisions without due consideration for the ramifications. I would have defenitely liked to see more character growth in her as the story progressed.

I must admit, I was not particularly fond of Jonas’ character, and I found it challenging to believe that Demi could fall in love with him so quickly and easily after harboring such deep-seated animosity towards him for years. Their romance was lackluster and held no real depth.

Despite my frequent frustrations with the narrative, I still found myself engrossed in the story’s peaks and valleys because the world building was brilliant and I am eager to read the forthcoming installment.

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