There are no spoilers in this review.
I’m not a big urban fantasy reader, yet something about The Black Veins called out to me. Maybe it was for the way it mentioned an incredible, diverse cast, or a found family, or maybe it was the fact that some of my blogging friends mentioned how amazing it was. Or a mix of it all. No matter what drew me in, I’m really glad that it did because I discovered a little gem of a debut in The Black Veins.
A million thanks to the lovely CW @ The Quiet Pond and Ashia Monet for putting this blog tour together, for accepting me to take part in it and for sending me a free review copy of the book. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating.
A UNIQUE, FAST-PACED STORY
The Black Veins is set in a world just like ours, yet, for the ones in the known, a world filled with magic just as well, on the brink of a war. After Blythe witnesses her family being kidnapped right in front of her eyes, she throw herself into the road trip of her life, in search of her family and slowly surrounding herself by other Guardians just like her, some of the most powerful magicians in the entire world.
Right from the very first pages, we are thrown into action, into a fast-paced, thrilling and heartstopping adventure and experiencing first-hand Blythe’s struggles and emotions. The author perfectly juggled between giving up information about the world, the magical beings, the system and government behind it all, and the intrigue of the story quickly picking up in rhythm and tension as Blythe’s family gets kidnapped, giving up not a single moment for the reader to get bored. On the contrary, I felt compelled to read on right from the first pages and found The Black Veins to slowly, but surely become an intriguing, addictive and original read.
AN AMAZING CAST OF CHARACTERS I LOVE
The cast of characters in The Black Veins was, without a doubt, my favorite part of the story and I know I will think about them very fondly, even months from now. Slowly but surely, we get to know a large cast of characters, all with their own quirks, flaws and talents and, most of it all, all with their own character arcs and determination to reach their own goals, too. They were all unique in their own ways and I adored them all in different ways.
Told from Blythe’s point of view, we get to know a kind, fiercely determined main character who will do anything to get her family back. As the story goes on, we get to meet other incredible characters, the other Guardians, who will accompany her on her road trip. We have Cordelia, the sassy, awesome, genius hacker, Daniel, the one I wanted to protect at all costs, Antonio, the adorable enthusiastic character always making me laugh, kind and always thoughtful, Storm, the protective, fiercely determined and badass, Caspian, the enigmatic one and Jay, the charming one. All of them felt unique and there was not one single character that I didn’t appreciate, which honestly, in such a large cast, makes it a win.
Most of it all, their relationship as the story went on made my heart burst with happiness. From their encounter to their banter, genuine laughs and complicated fights, from slowly getting to know each other to realizing you’ve found here, dynamics that are way too good to be broken up, everything about the characters’ relationships to each other was lovely and, most of it all, realistic.
Despite the innocent flirting every now and then by Jay (expected of him, to be honest), The Black Veins was so focused on that wonderful found-family trope that it did not give any space for any kind of romance in the story. To be honest, in a context like this, who has time for romance anyway? This felt so, so very refreshing and amazing.
The Black Veins was most likely one of the biggest surprises of my year so far and, friends, I’m so thrilled I gave this lovely book a chance. The interesting, well-crafted world, the fast-paced intrigue, the fantastic cast of characters convinced me that I need the sequel to this as soon as possible. Ashia Monet is definitely a very, very promising author I will follow.
Final rating: 4 drops!
Trigger warnings: all of these triggers are mentioned at the very start of the book. The author is amazing for that okay. Discussion of deceased parents, siblings, and potential parental and familial death. Description of mild bloodshed in violent scenes. Mention of drugs and drug use, primarily marijuana. Gun use. Supernatural horror in the form of monsters (in Chapters 6, 12, and 25). Car accident (Chapter 19). Discussion of anxiety disorders and panic disorders (in Chapters 22, 23, and 25). Racial n-word slur, ending in-a, (in Chapter 21). Mild anxiety attack (in Chapter 25).
Diversity: Cast of amazing diverse characters: Blythe (black, bisexual), Cordelia (East Asian), Antonio (Puerto Rican, queer), Storm (black), Caspian (trans, asexual), Jay (black, bisexual), Jamie (Black, non-binary, adopted)
📖 About The Black Veins
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.
Find The Black Veins on:
🖋 About the author, Ashia Monet
Ashia Monet is a speculative fiction author whose work almost always includes found families, diverse ensemble casts, the power of friendship, and equal parts humor and drama. Some of her favorite things are The Adventure Zone, Ariana Grande, and the color pink. You can follow her on Twitter @ashiamonet and Instagram @ashiawrites.
📝 The Black Veins Blog Tour Schedule
CW @ The Quiet Pond (Introduction + Review)
Fran @ The Ramblebee (List + Playlist)
Fadwa @ Word Wonders (Review + Aesthetic)
Sage @ sageshelves (Review + Discussion Post [Benefits of No Romantic Arc])
Kate @ Your Tita Kate (Review only)
Vinny @ Artsy Draft (Review + Lockscreen/Wallpapers)
Lili @ Utopia State of Mind (Review + Hand Lettering)
Noémie @ Tempest of Books (Review + Discussion [‘No Romance’])
Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books (Review only)
Surina @ Book Reviews by the Bloggisters (Review + Author Interview)
Saoudia @ Recs From Ur Friend (Review + Quiz [Which Guardian Are You?])
Gretal @ Books and Breadcrumbs (Review + Discussion [No Romantic Arc])
Kate @ Reading Through Infinity (Review + Author Interview)
Vanessa @ The Wolf & Books (Review + Moodboard OR Playlist)
Did you read The Black Veins? Do you want to?
Do you like reading urban fantasy and/or about found family tropes? Do you have some recommendations for me? I’d love to hear from you in comments!