Forged by Blood: A Novel (The Tainted Blood Duology #1) (Hardcover)
A brilliant new voice brings us a brilliant new epic fantasy novel: Ehigbor Okosun’s first book in an action-packed, poignant duology inspired by Nigerian mythology—full of magic and emotion and set in a highly atmospheric, complex world in which a young woman fights to survive a tyrannical society, having everything stripped away from her, and seeks vengeance for her mother’s murder and the spilled blood of her people.
In the midst of a tyrannical regime and political invasion, Dèmi just wants to survive: to avoid the suspicion of the nonmagical Ajes who occupy her ancestral homeland of Ife; to escape the King’s brutal genocide of her people—the darker skinned, magic wielding Oluso; and to live peacefully with her secretive mother while learning to control the terrifying blood magic that is her birthright.
But when Dèmi’s misplaced trust costs her mother’s life, survival gives way to vengeance. She bides her time until the devious Lord Ekwensi grants her the perfect opportunity—kidnap the Aje prince, Jonas, and bargain with his life to save the remaining Oluso. With the help of her reckless childhood friend Colin, Dèmi succeeds, but discovers that she and Jonas share more than deadly secrets; every moment tangles them further into a forbidden, unmistakable attraction, much to Colin’s—and Dèmi’s—distress.
The kidnapping is now a joint mission: to return to the King, help get Lord Ekwensi on the council, and bolster the voice of the Oluso in a system designed to silence them. But the way is dangerous, Dèmi’s magic is growing yet uncertain, and it’s not clear if she can trust the two men at her side.
A tale of rebellion and redemption, race and class, love and trust and betrayal, Forged by Blood is epic fantasy at its finest, from an enthusiastic, emerging voice.
Ehigbor Okosun is an Austin-based author who writes speculative fiction for adult and young adult audiences. A British private school survivor turned Nigerian American immigrant, she hopes to do justice to the myths and traditions she was steeped in, and to honor her large, multiracial, and multiethnic family. She is a graduate of the University of Texas with degrees in Plan II Honors, neurolinguistics, and English, as well as chemistry and premedical studies, and was recently named a Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award finalist. When she’s not reading, you can catch her bullet journaling and baking.
"Okosun’s elaborate worldbuilding is lavishly detailed and meticulously constructed, but it never feels overwhelming. The result is an impressive and refreshingly original page-turner that will leave readers eagerly awaiting the second volume." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Ehigbor Okosun has called on the winds of worldbuilding and the gales of great writing to create a tempest of a novel. Forged by Blood is an enchanting tale of sacrifice and power. Found family, mated love and unexpected twists only add to its depth of heart.” — Saara El-Arifi, bestselling author of The Final Strife
“Forged by Blood is a searing and thrilling fantasy, steeped in mythology and magic. Ehigbor Okosun weaves a gripping tale of power, sacrifice, and love—entwined in a captivating and intricate world.” — Sue Lynn Tan, bestselling author of Daughter of the Moon Goddess
"Forged by Blood is an intense, spellbinding debut from a vivid new storyteller. Ehigbor Okosun's lyrical prose effortlessly loops readers into a breathtaking adventure that keeps you on your toes and is set in a land as suffused with wonder as it is with heartbreak. Featuring a striking cast of characters with unbeatable chemistry, an inventive magic system, and rich, folkloric worldbuilding, Forged by Blood confronts history and captures the imagination with a gripping tale of tangled love, political intrigue, ancestral pain, and things worth fighting for."
— Thea Guanzon, author of The Hurricane Wars
“Dèmi is powerful, strong, and smart, with a kind heart—just the kind of main character readers will celebrate. While fighting the cruel Eingardians, she is also trying to figure out love and life. Add to that the spot-on world building and political complications and fantasy readers will find something to enjoy in this powerful work.” — Booklist (starred review)
“Forged by Blood is a spellbinding coming-of-age fantasy that's one of my top reads of the year. It delivers everything a riveting fantasy serves best—mythology, magic, and powerful sociopolitical commentary. Dèmi is a character with a fighting spirit and tons of heart that you can't help but root for as she tackles injustices. Forged by Blood is an epic fantasy debut that'll keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.” — N.E. Davenport, author of The Blood Trials
“Forged By Blood is Black Girl Magic at its finest. Okosun offers a million little revolutions tucked into an intimate tale. If you like your fantasy with a dash of Nigerian mythology, look no further. This is a remarkable writer bound to flourish.” — Suyi Davies Okungbowa, author of Son of the Storm
“An enchanting tale with a sharp critique on the brutal aftermath of colonization. Ehigbor Okosun weaved a magical story steeped in Nigerian myths and folklore, with characters of fierce conviction who jumped out of the page. Forged by Blood is an exciting debut filled with visually stunning, cinematic scenes, perilous fights of elemental magic, and a romance that kept me turning pages. This book is perfect for readers who long to be immersed in the mythos of a fresh new fantasy world!” — Gabriela Romero Lacruz, author of The Sun and the Void
"Rich, original world-building, found family, and a fast pace just serve to enhance a gripping story about the pain and conflict of revolution and resistance. Okosun is a writer to watch and I can't wait for the next book!" — Martha Wells, author of The Murderbot Diaries and Witch King