The Black Veins by: Ashia Monet
My Rating: 4 Stars
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.
Beware spoilers ahead!
Trigger Warning(s): Content warnings are included in the book.
Rep: Blythe is Black and bisexual. Cordelia is British Chinese and will soon identify as queer and questioning. Daniel is white and cishetallo. Antonio is Puerto Rican and will soon identify as demiromantic, demisexual, and only attracted to boys. Storm is Black and straight. Caspian is trans and asexual. Jay is Black and bisexual. Katia is described as Middle Eastern. Jamie is white, non-binary, agender, and is attracted to females.
Disclaimer: I received this E-ARC via the author in exchange for an honest review. When Ashia put the E-ARC request form on Twitter, I was ecstatic! I wasn’t chosen as a part of the blog tour and saw this as an opportunity to read the arc. I am happy to say that not only was I chosen and I also really enjoyed The Black Veins!
My Synopsis: Blythe lives an ordinary life. Her parents own a coffee shop, which she also works at. Her twin sisters Lily and Lena keep the family on their toes. Her sort of friend Jamie keeps her company. This all changes the night Blythe and two other Guardians are spelled to walk off their roofs.
Her family calls their magical government and come to an agreement. In a few days Blythe will be leaving her family to go to Frost Glade. Blythe wants to spend more time with her family and Jamie.
Two days before her scheduled departure a mysterious man attacks the coffee shop, kidnaps Blythe’s family and critically injures Jamie. Blythe finds herself caught up in a war that she wants nothing to do with. Upon Jamie’s suggestion, Blythe decides to take a road trip to gather the rest of the guardians. The end goal being to rescue her family.
Book Format: The Black Veins is written third person limited following Blythe. Before the actual story there is a table of contents and content warnings. There are also chapter numbers.
Where I Heard About This Book: I came across Ashia advertising The Black Veins. I was hooked when she promised a road trip story with no romance! And instead a large focus on family.
I kept on eye out on Twitter for more information and came across the blog tour form and the E-ARC request form.
My Thoughts Before Reading: I remained ecstatic for The Black Veins! I had no doubt that I would really like it. I am happy to say that I was proven right!
What I Liked: I loved the family aspect! Both blood and found. Blythe’s family was such a joy to read about! I loved how close they were. Blythe’s whole world is ripped apart when her family was kidnapped. You can really feel for and her situation.
I really liked Jamie! They were awesome and so supportive of Blythe. You did get to learn some more information regarding the world building through Blythe explaining everything to Jamie. I hope that Jamie will make an appearance in the other books.
I admire Blythe! I have no idea how she managed to have a good head on her shoulders, while searching for her family. I loved how she was a photographer and has a very large appreciation for the arts. And that Blythe actually read like a teenager. She made some really dumb mistakes but owned up to them. Unlike so many YA books that have the adult mentality in the body of a teenager. Ashia really did an excellent job fleshing Blythe out!
The guardians surprised me. To be honest I didn’t really have any expectations or any assumptions off what they would be like. Still I was not expecting them to be so unique or that diverse! I thoroughly enjoyed each guardian and their relationship to one-another.
Cordelia is the first guardian you meet. She’s very rude and a hacker, whose only goal is to get away from magic. While I really didn’t like her in the beginning, she grew on me. And had some of best character development I’ve ever seen! I loved her friendship with Blythe.
Daniel is the second guardian, and he is a super magical genius. The only thing he lacks is social skills and knowledge about the world. I loved reading about his knowledge! And it was so much fun to read about the rest of the characters educating Daniel on the world/technology.
Antonio is a wonderful cook and the most supportive guardian. He’s extremely nice and can make friends with anyone! All the food that he made sounded amazing. I got hungry every now and then. I especially loved reading his interactions with Blythe.
Storm is tough as nails and speaks her mind without holding back. Which I really appreciated. It was nice that she asked all the important questions. She’s quite secretive and is very caring.
Caspian is a ghost. He can easily move in and out of other places without getting caught. He’s very sarcastic and doesn’t like it when the characters don’t laugh at his jokes. I really liked reading about his development! And how he became more open.
Jay is definitely the most fun out of all the guardians. He is a flirt and spends most of the time denying magic. You know the least about him. I really liked how Ashia described him! I’ve never read about a Black character being called ‘Angelic’. It was so nice to read that!
There is no romance! Instead a large focus on the slow burn friendship with the guardians. The road trip to Electric City takes up most of the book. While the guardians do still learn new information and continue searching for Blythe’s family, the characters spend a long time on the road. Just in case anyone doesn’t like journey books.
The world building is so cool! I love how the magic system is rooted within our world. I particularly enjoyed reading about the Tempore. A magical time warped forest. It was interesting to learn about the differences between The Black Veins and the Trident Republic.
I particularly loved how humor! I didn’t know that there was a comedic aspect before I started reading. Considering the plot I didn’t think it would work, but it did.
My Criticism(s): I found the pacing to be all over the place. Sometimes it was really fast, other times it was quite slow. It might’ve been better had I actually taken my time reading. The world building could sometimes get info dumpy. And I had a hard time remembering everything.
What I’m Looking Forward To: The ending is a very brutal cliffhanger. I am excited to read the sequel. And learn more information about the characters and the political system.
I’m particularly anxious for information regarding the Trident Republic and the stone The Black Veins forcefully took. I’m curious to see how Katia and Oliver Walden are linked.
Conclusion: Overall I thorough enjoyed The Black Veins! I highly recommend it.