Blood at the Root (Hardcover)

Blood at the Root By LaDarrion Williams Cover Image
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May/June 2024 Kids Indie Next List

“This book contains multitudes. It’s deep-rooted magic, centering a Black boy who rescues his foster brother, reconnects with long lost family, and ends up at a magical HBCU. Most importantly, he’s not the sidekick and he doesn’t die.”
— Audrey I-Wei Huang, Belmont Books, Belmont, MA


INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A teenager on the run from his past finds the family he never knew existed and the community he never knew he needed at an HBCU for the young, Black, and magical. Enroll in this fresh fantasy debut unlike anything you've seen before.

Ten years ago, Malik's life changed forever the night his mother mysteriously vanished and he discovered he had uncontrollable powers. Since then, he has kept his abilities hidden, looking out for himself and his younger foster brother, Taye. Now, at 17, Malik is finally ready to start a new life for both of them, far from the trauma of his past. However, a daring act to rescue Taye reveals an unexpected connection with his long-lost grandmother: a legendary conjurer with ties to a hidden magical university that Malik’s mother attended.

At Caiman University, Malik’s eyes are opened to a future he never could have envisioned for himself— one that includes the reappearance of his first love, Alexis. His search for answers about his heritage, his powers, and what really happened to his mother exposes the cracks in their magical community as it faces a reawakened evil dating back to the Haitian Revolution. Together with Alexis, Malik discovers a lot beneath the surface at Caiman: feuding covens and magical politics, forbidden knowledge and buried mysteries. 

In a wholly unique saga of family, history and community, Malik must embrace his legacy to save what's left of his old family as well as his new one. Exploring the roots and secrets that connect us in an unforgettable contemporary setting, this heart-pounding fantasy series opener is a rich tapestry of atmosphere, intrigue, and emotion.

About the Author

LaDarrion Williams is a Los Angeles based-playwright, filmmaker, author, and screenwriter whose goal is to cultivate a new era of Black fantasy, providing space and agency for Black characters and stories in a new, fresh and fantastical way. He is currently a resident playwright/co-creator of The Black Creators Collective, where his play UMOJA made its West Coast premiere in January 2022 and produced North Hollywood’s first Black playwrights festival at the Waco Theater Center. Blood at the Root is his first novel. His viral and award-winning short film based on the same concept, is currently on YouTube and Amazon Prime.

Praise For…

A buzzy debut about the adventures of a runaway teen who finds himself at an HBCU for the young, Black, and magical, Blood at the Root is a story of community and legacy that’s clearly aiming to do something very different in this genre space.” —Paste Magazine
“This story offers a fresh take on familiar YA fantasy tropes, like a secret magical school and a long-lost grandmother.” —BuzzFeed

★ "Everything about Malik’s written for Black boys, filling a much-needed gap in magical YA. And best of all, Williams’s debut is rooted in Black history, telling the truth through fantasy.” —School Library Journal, starred review

Exuberant contemporary fantasy series opener....a serpentine, high-intensity celebration of Black culture, history, and power." —Publishers Weekly

"Debut author Williams’ impressive world building blends African and Black American history and cultures with a secret society of influential hoodoo and vodun practitioners...This celebration of Black culture will resonate with readers unused to seeing themselves in traditional fantasies.” —Booklist

"The extensive worldbuilding incorporates West African, Caribbean, and Black American history and cultures to explain a magical reality hidden from view and relevant to the Black diaspora and Malik’s family history....A well-thought-out magical world that provocatively centers Black experiences.” Kirkus Reviews

"Williams offers a strong foundation of world-building in this series debut, blending creative magical pieces with realistic elements of Black history and culture." —The Bulletin

“A refreshing, thrilling, magical, and all-around good read! Cheering for you, LaDarrion!”
— James Bland (Creator of Daytime Emmy Award-winning drama series “Giants”)

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593711927
ISBN-10: 0593711920
Publisher: Labyrinth Road
Publication Date: May 7th, 2024
Pages: 432
Language: English
Series: Blood at the Root