Monica Recommends - Dispatch #3
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"In this intricately layered debut fantasy, a nonbinary refugee practitioner of blood magic discovers a strange disease causing political rifts in their new homeland. Persian-American author Naseem Jamnia has crafted a gripping narrative with a moving, nuanced exploration of immigration, gender, healing, and family."
Right to the point: I loved this book, and it was everything I had hoped for and more. More to the point, you've never read anything like it.
This Persian-inspired queernormative medical mystery/fantasy novella skillfully takes inspiration from the author's own background and experience to create an enthralling and extremely relevant work of fantastical world-building and poignant character-building that is at once an escape and a consideration of the world around us.
Our main character, Firuz-e Jafari, is a nonbinary refugee practitioner of blood magic in a world where blood magic must be practiced in secret due to the prejudices and implications surrounding its use. Firuz finds themselves volunteering at one of the last "free" (as in, free with their clientele in a city wary of refugees) when they discover a strange disease that causes political rifts in their new homeland, termed "the blood-bruising" for its physical effects on the body.
In order to survive, Firuz must "break a deadly cycle of prejudice, untangle sociopolitical constraints, and find a fresh start for their both their blood and found family".
If you're still not sure, here's a playlist that follows the rise and fall of the narrative, by yours truly!