I’ve had lots of different ideas for this post and I found it hard narrowing it down. My original plan was to list some of my favourite books that touch on the main characters or characters sacrificing something in order to move the story along, but as I started to really think about this post, I kept coming back to the importance of sacrifice in how good magic systems work.
To each there own, but personally speaking, the only magic system that makes sense to me is magic that needs some kind of sacrifice in order to work. Like wouldn’t everyone have the propensity for magic if there was no sacrifices? Yes, I’m side eyeing Harry Potter but J.K. Rowling ruined the franchise so now I say the stuff I used to keep inside out loud! 😀
So some of my favourite magic systems that require sacrifice below. For some reason blood and bone magic are a particular favourite. I ADORE the scarifies needed in The Witcher series though. That’s how I imagine magic to be.
*I have these editions of The Last Wish and The Bone Shard Daughter but shockingly I don’t have Bookstagram posts of them. Two gorgeous editions that I’ve not shown off? I will have to rectify that and when I do I’ll update.
Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1) by Jay Kristoff
In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.
Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.
Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.
Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?Nevernight
The Last Wish (The Witcher #0.5) by Andrzej Sapkowski
Geralt the Witcher—revered and hated—is a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent.
But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good… and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.The Last Wish
The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1) by N.K. Jemisin
This is the way the world ends. Again.
Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.
Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.The Fifth Season
Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1) by Laini Taylor
Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?Daughter of Smoke & Bone
The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire #1) by Andrea Stewart
The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands.
Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.
Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people.The Bone Shard Daughter