Fiction - Supernatural
140 Pages
Reviewed on 12/12/2021
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Author Biography

Shariyah Levvi hails from Chicago and has traveled extensively as a performing artist. A graduate of Columbia College for the arts and an accomplished songwriter and lyricist, this is her second novel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Malasangre is a work of fiction in the supernatural and fantasy subgenres. It is aimed at the adult reading audience and was penned by author Shariyah Levvi. The book follows teenager Diego Malasangre as he leaves the safety of his home in the country with a wish for adventure in 1600s Seville. This wish comes true in ways he didn’t anticipate after he meets the curious pair Donna and Melaku and ends up as the target of religious persecution, running from danger in the forms of hellish visions and magic-users as well as more familiar threats such as the far-reaching shadow of the Catholic Church.

This book makes masterful use of the supernatural, using it as a powerful underscoring of the real-world threats that Diego has to face during his adventure. The supernatural lore of the book is a fresh take on ideas rooted firmly in the kind of zealous Catholicism that was present in 17th-century Spain, and, as such, Shariyah Levvi finds ways of making the most unreal and fantastical ideas feel grounded and natural. This uneasiness about where exactly the line lies between historical fact and supernatural folklore constantly blocks the reader from feeling too certain of their surroundings and the effect is a work of fiction that compels as much as it disquiets. Malasangre is a book of fascinating ideas and beautiful prose being used to explore them, with engaging and exciting characters that I wanted to follow beyond the book's epilogue. An excellent read that I recommend to all.

JC Minnaar

In Malasangre by Shariyah Levvi, Diego is a 14-year-old on the cusp of adolescence and fed up with his life as a farm laborer. Aspiring to study in the city of Seville, he trudges, beaten and bruised, toward the city where he meets Doña Carlotta and her partner Melaku riding in their carriage in the same direction. To Diego’s good fortune, Carlotta agrees to take Diego in as Melaku’s assistant to learn the trade of horse breeding and training. Unbeknownst to Carlotta, however, Alejandro, Supreme General of the Jesuit Order of Seville, plots to obtain a certain book the gypsy possesses – the fabled book of King Solomon. We follow Diego, Carlotta, Meluka, and Alejandro as their paths cross, and each strives to reach their own goals.

Shariyah Levvi’s Malasangre had me glued to every page with the twists and turns the plot takes. Malasangre serves as a strong reminder that heroes don’t always come out unscathed, especially when dealing with matters of demons and corrupt people in positions of authority. Diego, Carlotta, and Melaku are wonderfully written and I praise Levvi for making me feel such resentment toward Alejandro. I am a huge fan of exploring darker religious themes and Levvi does so remarkably well in creating an atmosphere and tension that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. Malasangre is a story full of mystery, misery, conspiracy, and few books have managed to evoke as much emotion in me regarding the lives and fates of these characters as this one did.

Emma Megan

Malasangre by Shariyah Levvi is a riveting supernatural novel about Diego Malasangre, a fatherless 14-year-old boy with a dull life. Diego is no more than a garden farmer on someone else's land. He is eager to leave his country home to be independent. Despite his mother's wishes, he wants to go to Seville to study and find his own way. On his way to Seville, he meets an intriguing, mysterious couple who takes pity on him and invites him to join them. Diego accepts without knowing that Dona Carlotta and her companion, Melaku the Ethiopian, will change the course of his life forever. Because of them, Diego learns about his own origins, religious persecutions, demons, sorcerers, priests, homosexuality, the importance of a soul and keeping it, and more.

I enjoyed reading Malasangre by Shariyah Levvi due to the easy-to-read yet deeply immersive, chilling tale that revolves around the occult, revenge, witches, a mystical ring, and a powerful, dangerous book. Even though some characters are weirdly wonderful and others hideous and frightening, I especially loved Dona Carlotta with her heartbreaking life story and remarkable powers. Alejandro and anything related to the legend of King Solomon fascinated me despite their dark side. There is no doubt that this dark, twisting novel is beautifully crafted and all of the characters are strong and intriguing. The last seven chapters were a real roller coaster with a rewarding ending that asks for a sequel. I can't accept that Malasangre by Shariyah Levvi is over, and I want more of it.

Edward Randle

After perusing "Requiem in the Desert," one would say: "there's no way that Shariyah Levvi could top this!" Well, she did! Here's a book that has it all! It will make you