Title: Children of Blood and Bone
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Publication Date: March 2018
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.
Do you ever feel afraid to pick up a book?
You know when you’re nervous, and you can’t quite put your finger on why that is? Children of Blood and Bone has been sat on my bookshelf since the day it was released and yet it’s taken me five months to pick it up. With such an intriguing concept, such high appraisal and so much love from the community it baffles me that I let it sit there gathering dust. It’s like Schrödinger’s cat – I can’t hate the story if I haven’t read it – and I think that was what held me back. There’s nothing worse than wanting so desperately to really, truly, love a book and hate it. Luckily I had nothing to worry about.
Gods are nothing without fools to believe in them.
Tomi Adeyemi had a wonderful writing style with fantastic prose that draws you right into the world. The magic really does capture your soul and hold it hostage, not once letting you go. This was a book I did not want to put down, and Adeyemi made sure that if I did I would regret it. The description of the magic system and history in chapter eighteen was done in such a beautiful way. I felt so calm and connected to the story and the mythology; I could see it playing out right in front of me. I could hear the words being spoken, I could see the characters so vibrantly.
The story, for me, is the best part about this novel. It’s intricate and detailed without become contrived. While it wasn’t the most unpredictable plot I’ve ever read, without too many truly shocking twists, it did still keep me on my toes. I think part of this was due to the fact that I never knew if any of the characters were safe. There was always the potential for something to go wrong for each and every one of them. I feel like it’s difficult for me to go into too much detail here without spoiling anything – I ended up reading this book so quickly it was near impossible for me to really take everything in and give it an in depth analysis. All I know is that I loved the plot.
Let them taste the terror they make us swallow.
Usually, the characters are what I love most about a story. It’s what I like most about writing, and usually the thing I find most fascinating about a book. Now, this isn’t to say they characters were badly written or that I disliked them, it was just that they took a backseat for me.
Zélie was definitely the most likeable character for me. She’s fierce and strong and driven. She didn’t let anything hold her back, even when she was terrified. She’s physically strong and knows how to fight but that doesn’t stop her from being a complex character.
Tzain is a little bit more infuriating than his sister. I did like their dynamic but he often put his own worries onto her, blaming Zélie and her nature for any inconvenience they encountered. I know a lot of people enjoy his ‘told you so’ personality, but it just frustrated me. He too often spoke his mind when it wasn’t needed and, instead of aiding other characters, just helped stunt their understanding of the situation and held them back from trying to solve a problem due to his doubting voice in the back of their heads.
Tzain’s is the only point of view we don’t get to see from the main four characters and while I didn’t love him in the novel, I do think this could have aided with helping me understand his motives a lot better.
Amari is probably, surprisingly, my favourite character. She’s innocent and ignorant to what divîners go through, yet pure at heart. She’s so determined to do the right thing and is a secret badass. She’s definitely the character that grew the most through this story and I’m so proud of her for everything she overcame.
I did not like Inan. I know he’s supposed to be this villain that we can empathise with and see him change through the novel, but I could not connect with him. I understand his compassion comes out in the novel but I feel like it’s for all the wrong reasons. (Spoilers) “Duty isn’t enough when it means destroying the girl I love.” Aw. Sweet. *eye roll.* I don’t understand why he can’t see that he should do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, not for a pretty girl. Men always think with their dicks. I hated this romance and was probably the only part of the book that made me consider not giving it the 5 stars it deserves.
Mama Agba is incredible. I love her – even though she was kind of abusive – and is probably the wisest character in the novel. The scene when she got her magic back was so moving and I was so happy for her. I also liked Baba but I think I would have liked to see more of him. Perhaps we’ll get some flashbacks in the next book but I doubt it.
Binta is the character that stood out for me the most in the novel. Even though we barely saw her alive – we never ‘met’ her properly – she has such a prominent presence throughout the book and was alive in my mind the whole time.
Power is not the answer. It will only intensify the fight.
The representation is definitely something that is worth mentioning. This is such an incredible story with such an incredible and rich culture. It’s about time we had a fantasy story in the spotlight that’s not about someone white. As someone who is white I can’t fully express how much this representation means to people, but if you’d like to read more about this from someone who can talk more personally, Joel over at Fictional Fates has written a fantastic review and you should definitely check it out here.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. While I had a few grievances, it’s a fantastically written piece of fantasy fiction and it definitely deserves all the love it’s getting. I gave this book 5 stars.
Have you guys read this book? How many stars would you rate Children of Blood and Bone?
Who was your favourite character? What was your favourite part?
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