Title: Children of Blood and Bone
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Publication Date: March 8th 2018
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Count: 531
Summary: Zelie remembers when the soil of Orisha hummed with magic. When different clans ruled – Burners igniting flames, Tiders beckoning waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoning forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, anyone with powers was targeted and killed, leaving Zelie without a mother and her people without hope. Only a few people remain with the power to use magic, and they must remain hidden.
Zelie is one such person. Now she has a chance to bring back magic to her people and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zelie must learn to harness her powers and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Danger lurks in Orisha, where strange creatures prowl, and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zelie herself as she struggles to come to terms with the strength of her magic – and her growing feelings for an enemy. (Source: Goodreads)
Content Warnings: childhood trauma, war, violence, death, slavery, racism, xenophobia/ic language, attempted rape, torture, self-harm, abusive parents.
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
This book is an incredible debut. I cannot fault it at all. Tomi Adeyemi is amazing at her craft. Her writing is simply mesmerising. Her ability to create complex characters is astonishing.
Adeyemi had me doubting myself over the main characters, and goodness, did I feel their emotions. Adeyemi’s debut is true to its name. Children of Blood and Bone is a tangible text. Its world is very much alive as it is a reality that is very much our own.
Zélie Adebola is a force of nature. I was immediately drawn in by her. She feels so much but hides her grief behind her determination. I wanted to hug her, to be honest. Zélie is not a perfect hero, she has her flaws but her determination to fulfil her destiny is what kept me reading. I am glad that Adeyemi didn’t create Zélie to be a flawless heroine; I think it’s what made me love her so much.
The truth cuts like the sharpest knife I’ve ever known. No matter what I do, I will always be afraid.
In all honesty, I wasn’t that interested in Amari and Inan, although I must say I much prefer Amari over Inan any day. Amari’s character development felt like Adeyemi’s way of providing background to the corruption of the noble class, but I was happy to see the sisterhood between Amari and Zelie, as you often don’t see this in young adult books. On the other hand, I’ve never hated a character more than I hated Inan. Adeyemi was cruel to confuse readers with Inan’s moral ambiguity – I must admit, I did feel sorry for him in some sections. But no. I do not feel sorry for him in the slightest.
Onto the world-building, I was hooked from the opening chapter. I think this is what made this book a full 5 stars for me. You’re completely immersed Orïsha’s culture through storytelling, conversations, and descriptions. I am fascinated by the Orïsha’s mythology (I mean mythology always fascinates me), it is interwoven through the narrative flawlessly. I often struggle with fantasy novels due to the amount of world-building information, but Adeyemi’s careful descriptions of the clans, the traditions, and places allowed me to invest in the story.
With regards to the novel’s tangibility, it does not shy away from real-life issues at all. I felt that the novel contends with racial cleansing through the division between diviners/maji and kosidán (non-maji). The issue is prevalent throughout the novel as the king of Orïsha is determined to eradicate all traces of magic through murder, enslavement, and oppression. I found it to be incredibly powerful social commentary.
I cannot wait to read the next instalment of the Legacy of Orïsha: Children of Virtue and Vengeance.
Have you read Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi? What did you think? Let me know below!
Until next time, be brave & bookish!