Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut Children of Blood and Bone.
They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.
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.
- Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
- Pages: 531
- Edition: Macmillan Children’s Books, Paperback (March 2018)
[Published March 2018 | Source: Goodreads]
I read this book last October for Sbooktober readathon. I don’t know why it took me so long to share my thoughts about this. But anyway, I think the gap was helpful, it gave me more time to reflect. If I’d written a review right away, I would’ve rated this book a perfect 5—given how it kept me occupied back then. And although I really enjoyed the story, I realized that I overlooked some things.
After some time of being away from this book, I figured I didn’t love it as much as I thought I did. DON’T get me wrong though, I still really enjoyed reading this and is also one of my top reads in 2019.
First of all, this is an exciting adventure story where the characters must retrieve some items in order to restore magic. I loved how it took me to a lot of twists and turns, this book didn’t bore me when it comes to action as there’s a lot going on between the pages. The pacing is great, nothing felt rushed or slowed, everything just fell into place at the right moment.
Throughout the book we follow three different POVs: Zelie, Amari and Inan. This is where it got a bit tricky. While reading the book, I often got confused about whose POV I was reading because it’s very easy to interchange them. I just wish their voices have been more distinct because in my opinion, the characters are really different from each other—I hope the POVs emphasized that.
One thing I really liked about Zelie as a protagonist is that she’s very focused. She never faltered. She knows her mission and she stuck with it until the end. There are a lot of well-developed side characters as well, particularly Tzain (Zelie’s brother) and Amari (the princess who’s also Inan’s sister). Then there’s the other rebel Diviners—who kidnapped Tzain and Amari—whose appearances I never thought I needed.
Anyway, if you know me, I get attached to animal characters more than people so Nailah (Zelie’s lionaire) was also such a blessing.
The land of Orisha is a very interesting place to be. Throughout the book the characters took us on a tour, some stops were longer than the others. And because I really enjoyed the journey, I wish I got to see more (this is a fast-paced story so the characters were just jumping from one place to another). It’s probably a wise move from the author though, as the story might have dragged had she let the characters linger in one place longer than intended.
Writing was easy to get into, just like how I wanted it to be. The story is exhilarating enough and the last thing I want is to figure out a metaphor or google a word. That would’ve ruined the mood.
The final thing I want to point out is the one that made me cringe and… urgh! I just wish it never happened: the romance. The romance here, in my opinion, is very forced and unnecessary. There’s just no chemistry between Zelie and Inan AT ALL! I just don’t get it why Inan couldn’t take Zelie out of his murderous mind the first time he saw her when it’s his sister, Amari, he should be worried about. The romance is very instant and very convenient for the two and Inan is not even a likeable character. I think he lacks backbone and is gullible, and I was right because he did something really stupid at the end of the book. Honestly, I liked that he did that so Zelie could wake up from the unnecessary romance and move on.
Romance aside, this has been a really great read. And I will definitely continue reading the series. The world-building and magic system is amazing with equally fantastic characters (except Inan), so if you’re looking for a fast-paced, action-packed YA fantasy with cringe-y, I-don’t-see-the-point romance (lol), this is the book for yah.
“When your opponent has no honor, you must fight in different ways, smarter ways.”— Mama Agba, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
4 / 5