Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Summary 

“Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were 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 an enemy.”

Review

A girl fights the monarch to bring back magic to her people, OK! No need to twist my arm to read this one!

I read an article the other day, in it posed the question; “Is Tomi Adeyemi the next J.K Rowling?” If Children of Blood and Bone is any indication, then I’m in the yes category! This book is so much more than an epic, well written, page turning fantasy. Not only is the book absolutely fantastic story wise- complex characters, stunning world building, with a magic system new and exciting-it is also a book of great social importance that perhaps has/will open hearts and allow for relevant issues to be seen through a different lens.

Good vs. Evil. Right vs. Wrong.  What is justified and what is not? The author does a great job of showing through the story that fear and the unknown, the “other” can lead to mass devastation. While I am clearly on the side of the magi, it is clear (not justified) why the King feels the way he does, and takes the action he does. Fear and the unknown, the misunderstood.

The wavering views Zelie has on bringing magic back was an intelligent addition to the plot. While she wants the magi to have power, be able to defend themselves, she has witnessed the devastation that untrained magic can bring- something she wants to avoid, more death and blood spill.

The characters in this book are each multifaceted with strengths, weaknesses, and character flaws. Zelie is undisciplined, ferocious, and filled with a deep seeded pain from the murder of her mother. Tzain is the opposite in many ways; self-controlled, careful and holds himself responsible for his family’s well being and safety. The relationship between the two is one that any close knit brother and sister can relate to. One of deep love and  protectiveness.

Amari, the Lioness, the princess- what an amazing character. Brave. Loyal, and strong. She perhaps had the most growth, and it was a joy for the reader to watch her turn into a fierce warrior. Obviously I am being rather vague, as I don’t want to spoil this book for anyone!

Inan. Oh Inan. Shakespeare anyone? A tragic character. One I love, one I hate. One with the most potential…maybe?? (Maybe as in I have hope with this character.) His character is an example of being torn between what you think you are, and your true self. Being raised to believe one thing, then seeing the truth, and the internal struggle this brings.

On a more serious note, I have learned from this book. It has touched my heart. But more importantly, this book will be for people of color something so much more than it is to me. Representation.  All African characters, a fantasy novel with strong black characters, hero’s and a magic world that will be made for the big screen for all to see, people who look like them. The book is filled with African folk-lore and history. I heard the author in an interview say that she didn’t think she could be a princess when she was little because she didn’t see one that looked like her. Representation. The world has Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings and now we’ll have The Children of Blood and Bone. An epic fantasy set in a different place, with different people. My bet, this one will be a classic as well!

This book deserves all the stars. More than five. More than 10. Hands down, thus far, book of the year for me!

5/5

Jessica

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