Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

It took me a quick second to get into this book, but once I got into it I was hooked. I’ve read a lot of fantasy and this has to be one of the best fantasies I’ve read in a while.

I didn’t think this was an easy read. I didn’t think this was one of those grip you and take you on an adventure kind of books either. It was a thinker. It was a delicious meal and I wanted to savor every bite.

Here’s some more about the book

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They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

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.


The book is written in three different points of view. Zelie, a young teenager coming from meager means and considered a “diviner.” Amari, a young princess who happens to steal a magical scroll that can bring back magic. Inan, a young prince (brother to Amari) and adamantly against magic ever returning.

To put it in terms without spoiling the book, when Amari finds Zelie, the journey to return magic to its people finally begins. However, antagonists like Inan are hot on their trail trying to snuff the magic out.

I absolutely loved this story. It felt like I was watching a high-action adventure movie on the big screen. I even used real-life actors to play the characters in my head (hellloooo Zendaya playing Zelie?!). The story is so visual and you can easily picture these characters through their journey.

The story moved so quickly that I was worried that the next book will run out of things to talk about (trust me, it won’t). Every single page was action-packed and no one slept soundly while they were on the run from their own king, the prince, and anyone else who opposed magic.

It also felt incredibly real. The idea of a young princess running away, selling her crown and robes to keep running, and helping bring back a magic her father suffocated was my favorite part. I loved Zelie and Inan, but Amari was by far my favorite character. It’s a young girl who watched her own handmaid get killed at the hands of her father and you watch her go from this demure little princess into a bad ass warrior princess. I think my Xena-filled heart grew twice as big because of her.

I also loved how rich the world felt. For a first novel, I can already tell the kinds of tribes these people came across, the kind of magic each delivers, the strength of the characters. There was growth, there was love, and there was magic.

It’s such a good time for Fantasy novels right now because authors like Tomi Adeyemi are taking real life examples and turning them into rich stories.

After I finished reading this book, I took a look at the Author’s Note. Tomi Adeyemi talks about how she cried while writing this book and how the time she was writing wasn’t generally good. It was because of the poor children whose lives were taken away from them. They were African Americans who were shot by the police. I don’t want to take sides and get into the movement, but I think about those kids and how their potential to be or do something great with their lives was snuffed out too soon.

Looking back at the book after reading it, there were themes of how those kids and many other kids must have felt after seeing this on the news. I can only imagine the horror and fear for being born a certain skin tone, a feature no one can do anything about when they’re born. You can see these themes with Zelie, Amari, Tzain, and Inan.

I think the only thing I could fault this book on was the love story. I understand that there could have been some love element between the four teens, but it felt a little forced between Inan and Zelie. I think my hesitancy here is because Inan was so ruthlessly against magic and all of a sudden he’s accepting and loving of Zelie and her powers. I know this is a book to help share tolerance, but I feel that even Inan would have been a self-loathing magi. I also didn’t like how quickly he switched sides. I almost wish there was more struggle with him trying to come to terms with his magic side while still remaining strongly loyal to his throne and his father.

Overall, great Fantasy book. I would definitely recommend this to everyone who loves a good fantasy novel. Also, I absolutely love the representation. If you are African American and always wanted a fantasy novel about you, then this is definitely the read for you.


 

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