Title: Children of Blood and Bone
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Series(?): Legacy of Orïsha (#1)
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Publication Date: March 8th 2018
Source & Format: Paperback ARC. I received a free copy of this book from MacMillan Children’s Books. This has in no way affected my review, which is honest and unbiased.
Page Count: 600
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.
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THIS BOOK. I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS BOOK FOR MY ENTIRE CHILDHOOD.
Children of Blood and Bone not only made me cry at the end, but it managed to expertly tell a story where I was invested in the story and its characters. This was one of my most anticipated reads for 2018 and it did not disappoint at all.
I was so shocked when I was sent an ARC, I literally almost happy cried as much as when I was teary eyed with sadness when I finished the story. I even did a livetweet reading of Children of Blood and Bone which you can view by clicking the link here. You can also read my immediate thoughts from a very tired Joel at 5:21am after reading here.
I have no doubt in my mind that next to Strange the Dreamer and Six of Crows, Children of Blood and Bone sits as one of my favourite books of all time.
Tomi Adeyemi’s writing is not only fantastic, but it draws you into the story where you’re immersed by wonderful world-building and individual characters who had distinct personalities which I grew to love. These characters felt human, they had their strengths and weaknesses and they learnt to grow with every obstacle that they faced. I just wanted to protect them D:
There was a lot I learnt from Children of Blood and Bone as a writer too. To see how the world-building was introduced seamlessly was something I took note of as well as the use of good pacing. It was fast when it needed to be and slow when it needed to be, it was ideal.
This was also a multi-pov novel and it assisted me in knowing when to shift to a different perspective and how I could make each voice individual.
I don’t know what shocked me more – the power in my voice or the words themselves. Afraid. I am always afraid.
THE REPRESENTATION I FELT WAS LIKE NOTHING ELSE
Children of Blood and Bone focuses directly on the Orisians, black people who are split into the Diviners and the Koshidáns, people who possess magic and those who don’t respectively.
It was SO empowering to have an entire cast of black people within a novel (apart from one person, but they aren’t white either) and it also contributed to my emotions while reading the novel.
This story was something I needed as a child, as most of the stories I read were entirely white. There were no black people for me to look up too and only in recent years have heroes such as the Black Panther, Jasper Fahey and Zélie Adebola have COME THROUGH.
I’m so happy this story exists now, and I hope that many black people will come to read this novel and become empowered by it just as much as I have been. And it made me realise at the same time, this is what I want to convey in my own writing when I hopefully publish my novels, I want people to feel just as empowered as I was reading this story.
Also, Tomi Adeyemi commented on wanting John Boyega in the film adaptation and I am here for it, he is extremely handsome.
EVERYONE WAS AT RISK. AND I MEAN, EVERYONE.
I had extreme worries reading some moments in Children of Blood and Bone. This book does not treat its characters lightly and each action they take does come with consequences that affect the characters physically or emotionally. It honestly felt like any of the characters could die at any moment.
The plot of the novel was engrossing too as we follow Zélie on her journey to restore magic to her Kingdom and her home. I was drawn into the world more I read the story and the pacing felt natural and there was a lot that happened in the pages of the book, but I didn’t feel like it was too much at all.
Gods are nothing without fools to believe in them.
THE CHARACTERS FELT INDIVIDUAL, UNIQUE AND THEY EACH HAD THEIR OWN PROBLEMS THAT I CARED ABOUT.
Each character in Children of Blood and Bone felt like they had their own personality and their own goal to reach. It was awesome to see the flaws of each of the main characters and even some of the side-characters too, I felt like each of them had reasons to do every action they did.
Children of Blood and Bone is also a mutli-pov novel told through three perspectives, Zélie, Amari and Inan and I LOVED THAT. It was so good to have a look inside each character’s mind and see the world from their perspective.
I have feelings about each of the main characters, so I’ll just pop them under mini headings below!
An actual amazing being. She is headstrong, self-motivated and true to her own beliefs. Zélie gave so much for the cause of bringing magic back and there were moments in the novel where she came through and brought so much power to the story. Zélie is forced through so much hatred and strife but she doesn’t let that stop her from achieving her goals, from learning the way of the staff. (The way of the staff is truly amazing, Mama Agba knew her stuff)
Tzain was an interesting character to read. Although he’s the only main character out of the four who’s perspective we don’t get, we get to know a lot of his thoughts because he likes to speak his mind a lot. Tzain is possibly the voice of reason within the novel and he’s always ready to help and take charge. However, he also realises the power his sister holds and always takes her and Amari’s opinions into her account. He also cares so much for Zélie and Amari, it’s beautiful to see him extend his family in such an awesome way.
The sibling relationship between Tzain and Zélie felt natural. I sometimes argue with my sister so much and then just become best friends in the next moment and I felt like that was the case for Tzain and Zélie. There was also the fact that Tzain felt like he had to protect Zélie from every possible threat and he’s not the I Told You So kind of guy which I love.
I’m in a love/hate relationship with Inan and he knows it. He is such an intriguing man yet at the same time, he’s stuck in the shadow of his father where he doesn’t believe there’s an exit. His perspective was perhaps one of the most conflicting to read as he struggles with an internal conflict for most of the novel.
I do love the care that he has for Amari though and the guilt that he feels towards her for past events. It proves that he does have a heart, something I was nearly convinced that he didn’t have, to be honest.
THE REAL HERO BESIDES Zélie. I stan Amari so much and honestly, I didn’t think she would grow this much in this story but oh boy, I was so wrong. Amari really stood out in Children of Blood and Bone as someone who had to come out of her shell and become who she wanted to be.
It was so amazing to see herself emerge from her shell and become TOTALLY BADASS. And she says a line at the end of Children of Blood and Bone that is ICONIC. I want it printed everywhere and it’s so inspiring. It should be immortalised until the end of time because it is just AFHGGEFOIUEIO. I just stan Amari so much and I can’t wait to see more of her in the second book!
AN ACTUAL QUEEN. This gif is actually Amari like omg.
MAMA AGBA – One of the wisest characters in Children of Blood and Bone. She taught many diviners the way of the staff as “it avoids rather than hurts, it hurts rather than maims, it maims rather than kills – the staff does not destroy”. I felt it showed the diviners that they shouldn’t become as bad as the people who would seek their destruction. But also sometimes, death is a necessary action.
BABA – We only see him for a short while in the book. However, his backstory and part of his character progression was quite emotional for me. Baba had gone through so much in his lifetime and even then, he still worked to provide for his family whilst being so deeply traumatised. I wanted to hug him! (Although, I want to hug all the characters)
ROËN – Possibly the flirtiest character of Children of Blood and Bone, he’s quite the charmer. We’re introduced to Roën in the last third of the book. But, I know he might have a bigger part to play in the sequel. He’s hilarious and can crack a joke even in the saddest of times. His usefulness and portrayal in this novel shows that he might have a higher purpose in the sequel.
And then there were other characters in the novel that I loved. But, I can’t speak about them without being spoilery because I’d ramble on and on! Just know that I loved most of the characters in this story apart from the King and whoever followed him. Although, the reason for the King’s motivation to destroy magic WAS convincing and understandable. It wasn’t for some random reason nor because he wanted to be the most powerful and it felt so refreshing!
I glare at him like he’s an Orïshan honeybee begging to be smashed.
THE WORLD-BUILDING FELT INGENIOUS, POWERFUL AND ENLIGHTENING AT THE SAME TIME.
Learning about the world of Orïsha was epically awesome. We get to learn about how the Gods of the world came to be and that was fun to read! The gods are further explained and we’re told what they represent to the people of Orïsha, particularly the diviners. We also learn much about the Raid which stole magic from the world. And, we get to see much about the history of the world when it had magic.
It was also awesome to see how much of it was inspired by Tomi Adeyemi’s Nigerian heritage. I could see some similarities and I’m so happy that this world exists, and I cannot wait to explore it more.
I loved how the world-building integrated into the plot. This helped inform some of the characters on their decisions going forward in the story. Also, I want a lionnaire now to ride to school instead of a car… is that possible?
I STRONGLY RECOMMEND EVERYONE TO READ IT. I MEAN IT. READ IT.
I’ll even put the links again for you to purchase it.
This book is one that you will not want to miss. Believe me, it is ground-breaking, and I hope it earns some awards. I am so looking forward to the film and the sequel. I sincerely hope I’ll get an arc of it like I did for Children of Blood and Bone.
Also, watch my Twitter and Instagram near the time of the book coming out. I’m planning on doing a giveaway for a copy (if BD ships to your country)! I want to help spread this story far and wide because it’s what it deserves. I literally had to force myself not to use the KUWTK gif. (nope I’m still gonna do it)
This book obviously gets 5/5 stars and it’s getting added to my favourites shelf on Goodreads. And, I’m starting a new shelf because of this book called ‘Bucket List Books’. It’s going to be full of books you have to read before you die.
READ CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE WHEN IT COMES OUT MARCH 8TH AND YOU WON’T REGRET IT.
And to Tomi Adeyemi,
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
About the Author
Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American writer and creative writing coach based in San Diego, California. After graduating Harvard University with an honors degree in English literature, she received a fellowship that allowed her to study West African mythology and culture in Salvador, Brazil. When she’s not working on her novels or watching Scandal, she can be found blogging and teaching creative writing to her 3,500 subscribers at tomiadeyemi.com. Her website has been named one of the 101 best websites for writers by Writer’s Digest.
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