I’m so happy this book is part of a series, because Children of Blood and Bone was fantastic, and I’m not ready to leave Orïsha yet!
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.
They killed my mother. – Okay, you’ve got my attention.
They took our magic. – Interesting, a fantasy book.
They tried to bury us. – I detect a battle.
Now we rise. – Sold. Pre-ordered.
Read it. Loved it. That’s, in short, my journey with this book. This was one of those books that I built myself up to love before I’d even read it. It was getting a lot of media attention, and so it should, but I was anxious that it wouldn’t match the idea I had in my head. And it didn’t, it was much better! The cover, the title, the story told – bold, powerful, memorable.
Children of Blood and Bone may just be my favourite YA Fantasy book to date, granted, I haven’t read that many, but this book was awesome! The first 100 or so pages set the scene for what’s to come, what Zélie must do. This build up slowly draws you in, lets you know the history of Orïsha and how things are now. Inspired by West African tradition, it’s set in a fictional place, but you believe in it! The imagery created through Adeyemi’s writing was fantastic, I could picture the landscape, and I loved learning about the different Maji Clans, the different deities and their abilities.
This novel is narrated from the viewpoints of Zélie, Amari (the princess of Orïsha), and Inan (the prince of Orïsha). One of the things I really liked about this book were the sibling relationships – Zélie’s brother, Tzain travels with her and I would have loved a perspective from him, but the three do a fantastic job carrying this plot along. Zélie is a brilliant main protagonist, one you believe in and get behind, you feel the weight she carries, the freedom of her people on her shoulders and you need her to win, to bring magic back. Amari was a really interesting character, she started off a little meek and you really see her come into her own as the plot progresses. And Inan, the most complex character of all, brought heightened tension to the read because it was so hard to read his character, his motives.
I’d been informed prior to reading this novel that it contains a romance element, and man, did it get a little cringy at times. I had to roll my eyes real hard at some of these interactions. Without them, this would have been a five-star read for me. For once, I’d like everyone to want to save the world for humanity’s sake and not get side-tracked by their love interest, you know, don’t get side-tracked by his chiselled body and dreamy eyes – concentrate, focus, many lives are at stake!
To date, this is the most violence I’ve witnessed in a YA novel, and I loved every minute of it, every battle. The way I willed Zélie and co to win, I needed them to win! I cannot tell you how invested I was in this story, and not just because of the fighting (which was awesome, can someone please teach me how to fight with a staff!) but because of what this book represents, it gives you something to believe in. Adeyemi is a very talented writer, the visuals her words create – I’m sure this book will make an amazing film; I cannot wait to see the history of Orïsha and the fight for a better future played out on the big screen!
If you read the book, please read the author’s note at the end, you’ll see that this book may be set in a fantasy world, but it is a reflection of reality – the oppression facing black people today, the police brutality – read how Adeyemi reflects this in the book, if it doesn’t immediately jump out at you. It didn’t immediately jump out at me, until a fellow reader told me when I started the book, and then I saw it, I saw it all! So, I’m telling you, keep your eyes peeled, just like The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is a YA novel inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, so is this book – if you don’t notice it while you’re reading, it’ll all fall into place once you’ve read the author’s note at the end, and hopefully this book will mean that little bit more to you.
I highly recommend Children of Blood and Bone, and with the way this one ended, I’m so excited for the next instalment!