Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi – REVIEW
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.
“As long as we don’t have magic, they will never treat us with respect. They need to know we can hit them back. If they burn our homes, we burn theirs, too.”
The hype around this book means it’s been all over twitter for months so it seems like I’ve been waiting to read it for ages. Thanks to the lovely people at My Kinda Book, I was lucky enough to receive an ARC last month. I also have the exclusive edition on the way from Barnes & Noble which I pre-ordered a couple of months ago despite not having read it at the time.
The story is set in Orïsha, a land that used to be full of magic, and focuses on seventeen-year-old Zélie, a divîner (a child of a maji with the potential for magic and distinguished by their white hair). The outlawing of the divîner/maji lineage and the King’s hatred of magic has led to divîners being oppressed by society, with no power or rights.
I loved Zélie’s character as she has a core of inner strength and a belief in her right to a voice despite what she is daily told. Her gradual friendship with Amari was one of my favourite aspects of the book, although I also thought her relationship with her brother Tzain was a great example of supportive siblings.
“It doesn’t matter how strong I get, how much power my magic wields. They will always hate me in this world.”
Princess Amari was definitely my other favourite character as she developed the most over the book. Her growing strength and belief in herself are clearly evident and she proves her bravery more than once. I think she would make a better ruler than Inan although that relies on her brother being replaced or killed.
Inan was certainly an interesting character as he was often unlikeable. His ingrained fear of the destructive power of magic leads him down a different path to his sister. Inan is torn between being the dutiful prince his father wants him to be and his own compassion for Zélie, which meant he never became a one-dimensional villain. The expanse of this book meant that the reader is introduced to a lot of characters but they all felt differentiated and essential to the story.
“I won’t let your ignorance silence my pain.”
The world-building was absolutely incredible, immensely complex and detailed, and the result of an obviously huge amount of planning. I haven’t read such an amazing example of world-building in years. My one criticism is that I think it could have done with some editing to focus the story. The book was almost 600 pages and cutting it down a little would have focused the action and characters more. Overall, I adored this book and didn’t want it to end. The last page has me desperate to find out what happens next so I’m already counting down until the release of the sequel.
|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 honours 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.