Children of Blood and Bone | Book Review
Posted on April 24, 2018
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.
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Number of Pages: 544
Purchase on: Amazon
Hernández Novels Score: 4/5
I’m SO excited to finally review Children of Blood and Bone. However, before I can do that, I need to point out two disclaimers. The first is that this book is extra special because it was written by someone I went to college with, someone I often shared a lot of space with, and someone I shared my favorite hobby with – dance. Tomi and I went to Harvard and we were both in a hip hop dance crew. However, our relationship aside, I tried to be as unbiased as possible while reviewing her work (truth be told, I had no idea she was a creative writer until I read about the huge deal she closed in publishing!). The second disclaimer is that I rarely ever read young adult fantasy nowadays. Just look through my reviews – I love a good thriller, riveting suspense novels, and emotional memoirs. So Children of Blood and Bone was a little different for me but…I loved it!
The best thing Children of Blood and Bone did for me was bring me back to my childhood, to the days when I would stay up late to finish the new Harry Potter book. Tomi brings us on a journey through Orïsha, a land where magic once ruled and now Zélie has to fight to bring it back. She’s just a young child, bred in poverty and misery, fighting to stand up for who she is. Children like Zélie are looked down on, despised by those who deem themselves “better,” and as Zélie struggles to bring back magic, she also has to take a stand against racism, prejudice, and intolerance. It’s a story that will captivate you with it’s characters, draw you in with it’s magic, and inspire you with it’s message.
What I really liked about the book:
– Our protagonist is a young, tough, strong black female. Zélie is her own person and, though she has a lot of flaws, strives to do what’s best for the causes she believes in. She’s not one to back down. As the story progresses, we see her believing in herself, and her strength, more and more in a way that is moving. She’s the true hero of this story.
– The entire world that Tomi has created is so well constructed. She’s built an entire new world with different locations, new creatures, magic, and more. I can see this world, I can feel it as I read the words on her pages. It is palpable.
– The growth of the characters – and the push and pull between them – is fantastic. We see a character like Amari (a Princess who struggles between what she’s taught to believe is right and what her heart tells her is right) really flourish throughout the entire story. We see her internal battles and we feel them along with her, understanding who she is as she begins to understand it herself. None of the secondary characters feel like a last minute thought, and that’s rare!
– The arc and nature of the story telling. The chapters change narrator as we hear from a different character (one of three) every now and then: Zélie, who is our main protagonist and wants to save magic, Amari, who is the daughter of the evil King but believes he is wrong, and Inan, who is the son of the King in search of Zélie to kill her and magic once and for all. I love the change of voice and the way each one was structured, and that each voice came at the right time too. It was so well done.
What I really didn’t like about the book:
– I had one huge disappointment with the story: the love arcs. It’s very Hunger Games meets Twilight. The worst part? It was SO predictable. I could sniff the love connections a hundred miles away and they were so cheesy, too. This is the only part of the story where I did not think Tomi was innovative at all. A love that should not dare be true, a love that could bring the entire world together, a love that defies all odds. Geesh! Maybe I’m used to husbands and wives killing each other and lying to the police about it (I’m currently reading Bring Me Back by B. A. Paris). Maybe I forgot how cheesy love stories are in young adult fiction, but either way, these were the chapters I had to push through to get to the good stuff.
– Not only were some of the love stories predictable, but so were some of the bigger connections in the story. When Amari steals a piece of scroll that could bring magic back, it becomes super obvious who she will run into, and why. And then…BOOM. In the next chapter, it happens. I would have LOVED to see things like that more fully fleshed out. It was so easy for Amari and Zélie to bump into each other. Why not make Amari struggle more? Why not make that a part of Amari’s story? It felt disjointed, “so I need to make sure Zélie gets the scroll, but the scroll is the castle. What if Amari steals it? Oh yes, and then they’ll chase her through the city and she’ll bump into Zélie of all the people in this world I’ve built. Perfect.” It felt like this to me, but again, it’s a young adult fiction and perhaps I’m (sadly) past that prime.
I fully recommend Children of Blood and Bone to everyone! The political messages it delivers to the audience, and the brilliant strength of the heroine Zélie, really make for an interesting and eye-opening read. I can’t wait for the movie – it’s so clear to see why Tomi was offered a six figure deal for the series and the movies. Children of Blood and Bone will look incredible on screen. As someone who doesn’t ever read young adult fantasy anymore, I still found so much to like about the story. It is definitely worth your time, and money. I hope that, like Harry Potter, Children of Blood and Bone grows with it’s audience and makes the characters more mature, the story darker, and the plot more riveting. I can’t wait to see the rest of Zélie’s journey!
Congratulations, Tomi, on this incredible achievement. You’ve created something special for so many, and have given power and voice to countless that hadn’t found it before. I hope you’re incredibly proud of yourself. I’m jumping on this ride with you, and am excited to read the rest of this story!
Does Children of Blood and Bone sound like something you want to read? Why or why not? Leave your thoughts, comments, questions, and suggestions below!
Rush over to Amazon and purchase the book now,