Title: Children of Blood and Bone
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Date: 8th March 2018
It isn’t often that I buy into the hype of new books. It can be dangerous because sometimes they can let you down and not be as good as you would have hoped. That wasn’t the case for Children of Blood and Bone. This debut fantasy novel was everything I hoped it would be and more. Words can’t even describe how much I adored this book. I soaked in every detail, every page that was full of action and I have to say that it is probably the best book I have read so far this year. It isn’t often that a book goes straight into the number one spot on the NYT bestseller list.
There was once a time when magic flowed freely through the Maji in Orisha, when the ten clans wielded their powers and thrived. Then one day, the magic disappeared altogether. They were left defenceless and slaughtered by the King, wiping out all traces of their heritage. Zelie was left alone with her father and brother when their mother was killed for them to see. All hope was lost as the people kept to themselves, especially the Maji with their white hair. By chance, Zelie comes across a rogue princess who just might hold the key to bringing magic back to Orisha, and so they embark on a dangerous quest to restore it. They must outrun the prince who is hot on their trail and hell bent on following the King’s orders, before time runs out.
The world that Adeyemi has created is one of a kind, inspired by West African mythology, and the history is explained in so much detail that I felt as if I was there with the characters. The information was weaved into the story effortlessly and I never felt that I was in overload. When it comes to writing a story that is intriguing, captivating and fast paced, Tomi Adeyemi has it down to a tee. I don’t think I’ve ever flown through a book of this size so quickly (it isn’t a small book by any means with over 500 pages). And I can’t forget to mention how incredible the magic system was, and unique as well. I loved how there were different types of magic that people could specialise in as well.
Some of the history in the book is heartbreaking, especially when it comes to the slaughtering of the Maji and it has echoes of what happened in real life to African people, as well as the oppression that is still happening in the world. We are made to feel every emotion in this book and I was kept on the edge of my seat, waiting to find out if our characters were successful in their bid to restore magic.
All of the characters that feature in this book were fully fleshed out, as though they could step out of the pages and into real life. I laughed with them during the dialogue, I rolled my eyes at some of their actions and I was cheering them on. Zelie was a wonderfully strong protagonist, a fierce warrior guided by her emotions and someone I was rooting for. You could really see her growing throughout the book, learning about magic, and it was great to read about her relationships. Amari, our rogue princess, was just as great and quite a surprise later on. She really grew into herself and showed that we all have courage within us. While Amari and Zelie’s relationship was a little rocky to begin with, it was great to see the friendship blossom.
I can’t forget about the villain of the story, the King who was cruel, vindictive and awful to the people of Orisha. His son, Inan, was a tough one for me. You want to hate him, but at the same time you can’t seem to. Something I loved was the way the perspectives of the story switched between Zelie, Amari and Inan. It provided me with so much more information than I would have had if there was just one main character.
I still can’t get over this book and it’s been nearly a week since I finished reading it. I need more of this incredible world and the amazing cast of characters, especially after that ending. I have a feeling there is so much more to explore and more adventures to be had. If you are looking for a YA Fantasy story that is full of action and magic, then this is the story for you. The easiest five stars I have ever given out.