Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Release date: March 6th, 2018
Leagacy of Orïsha #1
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.
Children of Blood and Bone has lived on my TBR since it released in 2018, I finally got the chance to read it with the Openly Booked Book Club. While I liked the book and the world it took place in, I felt a little torn.
The magic system was interesting and we only get to see bits and pieces of how it works because for the most part, all of the people who knew much about it were murdered horrifically. Even though Zélie remembered the maji in a fashion I don’t think she was really old enough to experience much outside of her own mother’s clan. She was both excited for magic to return but fearful once she witnessed what it could really do – even when intentions were coming from a good place or what transpired was accidental. Much of her fear, I believe is based upon the fact that there is no one to teach young maji how to control and use their abilities. The world building teetered, sometimes it didn’t quite fulfill my curiosity about the land, people and the animals. Two places I wish more time had been spent were the temple(s) and the maji encampment.
I was really disappointed with the unimaginative names for animals – snow leoponaires… panthieres… come on, this IS a fantasy novel after all. If the animals of a fantasy world aren’t going to have unique names then I would prefer them to just be called what they are in reality. I would have even taken that the snow leoponaires and other animals with slight variations of the names we know to be militarized variants raised solely for that purpose but not seen in the wild.
Zélie’s relationship with Inan felt superficial, wishy-washy and too close to instalove for me. After all that not only his family did but he himself I just can’t see someone like Zélie getting over any of it to be involved with him in any way besides a grudging and temporary truce. I did, however, ship Tzain and Amari. Their interest seemed to grow in a more realistic fashion and based on more than just lustful feelings. Amari may be a princess but she refused the path her brother went down very early and has strong distinctions about what is right even though it’s going to be the hardest path. One of the other things that bothered me was that apparently Zélie always made mistakes and screwed things up but don’t we all? I didn’t understand why time was spent on this – especially in dialogue between characters that she trusted and loved. Literally everyone makes mistakes and yes, Zélie is impulsive and does things before she thinks them through but it doesn’t justify how Tzain and even she herself regards the mistakes she’s made.
There were two possibly linked key things that weren’t really discussed in the book at all – majicite and the “mystery substance” Zélie was injected with. Where did majicite come from? Is it a naturally occurring metal found in Orïsha? Was the injection some form of liquified majicite to affect Zélie the way it did?
Overall I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy fantasy, young adult, diverse reads, and magic. Children of Blood and Bone is a great example of how our fears and hatred can warp and contort so many things on both sides of the story. It is a great fantasy based exploration into racism, hatred, privilege, found family, finding oneself, and even a little forgiveness.