Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Genre: Fantasy, YA
For Fans of: Avatar the Last Airbender, The Conqueror’s Saga, and, Throne of Glass
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
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.
Did this live up to the hype? For the most part, yes.
If you’ve managed to go the last couple months without hearing about this book, you’re going to have to tell me what rock you’ve been living under. Children of Blood and Bone has been the most talked about book on my social media since the Sarah J. Maas book I didn’t care about – and people have been loving it.
I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump of late, (busy schedules don’t really make for a lot of reading time) and I picked this book after hurting my wrist bad enough that I needed to take an entire week off to rest it. It was supposed to be the book that got me out of my reading slump, and it did it’s job beautifully.
WHAT I LIKED
. The Worldbuilding
COBAB didn’t waste time with unnecessary exposition to tell us what kind of world we were in. It build it’s world in dialogue and action and bite sized descriptions – the best way to do this imo.
. The Politics/Themes
This book is highkey about racism, colorism, and peoples’ habits of wanting to crush anything they don’t understand. It was unapologetic about it, and didn’t waste its time with metaphors and analogies. It was great.
Amari was a great character – with the potential to grow into something greater. The quiet Princess who dared to defy her racist megalomaniac father and the rest of her race in their hatred of the darker skinned Magi was great. She was painted as the princess who saw the hate around her and disapproved of it, but never really did anything about it until it hurt her – and then she grew. I liked her. I’d like to see more of her later on.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
. The Pacing
I have no idea what’s going to happen in the rest of this series, but as it stands right now, this book felt like two books smushed into one. There was a much meatier story to be told if these books were split in two. We could have had a lot more backstory – a little more insight into who these characters were (especially Inan. I’ll get to him later) Because of the rush, the narrative had to tell instead of show a lot – which was sad because the things it told us would have been so much more powerful if there’d been more time to build and solidify – but I don’t think Adeyemi had much choice here.
In general, the romance was forced, and largely random. There was next to no foundation to any of it, and I found myself wondering why I should care – which is not the reaction you should expect of a shipper.
SPOILER: Especially in the case of Inan and Zelie. It was pointless – and cringey. We were never told what the special connection between them was, and it moved so dang fast, it was borderline insta-love. One minute they were trying to kill each other, the next they were making out behind waterfalls. What the eff!]
Talk about a waste character. Inan had the potential to be an even better character than his sister – the potential to be on par with Collis Reed from the Broken Trilogy in terms of complexity and dynamics. But, like most things with this book, even his arc was rushed to all hell, and he was never fully fleshed out. SPOILER: [Between the unnecessary romance, the too-soon betrayal, and his constant hopping from one side of the coin to the next,] Inan was the skeleton – no, the promise of a good, important, character in this series, but a promise not kept.
Overall, this was a good read. It was fun, fast paced (a little too fast paced, if you ask me) and compelling. It lulls a little in the center, but the action-packed ending has made me determined to read the next one. If you want a diverse, #ownvoices, original world fantasy, then definitely check it out – it’ll be fun.
PS: The similarities between this book and Avatar:TLA are huge. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing yet, so I’m listing it here instead of on the lists.