Title: Children of Blood and Bone
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Series: Legacy of Orïsha, #1
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Release Date: March 8th 2018
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 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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
It’s been years since Orïsha had magic but Zélie still remembers, just as she remembers the night it vanished; the night the kings soldiers slaughtered her mother alongside all the maji in the land. Now though Zélie has a chance to change that, to bring magic back to the land and give the few maji left alive their freedom once more. If she can trust the princess fighting by her side that is, and if she can stay ahead of the crown prince tracking them both down.
Children of Blood and Bone was one of the most hyped-up books of the year and while I loved the story, how the author wrote the characters and the challenges they faced, I don’t think this book quite lived up to the hype for me. It was a fast paced story from the very beginning; Adeyemi didn’t shy away from the horrors Zélie, her family and her people had faced, and there was plenty at stake, but Children of Blood and Bone wasn’t a story that stayed with me after I’d finished the book.
When princess Amari flees the palace and her father she doesn’t know what she has in the scroll she stole from her father’s commander, but she soon discovers that, along with Zélie and her older brother Tzain, they’re the only ones who can bring magic back to Orïsha. The closer they get however, the closer Inan follows them, and as desperate as Zélie and Amari are to bringing magic back Inan is just as desperate to get rid of it for good.
The story was told through Zélie’s, Amari’s and Inan’s POVs. The jumps between each of the characters never felt too sudden, or created a break that pulled me out of the story. There’s was a lot to introduce and cover in this first book and I think it was all balanced really well; the world building and development never took away from the plot or the sense of urgency Zélie’s, Amari’s and Inan’s individual journeys had.
Zélie is an incredibly strong character, well-developed and so real. She’s been through a lot and lost so much, and there’s a lot of anger and resentment in her from having faced oppression at the hands of the kings soldiers. Without any powers though Zélie knows she can’t fight back, but it doesn’t stop her training or standing up for what she believes is right. Zélie doubts herself a fair bit, not sure she’s powerful or strong enough to do what the Gods have chosen her for, but she believes in what she’s doing and the more she sees of Orïsha the more that belief grows.
Inan was a character I was not a massive fan of. On one hand I think his journey could have been really interesting – the son of the king he’s had it drilled into his head that magic is evil and Orïsha is better off without the maji, but when he touched the scroll the powers he had were awakened the same way Zélie’s were – however Inan seemed to switch sides so often, change his beliefs, that his convictions and revelations never felt real to me.
I can’t say I was a massive fan of the romance between Inan and Zélie either, if there needed to be a romantic relationship in this book I felt it could have been left to the one between Amari and Tzain. The connection between Inan and Amari, and I’m still not sure whether it was the scroll or Inan who created that connection, felt a little bit too much like insta-love to me. Their eyes met once, and all of a sudden Inan can’t get her out of his mind.
Amari was another amazingly developed character. She’s spent her whole life pampered in the palace but when her father kills someone she loves she can’t stand by any longer. She’s terrified at the beginning, she can’t understand what Zélie and Tzain have lived through or the lengths they’re willing to go to, but she knows she can’t forget what she saw her father do to one of his maji subjects. Of all the characters in this book Amari had the most growth and I can’t wait to see where she goes in the next book.
The relationships in this book were definitely a highlight for me. The friendship between Zélie and Amari had a rocky start when Zélie hated everything Amari represented, but it changed as each girl saw another side to the other. The sibling relationships between Tzain and Zélie and Inan and Amari also had some interesting parallels. When it comes down to it both brothers are trying their best to protect their younger sisters, there’s just a very big difference between what each is willing to risk.
The world building in this book is beyond incredible. Zélie and Amari’s journey takes them all across Orïsha; they see unforgivable horrors committed against the remaining maji left alive which aren’t glossed over in favour of the plot, and learn more about the Gods and the power they once wielded which has been forgotten since the raid. The mythology in Children of Blood and Bone was brilliantly written, the Gods played a big part in Zélie’s character development and the story itself. We learnt more about Zélie’s sister deity than any others but they weren’t completely left out of the story either. I can’t speak much to the representation and how true it was but the world itself was incredibly detailed and richly described.
While my expectations for Children of Blood and Bone were a little too high for the book to actually meet them, I’m not sure if there’s any book that could’ve met them, I still thought this was a great story. I was hooked from the first page and the plot kept my attention until the last, with Zélie’s and Amari’s characterisation and the world building standing out as highlights for me.
What did you think of Children of Blood and Bone? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.