Title: Children of Blood and Bone
Series: Legacy of Orïsha, #1
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Genres: young adult, fantasy
My Rating: 4.5 / 5
There are no spoilers in this review.
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.
(This synopsis is from Goodreads.)
I didn’t think I’d like this book as much as I did. Sure, I knew what I was going to read was going to be epic, but I didn’t think it would be as impactful as it was. I think what really tipped me into adding the extra 0.5 stars on my rating was the message the author was trying to send through her writing. If you haven’t already, or when you read CBB, make sure to read the author’s note at the end.
What I loved about the protagonist, Zélie, is that despite her powerful magic, she’s vulnerable. She’s angry. She’s scared. She loves. She hates. The gods are on her side, but sometimes she fails. She’s human, despite her magic. That’s what I always have a problem with when it comes to young adult novels. Most of the protagonists are teenagers and human, meaning they should be making loads of mistakes. However, (and I see this especially frequently in fantasy novels) some protagonists don’t ever make a single big screw up and coast through their adventure. They make it look easy, which it shouldn’t be. It’s as though the author wants to hide the downs and only focus on the ups, which, for me, is not what I want. I want to see the screw ups and the bad emotions, because it allows me to connect with the character more. The more human characteristics the characters hold, the more I can relate to them and fully immerse myself into their story. Although Zélie and I come from different backgrounds, I could still put myself in her shoes and feel what she was going through because of the human elements that Tomi Adeyemi wove into her personality.
I never thought I’d say this, but I had a problem with the romance in this book. I was expecting that Zélie wouldn’t have a love interest, just saving the world as the badass she is. I’m a romantic at heart, but the romance that bloomed between her and her love interest (we’ll call them L to avoid any spoilers) seemed rather sudden and wrong. Sure, L saved her life, but there were many times L tried to kill Zélie. You can’t just forget that. If someone tries to kill me on multiple fronts and then suddenly claim to love me, I’d be very suspicious. I understand it serves as a plot point for them to get together, but I still didn’t agree with the pairing. Zélie’s brother’s pairing with his love interest was okay (I didn’t care for it, but I didn’t hate it) because the author hinted at their growing affections for each other throughout the book. On the other hand, Zélie and L’s relationship felt very abrupt.
That was probably the only problem I had while reading this book. Everything else was on point. The author slowly molded the world and setting, and it was as if you were there with the character. You could smell what they smelt. You could feel what they feel. You wince in sympathy when they get hurt because you could feel it in your bones.
The story itself was fairly fast-paced. It started off slow but intense. You could feel the impending doom growing over Zélie. However, after a set of events occur and another person joins her crew, the story hits the ground running. From there on out, it’s a roller coaster of adventure and emotions.
At first I thought I wasn’t going to like her because of her tendency to go in head-first and provoke a fight, but it served as a good characteristic throughout the story. It saves her countless of times, and sometimes even gives her the upper hand. Despite what she’s gone through, she keeps strong. Even when she’s at her lowest point she doesn’t forget her duty and commits to it. Even when she wants to quit she pushes through, and I really admire that.
He is every bit your typical protective older brother. If there was someone I wanted to support me during hard times, it would be him.
YES. MA’AM! If there was an award for the biggest glow-up, it would be given to Amari. She started off as a seemingly meek princess who just grieving for a close friend and bloomed into a LIONESS.
I have mixed feelings about this dude. He’s giving me mixed signals, and I think it has to do with the conflict between what he’s been taught by his father since he was a little child and his identity. I hope whatever is going on is resolved in the second book, because right now I can’t tell his stance on what’s been happening in the story.
I give this book 4.5 / 5 unicorn horns. If you like intense adventure, a cat and mouse chase, and magic, you’re going to love this story.
Until next time….