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.
It is the end of March. Can you believe it? And I haven’t exactly been very active on this blog lately… Let’s just say that life has been busy. Working full time, reading, plus trying managing a blog and Instagram is hard work okay? And on top of that I’ve been dipping my fingers in digital art. It’s been fun though and I am very excited to start sharing my artwork, and possibly selling prints over here and on Instagram. But that’s not what this post is about.
Despite it only being March I feel like 2018 has already gifted us with some epic literature that is pushing the boundaries of what Fantasy worlds and characters look like. The genre of Fantasy has always been extremely Eurocentric. However, slowly but surely this is changing thanks to authors like Nnedi Orofaror who has produced a number of groundbreaking Fantasy titles that draw from West African cultures and mythology. You can find a list of her novels here.
When I first heard that Pan Macmillan acquired Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi I kind of freaked out just a little bit. Since reading Nnedi’s Akata Witch my need for more YA Fantasy inspired by Africa has only grown more desperate. The fact that one of the biggest publishers had decided to invest in a YA Fantasy from a Nigerian-American debut author, who is only 23 years might I add, is amazing. But more than that the synopsis of the novel had me jumping in my seat.
For years we have been calling for more diverse reads in YA and Fantasy, and here was a title that promised all of that. A unique fantasy world inspire by West African mythology and culture, high stakes, badass heroines and some hate-to-love romance. I was sold.
Had so much fun at the @panmacmillansakids presentation yesterday. There are so many exciting books being released this year. But the one I am most excited about has got to be Children of Blood and Bone by @tadeyemibooks This book could not have come at a better time. We need more diversity in YA and Fantasy. I feel like 2018 is the year. 🙌🏽 📚 📚 📚 Thanks @fordoodlessake for being my #bookstagram model for the day. Also @allthingsbookish_reviews You’re the best! ❤ 🍃 🍃 🍃 #books #bookish #bibliophile #booknerdigans #booknerd #childrenofbloodandbone #panmacmillan #yafantasy #sareaders #fantasy #yalovin #ireadya #booksandflowers #booktography #totebag #kirstenboschgardens #vscobooks #vsco
Honestly, I don’t even have the words to try and explain the importance of this book and why it has had such an explosive impact within the YA community. Just imagine reading Fantasy and never being able to connect completely with the world, culture and characters. Yes, these Eurocentric worlds are familiar because it has been represented as the dominant ideology within the genre for centuries. But these worlds are tried, old and do not allow for authentic representation and diversity. In these worlds, what are the chance of me being that protagonist in an alternative universe? I’m talking about the way the characters look and speak. I’m talking about culture the characters are born of. I am talking about the landscape, the mythology, the language. This is why I’ve been starving to read own-voices Fantasy inspired by Africa and the Middle-East. Being a POC who has experienced a sense of identity crisis over and over again, I cannot say that I’ve read Fantasy in which I am represented. YA doesn’t represent a women born of interwoven cultures. There is no protagonists born of Malay/African/Dutch decent, because in Fantasy we do not exist. And then there is Children of Blood and Bone, a novel that is taking a step in that direction, representing people who are very seldom represented in this genre. Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone has all of those things I’ve always wanted, combined with the best kind of YA tropes. This book is EVERYTHING.
Title: Children of Blood and Bone
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Rating: 5 stars
Tomi Adeyemi truly has a way with words. The way she describes Orisha is beautifully vivid. It is impossible not to see, feel and experience Orisha through the characters eyes. I felt like I was there with them experiencing it all for myself. I loved the way she used the world we know and live in a turned it into an extraordinary Fantasy landscape. There was familiarity in Orisha but it was also so uniquely magical. I mean Zelie has a giant horned lioness! How epic is that?
I found the magic system refreshing. The Maji stem from 12 different Maji Clans, each of them represented by a patron Goddess or God which influences the kind of magic a Maji can wield. Zelie is a Reaper, her magic gifted by the Goddess Oya, the Maji of Life and Death. This means that Zelie’s magic is connected to the spirit world. Not only is it her role to guild the spirits into the afterlife, but she can also command and animate them. I am very excited to see how her magic develops in the books that follow.
I think it goes without saying that the most anticipated TBR of 2018 is Children of Blood and Bone by @tadeyemibooks 🙌🏼 I’ve already got my copy thanks to @panmacmillansakids and I just pre-ordered the audiobook on @audible_com #mindforbooksmarch Now all we need is for Tomi to visit South Africa! 🇿🇦 📚 📚 📚 Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir. 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. 📖 📖 📖 #books #bookish #bookstagram #booksofinstgram #booknerd #diversefantasy #diversity #yafantasy #yafiction #booknerdigan #igbooks #bookworm #bibliophile #bookishfeature #bookstagramfeature #booklover #booksaesthetic #totalbooknerd #tbr #anticipatedreads #bookdragon #childrenofbloodandbone #igersbooks #bookobsessed #bookishlifestyle #vscobooks
Our four main characters are molded from popular YA fantasy tropes in the best kind of way. Zelie and Tzain are both characters born of an oppressive society. Both of them are determined to raise above the monarchy at the root of that oppression and inspire the Diviners to take back the powers that have been ripped from them.
Whereas, Amari and Inan were both born into royalty and were taught that Diviners were beneath them and should be grateful that they were allowed to live after magic disappeared. When they realise that their father, Saran’s ideology is stem purely from hatred and revenge, each of them has a very different reaction to this reality.
For Amari, when her best friend and handmaiden is murdered by her father for being a Diviner it inspired her to rebel, thus leading her to leave her home in hopes to restore magic and right the injustices her father has unleashed upon the Diviners.
Inan, however, is torn by his internal conflict. He wants to do what his father has told him is best for Orisha, but he begins to see the hole in his father’s reasoning. Inan is a one of those morally grey character who believes that his action are for the greater good. This makes for an interestingly unpredictable character. There will be moment where you absolutely hate him and then there will be moment that give you hope that he may just do the right thing. Personally, I am amped to see how Inan’s character develops in the books that follow.
Plot and pace
Children of Blood and Bone had all the ingredients of an epic YA fantasy. There were high stakes and devastating consequences. They journeyed across Orisha while being tailed by a morally grey Prince and his guard. The magic was unpredictable because the wielders still had to figure out how to control their powers. Each chapter ended on a cliff hanger which made it basically impossible to put down. Warning, the ending will leave you begging for more!
This was more than a 5 star read. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who just wants a refreshing take on Fantasy.
I loved it so much I ended up doing some Zelie fanart:
Honestly, you cannot go wrong with this book. It was EVERYTHING!
Thank you Pan Macmillan South Africa for providing me with a review copy!