Over the years, I’ve learned that hyped books are not necessarily good books. I would check Goodreads to find raving reviews about a certain novel, only to be very disappointed the moment I finish reading it. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes books are worth the hype. Those are the kinds of books you don’t want to miss out on. One of those books is Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. This is a book that involves majis, a quest to bring magic back and forbidden romance. What not to love? But I am getting ahead of myself. What makes this book a must-read? Let’s find out.
What is it about?
Taken from Goodreads:
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.
Rich story and a magical and cruel world
One thing I loved about this novel is the excellent world-building. While Orisha is a cruel place to those who are poor or are offspring from majis, it is a fascinating world. Every place featured in this book is described with rich details. For a brief moment, you believe that you are actually there. You can smell the sea or the scent of blood in the air. You can feel the magic thrumming through your own veins. The beautiful yet accessible language makes this book easy to read. It is a rather compelling story as well, so while 500+ pages may seem daunting at first, I was left craving more.
Yet while this is a story that takes all the best elements of YA fantasy and makes that even better; this story is also very layered. The novel is inspired by West-Africa and in its core is not just a quest to bring magic back. It is a quest to eradicate racism and the violence against the Diviners, those who have lost their magic. The stakes are high at all times. You can feel this in every single thing. Every sacrifice hurt, and there were plenty of sacrifices. Every tear or wound inflicted felt so real. It is a testament to Adeyemi’s talent for writing.
Three different perspectives
The story is told from three different perspectives. There’s Zélie, a diviner who is sent on a mission to save magic by a strange twist of fate. There is Amari, the princess, who stole a scroll needed to bring magic back and who asks Zélie for help. Lastly, there is Inan, the prince, who hunts Zélie, Amari and Zélie’s brother Tzain to make sure magic never returns. The different narratives give a good overall feeling about the story. A single narrative is often limiting, as it only shines light on a single perspective. While many perspectives can be confusing, this is not the case in Children of Blood and Bone.
Zélie is a girl who has been made tough as nails by the world she grew up in. I loved seeing her evolve and open her heart. It hurt me to see her being broken again. Amari starts off as a very insecure girl. However, throughout the story, she becomes tougher and learns to stand up for herself. The perspective of Inan shows us the mind of the antagonist and the struggles he faces. After all, they are all people who believe that what they’re doing is right. While most novels only show the good side and the bad side, this book is an excellent example of how complicated human beings are.
Children of Blood and Bone is a book that managed to touch me in ways I didn’t think were possible. The story is very raw and the emotion in this book is very real. I just had to keep on reading to find out what would happen next. The fact that this book ends with a massive cliffhanger broke my heart. I need the second book in this series and I need it right away. Seriously, if you want to do yourself a favour, pick up this book because you will not regret it.
+ Rich storytelling
+ Compelling characters
+ Inspired by West-African mythology
+ Features magic, mystery and romance.
– Where is book 2?