“In a land of myth and a time of magic…”
If you can instantly name where that quote comes from, then Children of Blood and Bone will give you serious deja vu. At least in the first few chapters.
Set in the fictional land/country/nation of Orisha, this novel tells the story of a young Zelie, a maji on a quest to restore the magic to her kind. A magic stolen, presumed to have simply vanished over a decade earlier. Zelie isn’t quest or savior material as she has very little self-control, and is quick to lose focus but I digress…
Children Of Blood and Bone is narrated by 2 of our protagonists, Amari and Zelie, and one confused antagonist, Inan. Zelie is something of a trouble magnet, quick to temper, and mostly cool under pressure. She gets props for being a fast thinker and her spontaneity is equally a strength and a weakness.
The one thing Zelie has going for her is she’s consistent. The royal siblings, Amari and Inan, however, are easily some of the most confused characters I have met in my reading career. How does a princess completely sheltered from reality go from that to rebel? At least, with Morgana (If you know, you know) there was a stewing period and time to gain experience at rebelling. It was really hard to stomach the instant shift even with the tragedy that served to propel her stand in this book.
Inan reminded me of Arthur (If you know…) early into the story in the way he needed to believe that his father was righteous and brave despite all the evidence pointing to the contrary. He was certainly the most confused character. Going from arch nemesis to supporter to love interest (insert eye roll here) to betrayer of trust.
Personally, I would have loved to hear Tzain’s voice as he was integral to the story, and as the mature, ever supportive big brother was the only person who had his head on straight throughout this story. All of the kids, except Tzain lost focus badly at some point in this book because, In a bid to include that much-needed (not) YA trope of love confusion or whatever, we ended up on a never-ending retreat in the desert.
At least, it felt like it would never end. I couldn’t believe how long it went on for and on reflection, it feels like a ploy to make the book longer and get to that “epic” ending which was cool, the ending that is not the love spiral. That was too predictable and we could have lived without it.
Finally, this book has to stop being described as some representation of Yoruba culture/heritage or folklore. This it is not. Our deities are not so approachable, and incantations are usually more complex and rich, ya know. All you need is Africa Magic Yoruba to understand where I’m coming from. Can you imagine a Babalawo chanting “Sango, ba mi soro” over and over in battle? I think not!
There’s none of the ritualistic swagger or finesse and I would describe what was going on in Children Of Blood and Bone as Yoruba magic lite, designed for the American palette i.e without all the spice.
Fun. Exciting. Easy to read.
I enjoy this book for what it is, a cool young adult fantasy novel with a strong female protagonist and a better-written future ahead of it.
Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company (Macmillian Publishing Group)
Release Date: 2018
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/Young Adult
Find It: Roving Heights
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.