Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi || Book Review

Release Date: March 6, 2018

Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers

Genre: Young Adult/ Fantasy

Synopsis: 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.

Thoughts and Feelings: This wasn’t the first time I picked up Children of Blood and Bone. It took two check-outs from the library in order to get through this thick young adult fantasy novel. A few months ago, I put it in my DNF pile with the hope and intention of picking it back up in the future. However when the time came, I still fumbled my way through the book.

From my perspective, Children of Bone and Blood was incredibly hyped up. It won the Best Debut Author on Goodreads in 2018, and I feel like every where I turned in the book-universe there it was… staring me in the face.

As a debut novel, I will say that this novel does have some remarkable qualities. Adeyemi has begun to develop this West-African inspired fantasy world that you can visualize when you close your eyes (Problematically, is she trying to idealize all of Africa or just Nigeria?)

As someone new into the fantasy realm, I was thoroughly impressed by the time that she took to develop the world that she was working in, as well as her development of the characters. We have Zélie, Amari, Tzain and Inan who are all vastly different, but who each received this all encompassing development throughout their introductions.

At more than 500 pages, this was a LONG book for the first in a series — plus long for a debut novel. I truly had a hard time wrapping my head around everything that could happen in the 500+ pages. I see this as a negative aspect of the book. Adeyemi broke the book down into manageable pieces by creating multiple POVs between Zélie, Amari and Inan, but it was still too long and here’s why…

There was not a good pace throughout the novel. I’m aware that not all novels can be fast paced all the time and that developments are needed, but there was a huge up and down pace throughout Children of Blood and Bone that I found it rather frustrating to read.

There were also weird romances going on — that completely take away from the strength of the book. Why does everyone feel the need to include a romance? Don’t authors know that they can write without making it a love story or a Romeo and Juliet situation? I could’ve done without the Zélie and Inan saga because I don’t feel as if it added anything to the plot. (This in itself could’ve removed a chunk of pages!)

“As it fades, I see the truth – in plain sight, yet hidden all along. We are all children of blood and bone. All instruments of vengeance and virtue. This truth holds me close, rocking me like a child in a mother’s arms. It binds me in its love as death swallows me in its grasp.” 

One piece that I wish had been moved to the beginning of the novel was the authors note. I’m almost always pro-authors note in the beginning (if it can add something unique to your novel). As a reader, I didn’t realize her real-life meaning behind the novel until I had finished… obviously this takes away from some of the magic of the novel. If Adeyemi’s note about racial inequalities and treatment had been in the beginning of the novel and I had read it before, I feel like it would’ve hit me in the gut more — instead of me looking back and thinking about the plot and later making the connection. (Okay maybe this was just me — but did anyone else miss it too?)

Although this was just an average book to me, I will definitely be checking out its sequel when its released later this year.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

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