My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Thank you to Macmillan and My Kinda Book for providing an uncorrected proof copy.
They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.
If you are remotely interested in the world of YA fiction you can’t have missed the hype surrounding Tomi Adeyemi’s debut novel Children of Blood Bone. For this reason, I was thrilled when My Kinda Book offered to send me an ARC. My first reaction was, wow, that’s a big book. It’s possibly the longest YA book I’ve ever seen at a mighty 600 pages but trust me when I say there is no fat to this book. Every word is vital to the story. It’s an intricate, beautifully woven story and the parallels it draws between the society of Orisha and our own society is stark and important.
Children of Blood and Bone opens in an Orisha devoid of magic where once it was rich. Different majis had different powers; some were burners, others were reapers controlling death alongside healers and tiders who could control the waves. Zelie, our heroine and the daughter of a reaper, has become used to life without magic, without her mother and with the ever present danger of a monarchy hell bent on eradicationg magic forever shadowing her life. Zelie has one chance to bring back magic and with the help of her brother and a rogue princess she embarks on an epic journey to acheive her goal, whilst struggling to contain her powers and her feelings for an enemy.
It’s not often that a book can be so hyped and yet live up to that reputation. This book is rich with mythology and world building and Adeyemi has masterfully crafted her characters to the point where I felt bereft when I finished reading because I missed them. The story switched from the point of view of each of the four main characters and this was so effective because it made me keep switching my point of view. At times I could totally see the justification for wanting to take away magic and then would come a Zelie chapter and I’d be right back to wanting to kick the monarchy’s butt.
Zelie as a heroine is so inspirational. She’s a complete bad ass but also massively flawed. She makes a lot of mistakes but the very core of her is good. Her moral compass is unwavering and her courage is unmatched.
Aside from the epic action and adventure of the book, I really enjoyed the romance aspects. It was a slow burner and completely additional to the plot so not focused on too heavily. It was a nice light relief and added another facet to the characters.
Children of Blood and Bone is an incredible piece of fantasy fiction and it was a wonderful escapism for me to disappear to Orisha on my lunch break or before I went to sleep each night. However, it also focuses on issues that are at the forefront of our society, heavily featuring racially-charged violence and injustice. It’s incredible to me that this book can be such an entertaining fantasy story whilst also being so powerful in conveying important messages that we can and should apply to our own lives.
As if by the end of the book we didn’t already know that Adeymi is a master storyteller, I think the cliffhanger she leaves us on makes it abundently clear. I find it hard to believe that anyone who has read this book isn’t waiting with bated breath for the next installment in the series.