Monday, February 26, 2018

YA Fantasy/Adventure: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Format: E ARC
Publisher:  Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Source:  Publisher via Giveaway hosted by Goodreads

Number of pages Hardcover, 544
Publishing: March 6th, 2018

Opening Line:  "I try not to think of her."

 Children of Blood and Bone is written in the alternating points of view of  Zélie, Asmari, and Inan.  Zélie (Zel) is a young girl with a warriors spirit, she is the daughter of a maji, a Divîner with her magical ability now dormant.  Eleven years ago a horrible raid occurred in Zélie's village, all of the maji in Orïsha, including her mother were killed by King Saran.  The maji were unable to protect themselves because the bond between their magic and the Gods was taken away.  Since that time, King Saran has been imposing his will on the people of Orïsha, sending his guards out into the surrounding villages demanding increased taxes.  When Zélie's father also run's into trouble with the guards, Zélie and her brother Tzain make plans to take their catch of fish to the market so that  Zélie won't be sold into servitude to pay off their debts.  

Meanwhile, in the city of Lagose, Princess Amari witnesses her father interrogating her chambermaid, a Divîner named Binta.  She overhears the king referring to artifacts that have resurfaced that can awaken the abilities within the maji, specifically a scroll that causes Binta to light up from its touch, and for which she is slain by the king.  Amira is so distraught by what she witnesses that she steals the scroll and flees.  On the city streets, Amari runs into Zélie and pleads for her help to escape.  Zel disguises Amari and while escaping the city, Amari runs into her brother while the scroll is in her possession.   Zel, Amari, and Tzain manage to elude the guards and return to their village where they learn that they possess the first piece of an ancient ritual, that the scroll they have found is able to bring back magical abilities but not permanently unless an ancient ritual is performed.  The trio must set out to Chandomble, a temple that hopefully will hold the answer to the whereabouts of the other artifacts.   

Once the king learns of his daughter's escape,  he summons Prince Inan,  the captain of the guard to go after her.  Inan has been brought up by his father to fear Divîner's, that they are "maggots," people who should never be allowed to regain their magic.  Yet, ever since running into Amari in the city, Inan's worst fears have been realized, he's been "infected" by magic and developed the ability to enter into a dream-like state where he can draw other people into with him.  The first person he communicates with is Zel, he blames her for causing his infection and promises to hunt her down.  Because of his new found ability, Inan has also developed a connection to Zélie that allows him to follow her as she travels toward Chandomble with Asmari, and Tzain.  Despite Inan's best efforts the trio makes it to the temple where they learn their task is to unite three artifacts on a sacred island,  Zel is given the ability to perform the sacred ritual but she must complete it before the next moon or magic will be lost.  

Children of Blood and Bone is a gripping story of one girl's fight to bring magic back to her land.  Zel's strength comes from having seen her mother killed at a very young age and the desire to hold the king accountable for his actions.  She's fueled by the magic that is brewing within her and hopes that by fulfilling the prophecy she can bring the magic back to all the Diviner's and once again find a way to have peace.  Zelie is strong, but also vulnerable, her family is very important to her and she struggles over whether bringing magic back to the maji is the right choice.   She worries that some maji might use their magic to destroy or wield power over the king.  Having regained some of her magic, she sees what magic can do in the wrong hands.   Inan is more complex of a character than I initially thought.  He's a product of his father's thinking.  Although he is the prince of  Orïsha, he seemed to be content to be a captain and carry out his father's orders.   At first, he vows to use his magic as a means of defeating Zel, even taking a more active role as the prince.  Inan is always torn between what he sees as his duty to the city, its people and upholding his father's wishes.  Eventually, he uncovers the truth and flaws of his father's account of the raid, but it might be to late for the new Orïsha he envisioned.  Princess Amari has more strength in her than even she first realizes.  Of all the characters, she was one of my favorites.  She's driven to do the right thing, always remembering her dear friend Binta and trying to have the inner strength to fight.  Which isn't always an easy thing for her especially when she comes face to face with her father.  Children of Blood and Bone is the first book in this West African inspired fantasy adventure with the rights sold to 16 countries and already has plans to be made into a motion picture.  The world Adeyemi created is beautiful while also being heart-wrenching, especially one particularly brutal scene where Zel is tortured and a slur is carved into her back.  The story will cause you to pause and think about racism and how the people of Orïsha struggle's against their tyrannical king have parallels to historical events from the past and current environment.  There's also so much beauty in the setting, references to the language and food and even a bit of romance, plenty of action,  and adventure culminating in an epic battle where King Saran learns an unexpected truth.  But be warned this also ends on a huge cliffhanger that will have you wishing the sequel was out already.  

Look for Children of Blood and Bone on March 6th or check out the this excerpt from Macmillan Publishers 

Favorite Line:  "You crushed us to build your monarchy on the backs of our blood and bone. Your mistake wasn’t keeping us alive. It was thinking we’d never fight back."


  1. Wow! This sounds like a fantastic fantasy. Off to see if I can get it.

  2. I hadn't heard of this one before. Sounds amazing and I like that it makes readers stop and think about such important topics. Thanks for sharing. Great review!