Children of Blood and Bone is exquisite. The words inside are powerful, immersive, and lush. They transport you to another world, where magic is real, oppression still exists, in the company of four complex characters.
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.
My entire world was blown away by Children of Blood and Bone. I read the excerpt last year and knew that I had to do everything in my power to get my hands on a physical copy. Scouring the internet for hours, I finally found someone who would trade me this beautiful gem and this leads me to where I am today. Children of Blood and Bone was deeply moving on multiple levels, so much that it has taken me hours of introspection to be able to sit down and even write this review. You know a book is good when you are still shaking days after finishing.
The World Building
Children of Blood and Bone had absolutely phenomenal world building. Not only is the magic well explained, but there are politics, history, and religion all tied up in one. I cannot wait to hold the real copy in my hands, tremble, and feel the detail put into each one of these aspects (like the map). It is stunning. You can feel the grittiness of the history, the dirt beneath your feet, and even smell the spices.
This is what fantasy should look like. There is social commentary and injustice written in to its binding. It is at both times passionate and also refreshing. The ways in which the Maji and their families have been systematically oppressed and killed felt both heart breaking, but also genuine to see. It reminded me of the ways in which fantasy can be used as a lens to see the world in a new way – the world around us, or its history, and even its future. Additionally, we had so much unpacking work to do in regards to privilege in regards to wealth, royalty, non/magic users, and gender. It was intersectional and layered and amazingly rich.
I think I loved each of the main crew. I adored Zelie because she was fiery and passionate and also curious. Amari is kind and compassionate, but in for a huge learning experience. And Inan is complex and undergoing a conflict of his own – one that has the potential to shape the foundation of society. They have a huge endeavor in front of them. As the younger generation, and also those who have power, they have to ask themselves what they do with their power and how, if ever, they can right an incredible wrong – a system of hatred, fear, and injustice.
All of these factors combine to result in dazzling writing. There are so many important connections and events that propel our plot and nothing felt out of place. It all fell together in this cosmic ball of rightness. Without spoiling anything, it’s hard to just accurately convey my gushing about this book and the many ways in which Adeyemi aces it with the masterful plot and character connections.
It is non-stop adventure and challenges, and a story that will wring your heart and characters who will move you. There were times I cried, times I raged, and times I loved within the pages of this book. It has been a while since I have been so deeply moved by a book – not for characters who made a space in my heart, or for descriptive world building, or even themes of injustice. Children of Blood and Bone has it all.
You need this book in your life and you can get it on Goodreads.