Title: Children of Blood and Bone
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Series: Legacy of Orïsha, #1
Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 6th 2018
Tomi Adeyemi’s much-anticipated debut, Children of Blood and Bone, is full of breathtaking adventure and features a world that is both stunning and complex. The land of Orïsha once overflowed with magic. The maji worked wonders, but hatred and a thirst for power turned the crown against them. When magic mysteriously disappeared, King Saran ordered the eradication of the defenseless maji, robbing the world of any trace of magic. Zélie knows intimately the injustices of Saran’s enmity toward those like her mother. As a divîner, Zélie and children like her who bear the mark of a once-promised magic, cannot hide what they might have become. Though magic no longer exists, it does not protect them from the prejudices held against them. When Zélie is unexpectedly thrust into an impossible scheme by Saran’s daughter Amari to restore magic to the divîners of Orïsha, she embarks on a journey that will test her resolve and courage.
Adeyemi has build a world that is inventive and multi-layered. In Orïsha, magic has divided its people. The divîners, those who would have become maji if magic still existed, remind King Saran and those who think like him of the corruption of magic. Those like Zélie are treated as inferior, subjected to daily prejudice and harsh punishment. She, along with other divîners, have trained in secret for years, knowing that one day Saran may come for them the way he came for their parents. The gods once occupied an important part of this world, but since magic’s disappearance, many believe the gods have abandoned them for good.
Told in three perspectives, Children of Blood and Bone, gives its readers an in-depth look at the young people who will ultimately shape the fate of this world. Zélie is an easy character to like. She’s tough and determined, and even when she is reckless, it’s hard not to admire her for wanting to do the right thing despite the consequences. Her doubts about her abilities are what ultimately make her a relatable character. Zélie lost her mother at a young age to Saran and his war against the maji. Magic is the strongest tie Zélie has to her mother; it’s a link to a past where those like her were able to thrive; it’s freedom from the oppression of Saran and a chance to right the wrongs she and those like her have endured. Her relationship with her brother, Tzain, is one of my favorites in the novel. He feels a strong obligation to protect her, but finds it hard when Zélie is more of a leap-first, think-later kind of person. She loves her brother, but finds his protectiveness to be stifling.
As princess of Orïsha, much is expected of Amari. Expectations that both her parents are disappointed that Amari fails to meet. She’s timid and soft-hearted. Though her father has wanted to raise both of his children to be strong and unrelenting, Amari has refused to raise a hand against those she cares about. I loved Amari’s entire arc, how she learns to embrace her own strengths when much of the world sees such traits as weak. Inan is destined to take over Orïsha from his father. He has learned to hate magic and will do anything to keep it from returning. His mission to retrieve a stolen artifact takes an unexpected turn when he crosses paths with Zélie. I loved his early interactions with Zélie as he is forced to face truths about himself and Saran, but does so very reluctantly. His relationship with Amari has been poisoned by their father. I really wanted to explore this aspect of both of their characters more. Saran is such a strong influence in both their lives, but we hardly get to see them interact with him.
Children of Blood and Bone is an impressive debut that takes readers on an epic journey full of hope and heartbreak. With an ending that will shake you to the core, Adeyemi has introduced readers to a world you won’t soon forget.