Title: Children of Blood and Bone
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Category: YA Fantasy
Rating: 4 Star
They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.
Zélie remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. When different clans ruled – Burners igniting flames, Tiders beckoning waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoning forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, anyone with powers was targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Only a few people remain with the power to use magic, and they must remain hidden.
Zélie is one such person. Now she has a chance to bring back magic to her people and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must learn to harness her powers and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where strange creatures prowl, and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to come to terms with the strength of her magic – and her growing feelings for an enemy.
What an incredible debut! I watched the author on the Jimmy Fallon show and loved hearing about her inspiration for this series. She knew she wanted to celebrate West African culture and she does this in abundance. You are transported from harbours, to lush jungles, and from temples to fearsome arenas – this story has it all. The settings become a character in their own right and I love the fantastical elements, such as the creatures and the dark magic.
The story is told from the point of view of three characters; Zélie, Amari, and Inan and weaves together seamlessly. We learn about the horrors inflicted on the maji who were powerful and magical until King Saran destroyed magic and murdered them all. The death of Zélie’s mother has broken a part of her and we see how this has a huge effect on Zel in various situations. Her brother’s strength carries her forward and yet it’s satisfying to see her grow and evolve throughout the book. There are strong themes of self-belief, loyalty, and family as well as the expected coming of age elements.
There’s barely time to catch your breath before the characters are tossed into another life-threatening position and you dare not put the book down in case you miss something.
I can fully understand why this was picked up by Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions for development. It will make an impressive film. I look forward to reading the next instalment.