Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Publication Date: March 6th, 2018
Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Source: ARC from Raincoast Books
Link to the author: http://www.tomiadeyemi.com/
RATING: 5 Glowing Stars!!
Words cannot describe my feelings for this book! A lot of books get hype but this one deserves it and then some. The last time a book instantly made it to my favorite-books-of-all-time list, I was reading Six of Crows. Now Children of Blood and Bone joins that list. And this is a very accessible story, so even if you aren’t a fantasy junkie like myself I think you would enjoy it. I would describe it as a little bit Aladdin and a little The Last Air Bender with a lot of West-African beauty and culture.
This is not a short debut. At 600 pages you might think there would be a lull somewhere but no, the pages flew by. At one point I did some jumping jacks just to try and stay awake for a few more pages – I couldn’t put it down! Tomi delivered the history of Orisha and the Magi in easily digestible pieces and I think there will be even more to uncover in following books. (I can’t wait!) I always like to be left with more of the world to learn about and this land/faith/magic system is one I NEED more of – yesterday. It’s great balance of original and recognizable, which is what makes it so accessible. Did I mention the rideable lionaires? I want to befriend my very own Nailah right now.
The story is told from three points of view, Zelie the warrior, Amari the Princess (but don’t let that fool you) and Inan the Prince with a secret. Even though I love the world, it’s the characters that make this story 5 stars, each one was complex and morally grey. It was so refreshing to see characters on both sides doubt themselves and question their values. When Zelie is tasked with returning magic to Orisha she doesn’t just accept it with unflinching confidence like so many “chosen one”s. She doubts her abilities and tells people not to bet on her. And she is constantly evaluating her actions; what lengths is she willing to go to bring magic back without becoming like her enemy? And there is no instant mastery of magical skills here either. (Thank you Tomi!!) I can’t say much about Inan because of spoilers but he is perhaps the most conflicted character, trying to decide the best way to serve his people of Orisha. I’m really interested to see where his story goes in book two. Amari, was perhaps my favorite character? She isn’t ‘the hero’ but she undergoes the most growth throughout the story and becomes a hero in her own right. From sheltered princess to warrior Queen. The girls really run the show in Children of Blood and Bone – just another reason to love this 2018 debut.
I don’t like to gush about a book without analyzing any shortcomings because even great stories have some. If I had any criticisms, and really I don’t, I guess some (minor) things happened a little too easily/neatly? Not everything can be a struggle though, or 600 pages would have become 900.
The story is sort of wrapped up in the end but there are still so many unanswered questions. I like that I got some answers but that I could tell the world and story will only expand and appreciate in coming books. The only downside to reading an advanced copy is knowing I have to wait even longer than most to read book two!
Thank you for reading my review of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, and also to Raincoast Books for this review opportunity. I hope you enjoyed my insights and don’t forget to head on over to my Twitter account @novelcravings for a chance to win your own copy of Children of Blood and Bone! (Open to Canadian residents only)