Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Series: Legacy of Orïsha # 1
Hardcover, 525 Pages
Publication: March 6, 2018 by Henry Holt BFYR
Source: Received audio-book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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.
Children of Blood and Bone is the most anticipated novel of 2018, and the only reason why you wouldn’t of heard about it is if you’ve been living under a rock. This book has been the talk of the blogosphere for months leading up to it’s publication earlier this March, so much so, that movie rights were acquired awhile back and last I heard that it’s actually in development; talk about fast! Children of Blood and Bone takes place in a re-imagined Africa, following three characters: Zélie, a young Divîner, Princess Amari and her brother Inan. The book alternates between their POV/narrative; enabling the readers to glimpse through their eyes and see what they were thinking. I normally prefer books with one POV, however, Adeyemi did a spectacular job in creating such a clear, distinct voice for each of her characters that I found myself enjoying all three narratives; although I found some of the characters vexing at time.
I had the pleasure of reviewing the audio-book version of Children of Blood and Bone, narrated by the talented Bahni Turpin. Turpin brought the characters and the world of Orïsha to life. I loved listening to her voice. Turpin enunciated everything very clearly and put so much emotion into her voice at all the pivotal scenes. I’m not gonna lie, there were many times I ended up tearing up in the middle of the day, while out in public because you can hear the genuine raw pain that Turpin brought forth while narrating Zélie’s chapters. While listening to the audio-book, I can vividly see as Zélie and Amari ran through the bazaar in Lagos, all the Divîners celebrating Sky Mother in their sanctuary and as Amari lead a siege on her father’s compound to rescue Zélie. It was like watching a movie in my mind. Another reason why I’m so glad I had the opportunity to listen to an audio-book version was being able to hear the correct pronunciation of the the words and the characters’ name. I am positive if I read this on my own, I would have pronounced a lot of things incorrectly. Reading a book and listening to an audio-book is a totally different experience, and if you have the chance to listen to Children of Blood and Bone; definitely do it! You’ll be glad for it! I know I was.
There were a ton of great characters in Children of Blood and Bone. Zélie never backed down from a challenge and had a fiery personality to match. But the biggest surprise and breakout star of the book in my opinion was Amari. When we first met Amari she was a timid and quiet princess, all she knew about her kingdom was minimal as she has never left the confines of the castle but with one bold choice, of defiance, her life changed. Gone was the scared princess and as the story progressed a true warrior emerged, a girl fit to be Queen. Amari like any teenager had doubts and insecurities but she pushed them down and stood up for what she believed was right. Amari was without a doubt my favorite character and it was wonderful to see her journey and character growth. Tzain and the a couple of Divîners also made quite an impression as well…like Zule, the thirteen-year-old healer that lead the group of Divîners. I can still see her in my mind, her final scene was truly devastating.
While there was a lot to love about Children of Blood and Bone, it is not without flaws. I did not like the character Inan, he was so hot and cold it drove me nuts. One moment he was all for killing every single Divîner because he truly believed that was the only way to protect Orïsha by riding the world of Magic. Then suddenly he falls for Zélie and wants to create a better Orïsha where regular folks and Divîners lived side by side. Then he gets brainwashed by his father and was back on his path of riding the world of Divîners and Magic. And there’s a secret that Inan carries which readers discovers early on, which makes this all more ridiculous in his hypocrisy! If and when you read this book, you'll know what I mean. I also wasn’t a fan of the magic system. Compared to everything else, I thought the magic system was the weakest, considering it’s a big part of the world building. There are many types of maji (when a Divîner comes into their power as an adult, at the age of thirteen); there’s the reaper like Zélie, who can see, hear and control spirits, burners, winders, connector (control the mind/dreamscape) and so forth. The idea, the magic system is pretty generic and can be seen countless of times in other fantasy series. The only difference is what it’s being called. Although I wished the magic system was better developed and more complex, it didn’t take away from the book. What makes Children of Blood and Bone great was the characters and Adeyemi delivered on that front.
All in all, Children of Blood and Bone was a wonderful debut that deserve all the hyped that it got.It is one of the best debut novel I’ve read in awhile and I can’t wait to read the rest of this series. As I said before, if you’re able to listen to the audio-book version, do so, you won’t regret it. It takes the reading/listening experience to an entire new level.