Children of Blood and Bone - Review
Updated: Aug 2, 2020
In Tomi Adeyemi’s much talked about debut, “Children of Blood and Bone” is a fantasy-filled novel inspired by Nigerian mythology and Yoruba religion. For centuries, the Maji people of Orïsha were blessed by the Gods with wondrous magic and silver-white flowing hair, to represent being the chosen ones. All of it was taken away after various raids in the night, ordered by King Saran, wiping out those who wielded it and enslaving the rest who dared to object. With magic now forbidden, one girl vows to take back their power against the Kingdom and restore it to the people once more. We follow Zélie – the teenage staff-wielding future mother of Majis, Tzain – the older stern agbon playing brother of Zélie, Amari – the rogue timid Princess of Orïsha, and her brother, Inan – the conflicted Prince of Orïsha, as they race against time to restore the God’s blessings before it’s gone for good.
Maybe it’s the atmosphere of the world right now, but I love the tone of this book. It speaks of systematic racism, colorism, oppression, and suffering between generations of people. To be considered a “Maggot” – less than, because you have a little magic in your blood. Adeyemi mentioned that she cried many nights writing this during the broadcastings of the Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, and Philando Castile deaths. You can feel the connection between the pain and suffering the characters experienced while reading this. I think what I liked most about this story is that the point wasn’t drilled repeatedly in your head, kind of like what Spike Lee does to his films. I think it was the right amount of mixed emotion to convey between the real world and the Orïsha.
Another thing I liked is that you can tell Adeyemi loves her heritage. Through her writing, you can tell Adeyemi is proud of her upbringing and wanted to make sure the main character Zélie felt the same about hers. This book drips with Nigerian culture, so much so, I had to look up certain words and terms because of the spoken native language laced in the book. So get your Google Translate ready.
The only problem I had with the book was the romance. We all saw it coming, but I wasn’t expecting it to become a full blossoming thing within the next chapter. With so much hate and confusion Inan has for Zélie, eventually, it was going to become hot lust. I swear every time Inan tried to describe his feelings, I pictured Frollo from Hunchback of Notre Dame singing “Hellfire” to a dancing blazed Zélie. To me, the transitions of a romance were rushed and possibly could have been saved for the next book, because Spoiler Alert: There’s a cliffhanger.
I am VERY interested in seeing how the movie will turn out since it’s slated to become the next Harry Potter film. Until then, I’m going to go get my hands on the sequel “Children of Virtue and Vengeance” and figure out what happens next.