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.
Really solid debut I’d give it 3.5 out of 5 wigs overall. I really enjoyed her characterization and the greater socio-political messages and themes she touched upon in the book. My main criticism would be regarding the storyline/plot being a little cookie cutter.
- Discussions of colourism, racism, bigotry etc are rarely discussed in books in general, let alone fantasy books for young teens. Most discussions addressing racism that do exist in this genre tend to be written from idealistic whitewashed perspectives. The depictions are rarely as nuanced and real as they feel in Adeyemi’s book.
- Most fantasy books I’ve read have never even touched on this aspect in their world-building, so I really praise Tomi Adeyemi for incorporating her lived experiences as a woman of colour into her story. It gave the book a depth and real human struggle that is missing in a lot of YA. Since a lot of the issues for characters were rooted in reality, It really helped you root and sympathize much more for the plight of the heroine than in most fantasy novels where the stakes rarely feel so real
- The female relationships and friendships in this story were a+. Amari and Zel’s relationship was very much enemies to friends and I really bought it unlike the other enemies to lovers relationship in the book. Their friendship grew throughout the book and its progression felt just right and very sweet.
- Both Amari and Zel were really well developed and strong likable characters in their own right. I liked that they were both sort of written as a counter to each other. They were both strong women in their own way, Zel more headstrong and stubborn out of the gate with inbuilt confidence. While Amari’s confidence was slowly growing throughout the book.
- I liked reading about a West African inspired world setting in a book. I honestly can’t think of another West African fantasy novel. The Yoruba incantations were cool to listen to in the audiobook (the narrator was super good! 10/10 recommend!) But I will say even though it was set in West Africa (specifically Nigeria it seems?) sometimes it still felt very Americanised? I dunno if that was on purpose tho since the readership is mostly western. I can’t fault Tomi for that tho since she probs wanted to appeal to the YA American fantasy readership. Slay capitalist queen! $$$
- Amari and Tzain were cuties.
- The plot at times was a little bit too cliche, the whole you have one chance to re-instate magic forever the solstice will only happen once etc. was a little too convenient lol. And I dunno if it was just me but it felt very avatar the last Airbender-y at times lol. 3 kids travel on a lionaire
sky bisonon a quest to defeat an evil king Saran Fire Lord Ozaiwho regularly abuses his own kids and re-instate bendingmagic forever, the king’s son prince Inan prince Zukois following them the entire time and has a change of heart later in the journey etc. Inan seriously reminded me of Prince Zuko! He even had his own emo slogan to match Zuko banging on about honor. Here Inan’s got his whole ‘duty before self’ thing.
- Sometimes I didn’t understand the characters mood swings or spur of the moment stupid decisions. When they stopped midway in their mission just to attend a party when they knew they were on a strict deadline it was like wtf? I don’t even attend parties if I have a close deadline for an exam let alone a deadline for restoring balance to the entire world lmao. Also, Zel had this weird moment in the middle of the book where she was all ‘magic is bad! we can’t bring dat shit back.’ But like 3 pages later she wants to bring it back again? it was a little abrupt.
- I didn’t really buy the romance between Inan and Zel. There was no real reason or rhyme as to why they liked each other. Inan mostly seemed to like her cause she smelled of sea salt or had a sea soul or something lmao? And I literally have no clue why Zel fell in love with him… cause he’s a prince? who knows tbh.
4 wigs. Children of Blood and Bone is Tomi Adeyemi’s debut novel. The book is told through the POV’s of Zélie a maji, Amari a princess gone rogue, and Inan the crown prince.
I wanna start off by mentioning the author’s note in the back. I’m so glad she included it and it was so moving to see an author bring up real-life police brutality. That a lot of this book is based off of/inspired by real life issues like discrimination, prejudice, colorism really added a very interesting element to this series, especially as a YA fantasy series.
My favorite part of the book was the female friendship between Amari and Zélie.
I’m such an absolute sucker for female friendship in books, particularly in YA. I find their friendship more moving than any romance.
I really enjoyed all the characters, even the irritating ones. Amari is my favorite with Zélie a close second. I love Amari’s compassion and love seeing her transformation. I love that Amari’s kind of a yin to Zélie’s yang. Where Amari’s compassionate Zélie’s ready to FIGHT! She’s tired of being oppressed and ready to prove herself.
The plot could’ve been tighter but it was an enjoyable ride. I’m curious about the second book, specifically when it comes to Inan.
In short I liked it a lot but it wasn’t 5 star material hohohooho
SHOOKITHA’S OVERALL VERDICT: SNATCHED
4 wigs out of 5
FRESIAKO’S OVERALL VERDICT: LOPSIDED WIG
3.5 wigs out of 5