I had high hopes for Children of Blood and Bone, seeing I had heard so many good things about it already. Even though this is the author’s debut and my expectations were still rather high, I never expected what I got. I never expected to be blown away like this. Least of all did I expect to be raving non-stop about it, up to the point of going all gooey and anxious – in a.. sort of good way? – about meeting the author very, very soon after finishing it!
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.”
Since I knew up front this is a book where all characters are identified as POC, this is definitely something I want to mention first. I loved this fact even before I started reading, as I’m sure will many others. Books with all characters being of color are still so rare and I’m thrilled to see more and more of those popping up lately.
“I teach you to be warriors in the garden so you will never be gardeners in the war.”
That said, not only the POC-cast makes me want to highlight the originality of this novel. Not at all. Pretty much every single aspect I’ll be talking about in this review will prove Children of Blood and Bone is unique, so very special and everything I could’ve wished for.
Knowing Tomi Adeyemi wrote this novel to be able to have her say about all the abuse and unfairness colored people are faced with every day, I was touched by how many topics she was able to touch upon in a high fantasy like this one.
Racism, slavery and oppression are very important in this story and the way she incorporated them in Children of Blood and Bone is truly amazing. I found myself reflecting on our current world and how it could be so much better if only we all made an effort to do so. Having this reaction upon reading a high fantasy is something that never happened to me before.
“Your people, your guards – they’re nothing more than killers, rapists and thieves. The only difference between them and criminals is the uniforms they wear.”
Not only those topics, but also the importance of friendship, of trusting the people you’re living with, on a journey with, the relationships you have with others and the way those can affect one’s view on bigger, larger than life topics.. Those are all things she wove throughout her novel and made it even more consuming.
Apart from the real life topics she incorporated, I also have to applaud her ability to create a world that felt so real, so astounding I could barely believe it wasn’t real. The world-building was done to perfection, the beliefs and faith of the people felt genuine. The history of everything, of the world, of how it all came to be was worked out in such a way that I can’t even think of one thing she could’ve done better. This automatically translates in her ability to write beautifully.
The story flowed like river on its way down a mountain, speeding up all the time so I barely had time to take a breathe before being thrown into the next adventure. I couldn’t stop reading. The action felt endless, even on the moments there wasn’t actually any action. I simply didn’t want to stop reading either. I barely realized how much I was reading. Reading, reading, reading. It was all I did and wanted to do!
This fight is not over yet. The war has only begun.
So, pretty much this is me saying I loved the content, I loved the world-building, I loved the writing and I haven’t even gushed about the characters yet! All of the main characters – Zélie, Inan and Amari – are perfect in an imperfect way. They’re fleshed out, they evolve and they are flawed. Especially the latter is something I always enjoy in novels and this was no different. They all struggle with something, whether it’s their pride, loyalty or past and it shows in their actions.
And then there’s the ending of the book! The skies have mercy on my soul but I could barely take it. I need the sequel and I need it now – I hate the wait in front of me with a passion.
Children of Blood and Bone is a captivating read that I would easily describe as being perfect – for me. I’m not going to speak for others but I can hardly imagine someone hating or disliking it. I loved every word, every page and have never in my life used this many sticky notes while reading, ever.
I don’t have one bad word to say about this book, not one. I love it. It’s on my favorites shelf. I already know I’ll be rereading this bundle of perfection once the sequel is upon us.
And as I said at the start of my review, I actually got to meet Tomi! Sure, I was an anxious, nervous mess and pretty much forgot half my English vocab when she was sitting in front of me but… at least I can now say I met her? And got my book signed? Like? YAY?! I secretly planned on asking her about my munches but… Yeah, the stress got to me and I didn’t. Sorry.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any munches! I had to pick one of the following: fried pork rinds, lemon cakes, jollof rice or savory meat pies. Since I was genuinely curious about jollof rice, I decided to go with that one! My boyfriend had a ton of fun cooking and he absolutely loved it. It was ridiculously spicy but we definitely found a dish to make during Winter! Seriously, never eat this when it’s boiling hot outside… We did that and regretted it a tiny, tiny bit… As if we weren’t sweating enough without all the spicy food…
Who was the first author you got to meet? How did it go?
What’s your favorite spicy food?