Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Digital Audiobook narrated by Bahni Turpin
Published by Macmillan Audio on March 6th 2018
Series: Legacy of Orïsha #1
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 525 pages or 18 hours, 9 minutes
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Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir.
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.
I finished this book Friday morning, and I am still struggling to find the words for it. I want to babble about how good it is – how I loved the rich descriptions of the temple and how that beautiful scene with Zélie and Anari on the ship was everything and… okay guys, this is going to be another list of brilliant things.
1. Each and every character in this story was well-written, well-motivated, and I loved them all. Zélie with her rash decisions and temper. Anari with her sweetness and courage. Zane with his fierce protectiveness and big heart. Inan with his inner struggles and determination. Those are just the main four characters, but there was something to love in everyone. Even the villains.
2. This is honestly one of the best developed fantasy worlds I’ve ever read. I will praise anyone’s world building that draws me in, but Adeyemi’s wrapped me up like Tamora Pierce. Her cities and landscaping is beautiful and treacherous. Her magical system is well and subtly explained and I loved it. Her pantheon is great. It’s one of those novels where you know every single word was carefully chosen.
3. This novel was high action, but not exhausting. In a lot of young adult novels, you’ll find that its either ALL action or nothing. ALL romance, or nothing. Tomi weaves her story so expertly that as a reader, you are bruh up and down like a boat bobbing on the ocean. The true action scenes, the battles, are written incredibly well. They wrap your up until you are so invested, until your heart is beating so fast, that you feel like you are actually there.
4. I adored that the villain was three-dimensional. It’s far too easy to create a flat villain, but Saran is the type of character you can empathize with. His backstory is so important to his choices and you hate him with every fiber of your being but you still find yourself sorry for his pain. You still want him destroyed, no question, but he is a full and round person.
5. The racial message in this book is so important. Tomi Adeyemi says it better in her author’s note, but there are things that happen in this book that will enrage you. And they are so, so horrible. But they are a reflection on our world and a cry to us all to be better. To care more, to understand more. To be more like Anari. I don’t want to spoil too much, but this book is very timely and the parallels to our own world are quite clear.
6. The ending left me needing more. Not just wanting more – needing it. I have such a distinct image in my mind of the expression on Anari’s face at the end and basically the end credits rolling and I need a release date for book 2 so I can preorder.
There were so many individual scenes that left me screaming for more. Anari becoming the Lioner. Zu. Zane rescuing Zélie early in the novel. Inan’s constant struggle. What happened with Kaia. When Anari and Saran’s eyes meet. Moments. The moments in this book are so potent, they will steal your breath.
I am so blown away by the story. The diversity in it is amazing and the maji and I just… I can’t express anything more. Honestly. I am a colorful ball of happy feelings and a desire to read more. I used my Audible credit for this audiobook and I COMPLETELY recommend the audiobook. The narrator was incredible. In the middle of writing this review, I also popped over to Amazon and bought a physical copy for my home library.
This book filled me up with its passion and dreams and richness that I feel like I need a couple days to wind down because while it is so fresh in my mind, everything will be inferior.