Series: Legacy of Orïsha #1
Publication date : March 6th, 2018
Publisher : Henry Holt Books foor Young Readers | Macmillan
Genre : Young Adult | Fantasy
Page Count: 600
Synopsis : 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. (From Goodreads)
CW: Murder, blood, violence, torture, emetophobia, sexual assault, physical abuse, slavery, beating, self harm for blood magic, death of a character, death of a parent, PTSD.
*I received an arc of this book from Macmillan in exchange of an honest review*
You know that extraordinary feeling when you’ve been dying to read a book and then you do and it largely exceeds your expectations? That’s me with Children of Blood and Bone. It was hands down my most anticipated book for the first half of 2018 (that i hadn’t read yet) and it was everything I wanted from it and more. All my friends who have read it have been raving about it so I expected to love it I just didn’t HOW MUCH I would love it. It was amazing, mind blowing, and I couldn’t stop thinking “How is this a debut??”. Without further ado, I will stop the squealing and will get into the actual review that I will try to keep semi-coherent.
The writing style is absolutely stunning, some of the best fantasy writing I’ve read. The author does a perfect job at keeping a balance between quick, action filled writing when it’s needed and slower, more poetic writing when it’s needed. The action scenes are clear and sharp and the descriptions precise and vivid. The book is written in three POVs: Zélie, Amari and Inan (the two latest being siblings), the chapters are short and extremely fast to read despite the book being quite lengthy, they alternate between the three perspectives without any kind of confusions, the characters’ voices are well fleshed out and easy to distinguish.
The world building is brilliant and masterful, it’s done through tales and myths as well as descriptions and conversations, it’s so deeply engrained in the story that it flows seamlessly and the reader doesn’t know it’s happening until it has happened. Children of Blood and Bone is incredibly culturally rich and that’s one of my favourite things about it, the places, outfit, foods,, dances, traditions, etc… Theses people’s cultures seeps through everything, and is seen in everything they do and I love these types of stories. The culture is also closely threaded with the magic.
Speaking of magic, I fell in love with it instantly. The way Adeyemi writes it makes it so easy to envision and almost feel, I found myself engrossed in each incantation, each act of magic. All of it is captivating. I couldn’t stop reading it, I only stopped when I absolutely had to. You know what else I love in fantasy books? When real life issues are woven into them, you don’t feel it, it’s not heavy but it’s there. Children of Blood and Bone deals with colorism as well as what felt to me like an allegory for racial cleansing, which was the irradication of magic and enslavement, or even murder of people who have the potential to wield it. And that gave the opportunity to the book for amazing commentary.
You might have guessed it but I loved every single thing about this book. Everything. The plot is done in a way that it’s intense and fast paced for most of it, the characters are running against time while being chased by their ennemies so you can imagine how that doesn’t let up much but then there are some well placed breaths of fresh air, moments of pure innocence and happiness, moments of silly flirting and witty banter (THE FLIRTING AND BANTER GAVE ME LIFE OKAY, CHAPTER FIFTY SEVEN AND FIFITY EIGHT KILLED ME) , an escape from the stakes and urgency for a few paragraphs. For both the reader and the characters.
Speaking of characters. All of them are complex and multi-layered and one thing that I’m not used to reading in fantasy books is that they were heavily driven by their emotions, their decisions were not only based on strategy but also on how they were feeling, especially fear, a lot of their actions were influenced by fear and doubt. Which made it realistic and unpredictable.
Zélie is an amazing character. Insecure and guilt ridden, she literally feels anything that happens in on her, but at the same time, cold, calculating and fueled by an unqueled rage and determination to do what’s right for her people. Even when she starts doubting everything, especially herself, she finds it in her to keep going. What made me love her so much is her flaws, just like with all the other characters to be honest. But her especially. She’s not drawn to be the perfect chosen one, the one who’s never scared, who never wavers, who doesn’t care about anything but fulfilling her destiny. She’s strong but not in the flawless way, but in a way where she keeps going despite said flaws.
Amari is one with incredible character development. She starts off, I wouldn’t say weak, but afraid and insecure in her own fighting and surviving abilities but as they progress in their journey, she grows into this amazing warrior princess, confident and fueled by a purpose. I loved her arc so much, following its progression made my heart swell with pride (listen, these characters are my children, don’t judge me). I also adored the friendship bordering on sisterhood that developped between her and Zélie. They’re obviously off to a rocky start but then they become ancres for each other, leaning on each other.
Inan is… a lost sheep. That’s the best way I can describe him. He’s the one who’s driven by fear the most, it’s almost his fuel. And for a reason, he was traumatized by his father and has always wanted to be in his good graces so he stayed in line as much as he could and anything that challenged the believes his dad has fed him was hard for him to accept or even begin to understand. He’s just really lost. Throughout the whole story. We don’t know where his loyalties are because he doesn’t even really know for himself. And that was really fascinating to read.
The relationship these characters have with each other as well as with other characters are complicated and raw and natural. Just like everything else that makes this book what it is. It ripped my heart apart just to put it back together and rip it apart again. It kept me on my toes, never knowing what’s coming next.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read Children of Blood and Bone? If so, what did you think?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.