Review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone
Tomi Adeyemi
Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Published on March 6, 2018

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About Children of Blood and Bone
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.

My Review
I have heard SO MUCH about Children of Blood and Bone and really looked forward to reading it. I’m so glad I had a chance to read a review copy. I love the story world. It felt really different than anything else I’ve read before, and very fresh. I love the maji system though it’s a little complex which made it a little hard to keep track of the different kinds of magic. Not too bad, though. I never felt lost or anything in reading scenes.

Amari quickly became my favorite character. Her bravery and her love for her best friend totally endeared her to me right from the getgo. It took a little longer for me to warm up to the powerful Zélie who made some selfish choices at the beginning of the story. But as I got to know her true nature, I couldn’t help rooting for her and wanting her to succeed. I’m kind of wondering if there’s not a love triangle ahead for her? I felt some sparks between her and a pretty minor character who seems poised to have a larger role in the next book. We’ll see what happens!

This book has a lot of violence in it, and not all characters condemn it. Zélie wants freedom for her people more than anything, but she hesitates to use her power to fight at first and she has a strong moral sense of good and evil. Inan seems more mixed up. His need for his father’s approval made him a sympathetic character to me, but his relationship with violence and the lengths to which he was willing to go to get his father’s love were a challenge for me in reading the story. He also seemed to flip flop a little quickly where one minute he’d be thinking he could disregard his goal and the next reversed his position. Those switches just happened a little too quickly for me at times.

On the whole, I loved the originality of the tale and both of the female leads. Definite heads up to sensitive readers on the violent content. See below for more details.

Children of Blood and Bone on AmazonRecommended for Ages 14 up.

Cultural Elements
Characters are brown-skinned. The story-world has a kind of tribal feel to it.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used with moderate frequency.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl. One romantic interlude progresses further and hints at sex. No graphic descriptions of it.

References to a relationship the king has with his mistress.

Spiritual Content
Each god or goddess is connected to a type of magic. Zélie uses reaper magic which connects with dead spirits to create animated helpers that she controls.  Inan’s magic shows him things about a person’s inner life, like memories and emotions.

Violent Content
Lots of battles, sometimes involving civilians. Some pretty graphic descriptions of combat and death. Zélie worries about being placed in slavery, a common fate for a maji. Men sometimes threaten her with harm or make vulgar, suggestive comments about harming her sexually.

Inan especially seems to view violence through a kind of morally gray lens. He desperately wants his father’s approval and is willing to do almost anything to get it, including harming people he otherwise wants to protect. He’s also desperate to hide his magic, and willing to harm anyone who will out him.

At one point, Zélie and her crew end up fighting in a sort of gladiator arena style match where only the winners come out alive. They watch a match first and are horrified at the bloodshed, but still decide to enter.

Drug Content
References to wine.

Children of Blood and Bone on GoodreadsNote: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

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About Kasey Giard

Kasey is a mother, reader and aspiring author. When she's not reading or writing, you might find her out on the water fly fishing, pretending she can keep houseplants alive, or talking with the family rescue cat.

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