BOOK REVIEW: CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONES

September 6, 2022

TITLE: CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONES

AUTHOR: TOMI ADEYEMI

GENRE: FANTASY, YOUNG ADULT

PUBLISHER: HENRY HOLT BOOKS FOR YOUNG ADULT

PUBLICATION DATE: MARCH 6, 2018

Children of the blood and bones is a Debut novel that is exciting, refreshing, and impossible to put down. It is an African-inspired fantasy written for young adult, but readers of all ages can also read it. It is an engrossing tale that will have you excited and keep you on your toes. This book is about magic and oppression, and it portrays clearly how systemic oppression works.

For a long time, the land of orisha thrived on magic that came from the 10 gods and goddesses who passed it unto their brothers and sisters called the “magis”. Each magi had a god or goddess they were assigned to and that determines what type of magic they have and can control. The magis could yield fire, water, and control the dead and other things depending on the god or goddess they are assigned to. But soon the monarchs without magic began to fear and distrust the magic, those who could use it and what they could do with it. one night it happened, the raid, one night when magic was gone, the king ordered the killing of every adult magis. Zelie Adebowale, a young magi had to watch her reaper mother be gruesomely killed in front of her family, leaving her father a shell of the proud man he had once been, and her beloved brother broken. Ever since then Zelie has known nothing but fear and oppression with the constant subjugation and enslavement of her people. Born with dark skin and white hair that shows she is a magi, but without the power that could and should have been hers, she tries to find other ways to survive and that include learning to fight to be able to at least protect herself when the time comes. But one day she makes an impulsive mistake that led her and her brother to the market to sell some fish. And that’s when she meets the crown princess Amari.

Amari grew up in a glide cage, fearing her father, abused by her mother, loving but mistrusting her brother and knowing little of the outside world. Her only ally was her best friend who was also a servant and a potential magi. But her only ally was killed in front of her eyes after the king asked her best friend to touch a mysterious scroll that immediately gave her powers and for that reason, she was killed right there and then. Making an impulsive and dangerous decision, she took the scroll and ran. she meets Zelie while running and asked for her help.

Zelie felt magic run through her for the first time and probably the reason why she took the risk of helping a stranger being chased by the crown prince Inan. While on the run together, they discovered that the scroll was one of the three artifacts that can be used to bring magic back. Together they embark on a journey to bring magic back along with Zelie’s brother while hiding from the prince who is determined to catch them and erase magic.

Zelie, Amari, and Inan narratives were interchanged in the story. They were the main characters but mostly Zelie and Amari. The story really captured the way their characters develop and evolved.

Prince Inan who Later became Zelie’s love interest believes that magic is bad and needs to be erased for a better world. He starts to see the world in a slightly different way through a magical trance he unconsciously formed where he could communicate with Zelie and this is where they formed a bond and fell in love without meeting physically. But his character shows many things: that change Is not easily done and not so fast especially when some certain beliefs and thought has been taught since birth, sometimes redemption is not possible, and love doesn’t excuse or forgive terrible actions.

Another main character is Amari. She was oblivious of how the world works since she was caged from birth, and it took the death of her best friend and the run to see how wrong a lot of things are and how much the magis suffered. she was brave and risked everything when she had nothing to gain unlike the rest. She took a risk that could get her killed and that takes courage. She wasn’t the type to feel entitled and that is something I really like about her character. On the run she was able to find herself and had a great character development.

Then there is Zelie. Her character for me was defensive though expected considering what she has seen and what she has been through. On the run she was able to discover herself and learn a lot about her people and its history. She was able to explore her magic, allowing her to feel connected to her late mother. She had the most responsibility and probably the one with the most consequence if caught. Her character development was also lovely.

The book really portrayed every emotion, it does not sugar coat the way systemic oppression works from the unfair imprisonment to the unnecessarily high taxes and more. The author did not shy away form violence, killing and torture was well portrayed in the book, and it also apply to the main character as well. The book was exhilarating, exciting , refreshingS and I can’t get over it. it is a book I would love to read again. I recommend it, it is a solid 9/10 for me.

Olorunwoyiye Eniola

Intern, International Press Center

olorunwoyiyeeniola@gmail.com

Trinity university, Lagos

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