Title: Children of Blood and Bone
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
A teenage magician, a rebel princess, a prince in hot pursuit, an unlikely love story, and lots of magic prove to be as thrilling as they sound. The best thing is, all this and much more form the backdrop for Tomi Adeyemi’s debut sensation, Children of Blood and Bone. It is the first installment of the Legacy of Orisha trilogy.
The story opens with Zélie, a 17-year-old girl who tries to keep her head above choppy waters even as she mourns not only her mother, but the birthright of magic now lost to her. She is a divîner — someone with latent magical abilities indicated by the distinctive white hair that sets them apart from the non-magical populace.
As the story progresses we learn about the history of Adeyemi’s fictional world. Orisha was once home to 12 Maji clans, each with a patron god or goddess and a signature magical ability that manifests in some members at age 13. The despot king, Saran, cut off access to magic and purged the Majis. Only the children were spared, but with a target on their heads.
Once while trying to raise money for the ever growing taxes, Zélie saves a girl from the king’s soldiers. The girl turns out to be Princess Amari, who is on the run from her father. She has stolen a scroll that can transform divîners into magic-wielding maji. The two girls flee along with Zélie’s brother, Tzain.
The scroll had vanished 11 years ago during the maji genocide. King Saran sends out his son Prince Inan, Amari’s elder brother, to retrieve the artifact. When the trio — Zélie, Amari, and Tzain — learn that the impending solstice offers the only chance of restoring magic, they race against time, and Inan, to obtain the final artifact needed for their ritual.
Over the course of the book we can see some allegiances shifting as the characters grow. Zélie learns to unlock the magic that has been lying latent all these years. Inan too comes face to face with the fact that he is what his father has always hated — magic.
Adeyemi writes beautifully. She has deftly portrayed the racial tensions and persecutions. However, the novel is too long and repetitive. The three POVs keep saying the same things without furthering the story much. But it can definitely be overlooked given the other good things. The book culminates in a cliffhanger ending, which is sure to leave readers anxiously waiting for the next installment.
A compelling story that is hard to put down.
Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American writer and creative writing coach based in San Diego, California. After graduating Harvard University with an honours degree in English literature, she studied West African mythology and culture in Salvador, Brazil. When not writing novels or watching Scandal, Tomi teaches and blogs about creative writing on her website, named one of the 101 best websites for writers by Writer’s Digest. Children of Blood and Bone is her debut novel.
I'd like to thank the publisher for letting me review the book. I do hope you end up liking the book when you read it. Thank you so much for stopping by, and happy reading!
* I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
** Picture courtesy: Amazon.in