I BROKE MY BOOK BUY BAN FOR THIS BOOK AND HAVE NO REGRETS.
So, I hadn’t heard of this book until a competition crossed my twitter feed that required following the author. I love following authors, so I started following Tomi Adeyemi, just in time for the book to be released. I held off for about…three weeks, before I couldn’t resist letting my hand sneak out and grab Children of Blood and Bone and resulting in a tweet about downgrading a “book buying ban” to “book buying disapproval”.
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.
Blurb from Goodreads
First off, the book starts with a map and a list of clans – these are really useful to remember which clan/goddess/magic belongs to who. The world building is pretty damn awesome. Those with magic are signalled by having white hair, and up until the age of thirteen their powers cannot manifest. So, when the king killed all the adult maji, he didn’t kill the kids. These kids grow up as Diviners, punished for their very existence.
Narratively, the point of view switches between Zélie, a diviner with Reaper powers – the power to summon souls; Amani, a rebel princess; and her prince brother, the captain of the royal guard tasked with bringing Amani and what she stole back. Each one has a very different outlook on the world around them – Zélie sees a world that hates her, Amani a new world beyond her sheltered life, and Inan is terrified. It’s really interesting seeing how their perspectives change over the course of the book, where they align and diverge and what it takes to change this world view. There were some things which were very high fantasy (and not the magic) – like they ride snow leoponaires and other huge beasts that can fit three people easily. It was a bit avatar: the last airbender actually.
It’s really well written and completely absorbing, even if I did have to keep flicking back to the clans page to work out which goddess and which gift. Ooh, there’s a memory! Another awesome thing about this book is that the female characters are ace, but also many. Zélie is taught to fight with other women, by a woman, to protect everyone, the power follows maternal lines ect. It was awesome. Also, I just need to say how much I loved Amani, she starts off meek, and ends up the best. There, I’ve said it. Read for yourself and let me know what you think.
Honestly, I could have done without the romance, but if you’ve read more than one post of mine, you will know that’s a pretty standard refrain. I felt like at least one of the romances was there for the sake of it, and I’ll be honest, it’s less an all-out romance than a hinted romance which negated it slightly. I thought it strange that character was pining after a guy when (to me) she had literally just lost the woman she loved. I felt the other romance was there to ramp up the story. But hey, I’m used to romance.
On a more sombre note, this book does not shy away from the violence and systematic oppression of one race over another, or the excuses that people try to give to explain away the oppression and when you read this, please don’t skip the authors note at the end.
Romance aside, the fantasy was good, character development was really good and it was an incredible start to a fantasy series, and I am really excited for the rest of the Orisha series! I gave it a fill five on goodreads (which doesn’t often happen we know) and if you like fantasy books then this should be on your reading list. Just sayin’.
Now We Rise.
If you’ve read Children of Blood and Bone, please hit me up in the comments or on twitter at @SimplyBeaH as I need to talk about this book.