Book Review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book with more than 20 letters in its title (advanced) Other PS 2020 reading prompts thi...

PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book with more than 20 letters in its title (advanced)

Other PS 2020 reading prompts this would satisfy: A bildungsroman, A book with a map, A book than won an award in 2019, A book by a WOC, A book with at least a four-star rating on Goodreads, A book you meant to read in 2019, A book written by an author in their 20s

TW: Racism, classism, death, violence and abuse, animal death

I know Children of Blood and Bone has been around for a good minute, and has had a ton of hype. I finally bought it back in November to prep for book two (Children of Virtue and Vengeance). Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get tickets to see Tomi Adeyemi and so CBB went to the backburner. I felt really intimated by the book, but I am so glad I finally picked it up to read it because it is so good. Now to get my hands on CVV.

Zélie is a teenage divîner who should've become a maji as a preteen; only magic disappeared when she was a child, when her mother (a full-blown maji) was taken from her and slaughtered by the king. Since then her family has struggled and her people (the divîners) have been treated as second class citizens. When their debts become too much for them to bear and she risks being entered into servitude, her brother Tzain and she travel to the capital city of Lagos to barter a rare fish for money. While there, they accidentally rescue Amari - princess and daughter of the murderous King Saran - who has in her clutches a scroll that can return magic to the land of Orïsha. Together, they all embark upon a journey to restore magic to the land and ultimately defeat the king. 

Beginning a new fantasy novel always comes with a certain set of challenges. I enjoy fantasy novels, but don't typically read new ones often because world-building can definitely be exhausting. I won't say that it didn't take me some time to really find myself immersed in the story, because it did take several chapters for me to find my footing in the world of Orïsha. Once I found my footing though, I was completely immersed. I was interested and into the story from the beginning, but once I became immersed it became difficult to put the book down.

I particularly liked that the creatures, the magic, and the world itself didn't feel too "fake." In fact, most things seemed to have a heavy basis in today's world. A lot of Adeyemi's story stemmed from West-African mythology and Yoruba culture - which I didn't realize until after I finished the book. In fact, I thought Yoruba was made up particularly for the story, but it was really great to find out that the story had basis in cultures and mythology I wasn't aware of. So it helped me learn and open up to new cultures.

I love a book with switched perspectives, but I'm not sure I've ever read a fantasy novel with multiple perspectives - they're often from one perspective or omniscient. I really loved knowing more about the thoughts and feelings of different characters. It helped in terms of understanding and empathizing, but it also made me need to know what was going to happen next - what things would go good, and what things may implode. It definitely kept me on my toes.

CBB is a book full of action, but is truly a book about social justice. It's a Black power fantasy novel that is also a beautiful and emotional statement about police brutality, and the ways in which people in power abuse those who they deem different.

"He wants to believe that playing by the monarchy's rules will keep us safe, but nothing can protect us when those rules are rooted in hate." - Children of Blood and Bone, Tomi Adeyemi

I really loved this book and the story so much. I connected with the characters, who were beautiful and flawed, but their thoughts and emotions were so real. I can't wait to jump into book two and learn more about Zélie's story, her mission, and her magic. I highly recommend this book if you enjoy fantasy to any degree. It's milder than many other fantasy novels I've read. I got some Aladdin vibes  (particularly in the marketplace - I imagine Princess Jasmine sneaking out of the castle and meeting Aladdin). I also thought the book reminded me a lot of The Bone Witch, which I really liked (but never continued with the series after book one). Again, if like fantasy novels at all, I'd definitely recommend Children of Blood and Bone.

Goodreads rating: ★★★★★

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