A Book and Film Blog

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone Book Review

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Children of Blood and Bone is a Nigerian-mythological inspired fantasy novel. The world features different kind of magic; those with power over fire, water, earth as well as those with power over health, disease, life and death. Those who wield magic are called the Maji. The story predominately follows Zelie, a diviner. Zelie has white hair and the markings of a Maji but, she can't use magic. This is because when we meet Zelie at the beginning of the novel, magic has been eradicated by the king. As Maji only come into their powers when they reach adolescence, the king orchestrated mass genocide of all Maji wielding adults leaving a generation of Maji orphans. With the help of Princess-gone-rogue Amari; the two find themselves on the run from the Crown Prince of Orishan in a quest to strike out against the monarchy, and restore magic to the land.

I was drawn into this book because it promised (and delivered) something different, a high fantasy novel set in Nigeria. And while I was thoroughly impressed by Adeyemi's world building, this book is very much high fantasy - a genre I generally struggle with. The author revels in this genre and, the story features many of its classic tropes: princesses, revenge, dark magic and power struggles. These elements are not only well-fleshed out but also woven with Nigerian mythology which offers readers something a little new.

In hindsight, the story was well paced - many fast-paced action sequences that are counteracted with the slower chapters where our central four build relationships. Like I said, you'll enjoy these sequences if you're into high fantasy. I, at times, struggled to stay engaged. My issue with the book lies mainly with the slower chapters where we're left with these characters and the budding romances. The romances were far too contrived for my liking and felt forced. Not only could the story have done without one particular romance; it highlighted how the story could have done without these characters altogether.

I enjoyed the journey the Tomi Adeyemi took me on, but always felt as though the book was being set up to be a series (which it is). Progress is constantly achieved, then undone, then achieved, then undone. And while I'm sure this'll look great once it's onscreen, I was left a little frustrated at times. Where Children of Blood and Bone really shines however, is in its handling of racial tensions, class inequalities and persecution this nation endures. Through Zelie's family, we see how a generation handle the effects of genocide; all themes that speak powerfully to the world we live in today.

Whether you're a huge fantasy fan or not, the combination of fantastic world building, strong female characters and prominent themes bubbling beneath the surface mean there's something in here for everyone.

3.8/5
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