Rating: 4 out of 5
This is actually a slightly different review than what I posted on GoodReads but only because I’ve had some time to marinate on the book as a whole and I usually write my GoodReads review immediately after reading.
I’d really give this one a 3.5 but that’s still basically a 4.
The cover is gorgeous of course! The striking colors against the mottled black background share glimpses of red behind an opaque pitch; obscured by the shocking white of Zelie’s hair, scarves encircle the crescent of her forehead. Reminiscent of Storm from X-men, the young woman’s dark skin gleams from the cover, traces of tribal markings can barely be seen dancing around the edges of her steel gray eyes, calm but focused peering back at you.
Again, I love the overall concept of the book and Children of Blood & Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, has a magical structure I can’t wait to see unfold. There seems to be elements to the story that indicate bringing magic back may have consequences no one was ready for. I’m looking forward to seeing what she does with the foundation she has set for us as the audience.
With that being said though,
I decided to read this along with a group and TBH, I must admit we all had the same kind of issue. If the main character was a girl you knew you’d probably have the “chill sis” conversation with her around page 348.
Some parts of the book were VERY predictable and it was easy to see where the author was working you for the sequel. As a rule of thumb, a novel in a series should be a complete story that fits snugly into a larger one. There are parts to this novel that feel like canyons we need to jump over to get through the book.
At times this book read like a harlequin romance novel. I’ll let you read it to find out which parts. 😉
Overall, I did thoroughly enjoyed reading it. There’s been so much build up around the book I was determined to scratch it off several TBR’s. It discussed cruelty and injustice that people experience when a government is against them. Touching on the civil unrest we (POC’s) experience today. The Author’s Note in the back goes a bit farther into Adeyemi’s feelings on the historic and continued mistreatment of people of color and what really motivated her to write the book.
*Side Note: The book has been getting critical acclaim by celebrities and press. With the help of ICM Partners, Adeyemi landed a near seven-figure movie deal with FOX for her series as well as secured a pretty impressive publishing deal that recently closed with Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, making this 23-years-old first time author very wealthy. *
With all that buzz, at times I really had to consider if my opinion of the book was because I wanted to like the story or if I genuinely liked the story. Most days there was a mixture of both, but by the end of the book, I was certain of a few things.
As I said in my review of Song of Blood and Stone when magic is involved their are often only two outcomes. Those with it use that power to lord over those without or Those without it persecute those with it. In this instance those who should have it have been stripped of it and are still treated like vermin.
The thought and effort put into the history of the maji’s was intense. The history of Sky Mother, the Gods and the 10 Maji clans is something I’m looking forward to exploring as she continues the series. The rituals, artifacts and language of the Maji was very believable. The history behind the royal family once revealed was also interesting, but I do wish to know more about what went awry that caused Saran’s “first family” to be murdered.
So often is magic described as this never-ending thing, to think of a world in this sense where magic can and has been temporarily barred and the battle to return it is also what makes the book so captivating. I also really enjoyed all of the artwork associated with the book, that includes the names of the narrators, but, especially the world map in the beginning, I always love a good world map.
My favorite thing about this novel would have to be the characters, if Adeyemi did nothing else she developed the four main characters into tangible beings. Each person had a strength they didn’t realized they’d possessed and a vulnerability they were desperate to hide. The progression of the story exposes the weaknesses of Zelie, Amari, Inan and Tzain while challenging them to evolve into better stronger people or to perish beneath the weight of their doubts. The inner turmoil each character must overcome to truly fight for a better Orisha has been the most titillating part of the novel, at times it is the book’s saving grace.
I didn’t really care for the names of the animals there was no real difference between a Lionaire from a Panthenaire and a Gorillion is just a gorilla in my book. It seemed like a missed opportunity for the author to create creatures that truly added to the world they were in. The “Ryders”, are this world’s main source of transportation and the beasts are as involved in the story as their human counterparts. Yet they weren’t original nor were they that clever. They were merely the lackluster adjustments of existing animals. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the way the chapters were broken up, in fact at times some chapters were only three pages with no shift in narrator, a real distraction for me occasionally.
The book was a quick read once I got into it, lasting it’s standard 4 days for it’s 500+ pages. Animal names aside, the language was also insightful as it taught me rudimentary Yoruba. The book seemed as true to facts as possible regarding the Orishan deities and their gifts. The clans as evidence of the Gods will was also a nice touch. Totally looking forward to the next installment.
Though as rumors of the story now being stretched into seven books and the progression of the “fandom” takes hold I only hope this truly ends up being like Hogwarts and NOT like Shadow Hunters.
For more info about the Children of Blood and Bone movie click here.
What did you REALLY think about Children of Blood & Bone ?
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