“Children of Blood and Bone” by Tomi Adeyemi has been gaining recognition for the way it weaves African folklore and mythology into an epic fantasy. It tells the story of Zelie, who is sent on a journey to bring magic back to the world of Orisha. Magic has been gone from the land for years after the evil king eradicated it. During this time the people of Orisha have suffered under the kings rule and Zelie learns that she has the power to liberate them.
This novel is the beginning of what is expected to be an epic fantasy series and has already gained wide acclaim. Before its publication date, the film rights were already purchased. All the praise is well deserved.
All the characters in the novel are extremely well developed. Zelie is a fiesty, strong independent woman who doesn’t accept being bullied and doesn’t hold back from sticking up for herself. Inan, the crown prince, goes from being determined on finding Zelie and killing her before she has the chance to bring magic back to realizing that Zelie isn’t the problem and works with her to accomplish her mission. All the characters are balanced, have great qualities but also realize their flaws, which is an amazing thing to accomplish in a debut novel.
The pacing of the novel is well executed, especially for being over 500 pages. There aren’t moments where the story feels as if dragging and Adeyemi does a great job of world building and giving the reader the right amount of detail to understand, but without feeling like the description is just there to fill the pages.
The thing I really loved about the book was the way it gives young readers an allegory of police brutality and the slaughtering of unarmed African Americans. In her author’s note, Adeyemi talks about how the story was inspired by news stories and she was determined to write something that makes people aware of what is happening to people of color.
She definitely accomplishes this in the way that the themes of oppression, the mistreatment of marginalized groups and standing up for yourself no matter the obstacles you will face are woven within her story.
This novel blew me away. I’m so happy young readers are being exposed to stories that are relevant and reflective of the world we live in. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series as it comes out and I highly encourage everyone to pick this book up.