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Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha)

Review

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha)

Zélie Adebola knows what it means to be nothing. After magic disappeared, and after King Saran exterminated all the magic-wielding maji of Orïsha --- including Zélie’s mother --- divîners, those with magical potential, were no more than shattered remnants of former power. Now, fear and oppressive rule keeps the divîners ostracized in the general society of the kosidán. Zélie’s family makes a meager living to survive the frequent divîner taxes, but grief, anger and fear still rage in Zélie’s heart. The memory of magic --- maji controlling water, fire, health, mind and death --- fuels her desire to strike back against the regime that broke her people.

When an unexpected encounter reveals an opportunity to restore magic to Orïsha, Zélie embarks on a journey across the kingdom in the hopes of bringing back magic, gods and power for the divîners. However, she is pursued by Prince Inan, who is determined to protect his father’s work, and racing furiously against the clock. Zélie must harness all of her courage and fledging powers if she wants to make her people something again.

"CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE’S...strength lies in the fact that it is neither simply plot nor characters...perfectly paced, the story pulls the reader in with an equal mix of action-based scenes and quiet interactions."

Tomi Adeyemi’s book is worth each and every single one of its many pages. CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE’S backbone strength lies in the fact that it is neither simply plot nor characters --- perfectly paced, the story pulls the reader in with an equal mix of action-based scenes and quiet interactions. Additionally, the complex intertwining between the plot and characters means that the characters’ personalities will cause certain events, or an event will reveal another layer of a character: like interlocking gears, this gives both elements purpose and ensures that the story progresses in a natural, believable way. The length of the story means that Adeyemi packs so much into one story that it almost feels like reading an entire trilogy, but she eliminates slow, dragging scenes while keeping the character development to make it work.

The characters themselves are intriguing and compelling for their layers, imperfections and fears. Adeyemi writes each character like the best writers do --- realistically. Zélie’s impulsiveness and its unintended consequences will speak to teenagers, as will her moments of doubt. However, her passion might be the most inspiring thread of her character; it is palpable throughout the entire story in a way that burns across the pages and fills the reader with a sense of empowerment. Adeyemi also adds another diverse story to the YA book world, providing unique voices so that readers can see themselves in the stories they read.

The continuous themes in CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE elevate the novel to an even higher level: power, oppression, fear, identity, family, grief and spirituality are just some of the major ideas that the story explores and defines as the chapters progress. The novel’s messages concerning these ideas hold power, truth and relatability to modern movements and conflicts, a masterful method of incorporating contemporary society into a fantasy novel. Spirituality was one of the most unique ideas that Adeyemi works into her story, as it is one that most YA novels don’t cover. Zélie wrestles with her relationship with the gods of the maji throughout her journey, and it plays a role in her anger and fear, as well as her sense of identity.

Adeyemi’s physical and cultural setting for her story adds the background of color to the tapestry that is her debut. Each time readers think that they have seen the most unique part of Orïsha, Adeyemi will reveal another shade of color, another corner of the universe, or another piece of its created history or culture to make readers even more fascinated.

Readers know a story is well written when they want to jump back in after they finish, and Tomi Adeyemi lures readers into Orïsha with such ease that they’ll never want to leave. Each element of the novel proves that Adeyemi knows how to write a compelling story, a rich story --- and most importantly, a powerful story. Every reader should do themselves the favor of picking CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE up…and if you don’t like fantasy, just wait for Adeyemi to prove you wrong.

Reviewed by Rachel R., Teen Board Member on March 13, 2018

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha)
by Tomi Adeyemi