When was the last time you were completely mesmerized by a book? How long has it been since a story completely consumed your mind and made you cancel all of your plans? To finally be done with work for the day so you could get back to the book that had you on the edge of your seat? Well, I’m here to tell all of you that Tomi Adeyemi’s incredible book, Children of Blood and Bone was that very one for me.
Normally, when I introduce a book to review, I post an excerpt before I let you know my thoughts. But not this time because I want you to read every single word of this captivating story. Children of Blood and Bone is about Zélie Adebola, a young woman who comes from a family of maji. Born a diviner, Zélie, with her white hair and gray eyes, is technically a Reaper, a maji of life and death. But magic has been taken away from the maji thanks to the cruel King of Orisha, who wants to destroy magic, and those meant to wield it, for good. The gods, however, have other plans. A chance meeting with the King’s daughter, Princess Amari, turns Zélie’s world upside down, taking them on an epic quest that could bring magic back to Orisha.
I know that my description of the book is pretty scant, but I’m terrified that I’ll give too much away. This book is one that I do not want to spoil because from the first page to the last, you will be taken on a dizzying ride in Zélie’s world. Ms. Adeyemi, who I had the pleasure of seeing three times just in the past month (twice at Book Expo/Book Con and once at PopSugar Playground), is a young woman who writes like a veteran. She is generous with her attention to details that had my mind reeling with imagination. From her description of the people, places and animals that occupied Orisha, to the action-packed scenes that had me gripping the book a little too tightly, Ms. Adeyemi is a force to be reckoned with. Her use of color, nature and food brought Orisha to vivid life, so much so that I had no problem imagining the different locations Zélie and Amari had to travel to in order to complete their mission. My emotions were all over the place, particularly any time Zélie second guessed herself because we’ve all done that at some point in our lives. We all suffer from a bought of imposter syndrome, especially when we’re tasked with responsibilities we may not feel can be accomplished. Being able to relate to her on such a human level throughout the story was only due to Ms. Adeyemi’s extraordinary writing.
The author also did not shy away from the trauma Zélie and the maji experienced due to the King’s cruelty. His blind hatred for the maji and the suffering he brought down upon them could easily be replaced with the current-day racism experienced by people of color. The maji’s desire to be left alone and allowed to just be themselves without the fear of violence, economic distress and possibly death was palpable. The maji could be taken out of Ms. Adeyemi’s book and placed into our world with ease and their experiences would mirror the experiences of so many others. But I am heartened by the fact that so many children, young and full grown adults have embraced this book and read it with their eyes wide open. While at Book Con, Ms. Adeyemi said something that has stayed with me: “Books and stories save lives.” She is absolutely right.
I implore you, purchase, borrow, beg or do whatever you have to do to get a copy of this outstanding book (I do not condone stealing it, however). You know I rarely give five stars, but I would go above that rating if I could. Wait, it’s my website, so I can! I would give Children of Blood and Bone 10 stars for it’s beautiful writing, compelling story and message of hope and resistance we so desperately need right now. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.