Saturday, February 22, 2020

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Pages: 544 pages
Published: March 2018

So, I began my last review: I don't even like ghost stories or the paranormal ... And I will begin this review in much the same way. I don't even like fantasy novels, but I absolutely devoured Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. I began reading this book while most of the U.S. was engrossed in the annual Super Bowl. This book was way more captivating than the football championship game! This novel is the first in a series.

The story begins with the protagonist, Zelie, who is living in dire times where her people have lost their magic, and they are essentially being racially profiled by the authoritative figures of Orisha. Through happenstance Zelie meets Amari, the princess of Orisha and learns that there is a way to recapture the magic her people once lost. The two form an unlikely bond, and together, we are taken on a wild ride as they attempt to reclaim what was once lost.

The thing I enjoyed most about this book is that even though it falls in the young adult genre, it focuses on some very important topics through symbolism. The oppression exhibited by the characters who held authority was easy to envision and relate to as a person of color in the United States. The magic clearly was a metaphor for power - power lost, abuse of power, and power reclaimed. The overall symbolism was noted in Adeyemi's author's notes at the end of the book. I think it's quite beautiful how she took real-life tragedy and pain and created something so vivid through her prose and imagery in this book. I got to hear her speak about her writing at the 2019 North Texas Teen Book Festival in Irving, Texas. What's she's done here is simply astounding.

I struggled with a few minor things. There was a full cast of characters. It was a little challenging to nail down which ones would be most germane to the story as I began reading, so I took some notes as I read the first third of the book. I also struggled with the overabundant use of phrases like "for skies sake" and "what in gods name." Other than those two personal hang-ups, I really have no other criticisms.

Recommendation: I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and I think I just might have to read the subsequent books in the series. I don't even like fantasy stories ... and maybe I still don't. Maybe what I really appreciate is good writing. If you decide to pick up a book by Tomi Adeyemi, that's exactly what you'll get - excellent writing.

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.


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