I’ve already read this book once around the time it came out in 2018 and I decided to reread before picking up its sequel, Children of Virtue and Vengeance.
This review will contain a mixture of my opinion from both times reading the book.
If you want to read my full thoughts from the first time around, click here.
☾ about the book
Title: Children of Blood and Bone
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Series: Legacy of Orïsha
Format: ebook, novel
Trigger Warnings: death, torture, verbal abuse towards a minority group and children
☾ the synopsis
They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.
☾ the characters
The characters in the book all have motives.
Zélie wants to survive and bring the magic back to her homeland.
Tzain wants to protect Zélie and honor the wishes of his parents
Amani wants to avenge her friend and end her father’s cruel rule over the kingdom.
Inan wants to make his father proud and keep the kingdom safe by keeping the magic at bay.
The fact that these characters all have interests that tend to clash with each other makes for interesting character dynamics that feel very real, and they will be especially relatable for the readers that have siblings.
None of them chose the situation they were forced into, and I find that especially Inan and Zélie are very complex characters that have to battle with their emotions and ideals in the face of the actual world they live in.
☾ the magic system
In Orïsha, magic has disappeared with the Raid, a massacre that killed the maji, the magic-wielding population of the kingdom.
Maji can be divided into different clans, and each clan has their own power that is connected to a sister deity.
Magic can be wielded by calling upon said sister deity and using incantations in the maji’s native tongue.
Three magic artefacts, the sunstone, the bone dagger and the scroll are needed in a ritual to bring magic back to the descendants of the maji.
Those descendants are called dîviners – and they don’t manifest their magic until they are thirteen years old.
In order to keep the magic away, the King uses majacite, a metal that numbs the maji’s ability to cast magic.
☾ the world building
Orïsha is a very complex kingdom.
Since the Raid, the majis have died out and the King is using taxes (maji taxes) to prevent uprisings within the population. If a dîviner cannot pay their taxes, they are sent to the stocks to work until their depts are paid off and often die in that process-
Dîviners are also affected by this tax, since they are the only survivors of the Raid – the King kept them alive and started seeking out the magic artefacts to keep the dîviners from manifesting their magic.
Dîviners are seen as the scum of the population, and are often referred to as maggots.
Most of them live in slum-like settlements and fish for their living.
Not much is known about the other population of Orïsha – the King despises magic and most of the population follows suit in this dicatorship way of ruling the Kingdom.
People who rise up are tortured and killed.
☾ what i liked about this book
At the time it came out, I loved everything about this book.
I remember it was right there when the Black community spoke up about needing representation in literature, and I felt like it was an honor for me to be reading this book.
I remember I loved the descriptions and the world building the most, and I still do to this day.
Tomi Adeyemi has a very colorful way of describing the world she has created.
Another thing I really loved were the messages about taking pride in where you came from, which I feel is very essential and inspiring for the Black community.
For me, as a white reader, this book was very eye-opening because I understand now how important it is to advocate for diversity in literature and how important it is that everybody can read works of fiction in which they find themselves represented.
☾ what i didn’t like about this book
I didn’t like Inan very much the second time, because I knew his motives.
The thrill of the plot was also gone the second time around, which is to be expected when you start remembering bits and pieces about the plot as you continue reading.
☾ should you read this book?
I definitely recommend this book if you haven’t already.
The book provides a lot of thrill adventure and is a very plot-driven story with very complex characters.
As I said before, it can be very eye-opening and enjoyable, and there are a lot of important messages to be taken away from this book.
Have you read Children of Blood and Bone?
What are your thoughts on it?
Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments – please be sure to put a spoiler warning if necessary.