YA Review: Children of Blood and Bone

Title: Children of Blood and Bone
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Edition: Paperback
Rating: 4/5

I’ve been looking forward to reading this. ‘Children of Blood and Bone’ is a West-African-inspired fantasy story about Orisha, a kingdom where magic has disappeared, and the Maji who used to practice magic have been wiped out to prevent its return. The story is told through three POV characters – a teenage girl who would have magical powers if the gods hadn’t taken them from the world; a teenage princess; and her brother, the heir to the throne.

The book follows the characters as their lives collide, and they discover a ritual that might bring magic back. It’s an adventure story and a fantasy road trip, with plenty of obstacles in the paths of the protagonists. At 525 pages, it’s a reasonably long YA novel, and it covers a lot of ground – literally and in terms of character development and plot.

The central character is Zélie, the potential Maji. She witnessed the execution of her Maji mother when the magic practitioners were killed, and she works hard to look after her father, and keep her family safe in their fishing village on edge of Orisha. When she meets Amari, the princess, on a visit to the capital, they set off a chain of events that leads them to the ritual, and to the journey across Orisha, pursued by the prince.

There is plenty of action and danger, and plenty of excitement. There are unexpected twists, and unplanned adventures as the characters travel to their goal. Even over 500+ pages, the plot rarely stands still, and there is always another obstacle, and another plot twist, just over the page. Zélie is a strong, determined protagonist, and Amari has to learn quickly how to defend herself and survive outside the palace.

The system of magic is unusual, with different clans of Maji specialising in different forms of magic, and the connection with the gods is explicit and central to the book. The setting is engaging – a Nigerian-inspired land with jungles, deserts, and mountains; villages, cities, and traveling caravans. Political intrigues at court provide the backdrop to Amari’s life, with her strict mother, and her father, the King who fears the return of magic.

All the ingredients for an exciting journey, and a quest with the potential to heal the kingdom – or to destroy it.

Have you read Children of Blood and Bone? What did you think of the story? And what about the relationships between the characters? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!

Review cross-posted to GoodReads.

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