Book Review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Legacy of Orisha #1)


ChildrenOfBloodAndBoneCoverOfficial Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Setting: The fictional world of Orisha, which is based on Nigeria.
My Copy Came From: I borrowed a copy from my local library.

*** this post contains affiliate links ***

Review: A great beginning and a great ending, with a sluggish middle. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi is the first book in the Legacy of Orisha series, and it certainly started off well. I was immediately drawn in to the story, the character of Zelie, and the world of Orisha.

No matter how much I crave peace, the gods have other plans.

Told in first person, with different POV chapters, we are treated to a POV from Zelie, a strong and confidant seventeen year old, who is secretly learning how to fight. We also get POVs from the royal siblings, Amari and Inan. Amari and Zelie meet up in a somewhat contrived circumstance, and it was little forced plot points like this that frustrated me in this read.

I struggled with being able to determine which character was narrating. The chapter headings have the POV character’s name on top, but the problem for me was that Zelie and Amari’s voices sounded too similar. I was constantly forgetting which character I was reading. Even Inan’s voice wasn’t all that different either. His was a little easier to discern, as he spends a majority of the book not being around the other characters, so his path was different than Zelie and Amari’s. But the surrounding action should not be how you determine which POV you are reading.

Fool yourself all you want, little prince, but don’t feign innocence with me. I won’t let your father get away with what he’s done. I won’t let your ignorance silence my pain.

Besides the trouble with the POVs, the other big issue I had with The Children of Blood and Bone was certain contrived plot points. The first one being how Amari and Zelie meet, just randomly running into each other in the marketplace. It felt forced for the story. Another plot point I had trouble with was after Zelie, Amari, and Zelie’s brother Tzain pause their journey for a ceremony. I could not wrap my head around this. These characters struggle and fight for special magical artifacts that they need to save magic. They are tasked with a timeline of five days to get these artifacts to a certain location, while being chased by the king’s henchmen. And then they decide that they can stay in one location for a day and have a magical ceremony before continuing on their journey. Well, OF COURSE the evil henchmen catch up to them and that changes the trajectory of the rest of the book, and this forced “staying put” just really irritated me. I felt that the characters would not just wait around for an entire day when they were pressed with such an important task.

But, while I had certain issues with the plot, I can’t deny that Children of Blood and Bone is highly entertaining, and had a fabulous start and a fabulous ending. There are two romances here, and I didn’t have a problem with either of the romances. In YA books it always seems that the romances happen quickly, and while things develop quickly here, as the stakes are so high, the speed in which things developed didn’t bother me.

Saran’s eyes narrow, but I can’t be silent. Not when my blood boils and my muscles shake to break free.

I will not let my fear silence the truth.

“You crushed us to build your monarchy on the backs of our blood and bone. Your mistake wasn’t keeping us alive. It was thinking we’d never fight back!”

Another thing I really loved was the beautiful world building. The magic, the setting, the language used, even the animals (Cheeetanaires! Snow leopanaires! Lionaires!) are all well thought out and immersive. I felt like I was in a magical world while reading this, and was able to escape into the book. Which is what I want from a fantasy novel. So, in many ways Children of Blood and Bone was absolutely fabulous, and I hope that the plot is tidied up in future entries. And we are treated to a great female friendship here, which is always a joy to read. Especially in YA.

Bottom Line: Has some frustrating forced plotting, but overall was a fabulous read.

LINKS ***the Amazon links are affiliate links which means I receive a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase***

Author Website
Pre-order on Amazon Children of Virtue and Vengeance which releases in March 2019!

Have you read Children of Blood and Bone? Did you enjoy it? Will you be reading Children of Virtue and Vengeance when it comes out?


12 thoughts on “Book Review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Legacy of Orisha #1)

  1. I don’t get why every YA novel is written in first-person. Do I really only want to travel in the head of a teen? See what they see, think what they do? Maybe teens want that, but I find it narcissistic. HOWEVER, I do know that in general there was a wave of books being written in first person across the board, whereas third-person past-tense is traditional. I know my POVs well and think VERY carefully about which to use before I even begin a story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, you’re right – there are a LOT of first-person YA books! I like reading first-person, so hadn’t really picked up on how prevalent it is, and you make a great point. There are a lot of those books out there – and like you say, it isn’t just YA. I also like the multiple POV aspect, too, but that has been trendy lately as well and can be a bit overdone. I like my POV’s to feel totally different from each other, so get a bit irritated when they characters sound too similar.


  2. I appreciate the critical eye you take in this review, Ami. I’ve read some glowing reviews for Children of Blood and Bone, but I don’t think I’ll be picking this up. Your review is the first I’ve seen which addresses poorly defined POVs (a HUGE annoyance of mine) and contrived plot points. But I’ve heard that the pacing is a bit off and the content can be more of the graphic end of the violence spectrum.

    That said, I’m glad to see there is a strong female friendship introduced in this book! We don’t see enough of that, particularly in YA. I hope you’re right and the writing improves as the series continues. I’ll keep an eye out for your future review… many many months into the future. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! The world building is so great in this book – it really hit the mark there, and I hope that the characterization is stronger in the next book and also the plotting is tighter. There is some violence here, and yeah, the pacing was a bit off in that the beginning was great, the ending was great, but the middle section really lagged for me. And that middle section was where so many of the issues I had with the plot happened. Maybe the book just needed to be edited down some (why this trend of making YA books so long? Amazon has the book listed at 544 pages) to tighten up that plot.

      Liked by 1 person

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