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.
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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.