Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha #1) by Tomi Adeyemi
When reading books that are as hyped as this one, I really try to go into it with as little preconceived notion as possible so that I can form my own opinion and experience the story with a fresh mindset. So I tried to read as little as possible when review after amazing review would pop up for Children of Blood and Bone. I didn’t really know much about it other than it was a fantasy based on West African culture, some tribal magic, and a fight for freedom.
The world building in this book is fantastic. Its completely original from most all YA stories out there with a rich feel of the actual culture it is based around. I did spend a lot of time looking up specific Yoruba words to understand what I was reading, but that just added to the unique experience that this book enveloped me in. The magic system was also very different from most, based off of each of the ten gods in their religion, each god provides its children with a specific talent or gift. I really liked this and found it very easy to follow as we learned how it worked throughout the story.
The characters were all well fleshed out with very different personalities and I found that each one had their own role that played into the plot in its own way. While Zélie was our first character we were introduced to, there were three others that played very important roles in how this story would unfold. The other three were Tzain, Amari, and Inan. Mostly the chapters are told from Zélie, Amari and Inan, but Tzain is a constant throughout the entire book. I felt that in the beginning we see how closed minded most of the characters are, but over the course of the book they grow through many difficult tasks and battles that eventually open their eyes to how they need to make big steps in order to change their kingdom for the better. Diviners (magic wielding people) are very much looked down upon to the point that they are given a number of racial slurs, the worst of all being “maggot”. It broke my heart to see how cruel they were treated because of the way they were born.
Zélie was fierce and a fighter at heart, but somehow always found a way to mess everything up. I can relate Zél, I can relate. But with her brother Tzain by her side, she was protected always. I loved their relationship and how strong their family bond was. Losing their mother at a young age, Tzain swore to protect Zélie always, and he stood by that promise through thick and thin.
Amari might have been my favorite character (aside from Roen) but as far as main characters go, Amari went from being a quiet and timid princess to the fierce Lionaire. Her character growth was amazing, reading about her breaking out of her shell and to defy her despicable father so that she could help those who needed it most made my own heart grow. The friendship that formed between Zélie and Amari was beautiful in the way that they brought out the best in each other. While it started with a bit of hatred, it quickly grew, and eventually they were the ones who helped each other through even the toughest of times.
Inan was a mess. Poor, poor Inan. He just couldn’t catch a break. Brainwashed from birth by his father the king, he was taught that all magic was evil, and that if magic came back it would be the death of all those he loved. So when he finds out that he is also a Diviner his self loathing began to eat him alive from the inside out. I started out really disliking him for is ignorant way of thinking, and how he would do anything to please dear old daddy. But I will say he grew on me towards the end of the book. He still had his downside, but it was better than his bullheadedness from before he felt the fear of what it felt like to be a lowly diviner. The fear of being found out, that he was a maggot. But he grows a lot because of this, and he was actually good at heart under all the lies he had been told all his life.
My only complaint would be the romance. UGHHH! I can handle love triangles, teen angst, sappy love stories, forbidden love, even some instalove, and all the other crazy tropes there are out there, but when you start pairing couples off for the sake of everyone having a love interest, it starts to take away from the experience. Sometimes its okay for there to be a character that doesn’t have a lover. That doesn’t make them less interesting, it just means that wasn’t part of their story. I got to a few parts in this book where I was laughing at how ridiculous and forced the relationship was starting to feel. With how powerful and moving the rest of the story is, this just seemed so out of place that I lost some of the emotional investment I had already put into the book thus far. Had this not been the case, this would have easily been a five star read for me.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book. Its moving, cultural, powerful, intense, and fiercely passionate. I can feel the love that went into the writing and the message behind the story. I wanted to fight along with these characters for their freedom. I loved how connected you start to feel with the characters and their world, and the emotions this book provoked in me while reading. I can NOT wait until the second book is published, that cliffhanger of an ending will keep me wondering for the next year. Let the torture begin! This book really did live up to the hype and I’m happy I can finally know what it’s all about!
If You Liked This Book
If you liked Children of Blood and Bone then you should read Rebel of the Sands. Both of these stories are full of forbidden magic and a fight to be free of the iron fist that controls those who have magic in them. Both will make you want to fight for what is right and speak up to those who try to control what is different from them. These are the kinds of books that get my heart pumping wishing I could jump into the action right along with the characters!
Have you read this book? Heard all of the crazy hype!? What are your thoughts on it, and how did you like it? Are you a fan of hyped books, or do you prefer to let the craziness dull down before you see what its all about? I’m happy that I was pleasantly surprised with this one!