Children of Blood and Bone: A Mythological Wonder You Won’t Want to Leave – An ARC Review

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi AdeyemiI have given Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi a ☆☆☆☆ rating. It is Book 1 of The Legacy of Orisha series. It is Young Adult Fantasy. Henry Holt Books for Young Readers publishes it. It was be published March 6, 2018.

The blurb reads:

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.

children of blood and bone

Wow, is this overdue or what? Yeah, clearly not winning any favours with publishers out there. Sorry, book fam! As always, my reviews may contain spoilers. I say may because what’s a spoiler to you may not be a spoiler for me.

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As one of the most anticipated books of the year (it already has a sequel in store!), Children of Blood and Bone was a phenomenal debut novel. The story follows Zelie, a maj in a world of kosidan as she, her giant lion pet, her brother, Tzain, and the crown princess, Amari, go on a wild goose chase around Orisha to retrieve three magical artifacts in order to restore magic, peace and balance to the world. Maj are outcast and shunned people who possess magical abilities. At the same time, the crown prince, Inan, is hot on their tail, determined to prevent the trio from restoring magic to their world.

However, if it wasn’t so hyped up, I would have given it a glowing five stars. At most, it’s a four and a half because while it was great, there were many glaring issues with it.

Unnecessary Romance: It was completely unnecessary and did not lend anything at all to the story except to include a romantic element and to create shock value. Inan could have been a friend and it would have the same impact on maji-human relationships. Not to mention, not only was the romance unnecessary, they were so quick to fall in love. Like one minute they’re enemies, they next they’re in love. It was very unbelievable. Insta-love is icky, I kept expecting him to have manipulated her.

Length: I appreciate a lengthy novel. Give me fantastic worldbuilding, running from one end of the world to the other, but a lot of Children of Blood and Bone was exposition and it became incredibly draggy. I understand needing to build a story in the beginning but partway through the novel, it dragged so badly I felt like I was slogging through mud. In fact, there was one scene where it seemed like they were languishing despite the urgency of their predicament which brings me to my next problem with Children of Blood and Bone, the pacing.

Pacing: While it does vary between fast and slow pacing, most of the book was incredibly slow. There seemed no end to the treks through the forest, camping at night, more trekking, more of Inan tracking them, partying it up at the maj resistance and rebellion when they should have been saving the world.

Just Another Fantasy: At heart, Children of Blood and Bone is just another fantasy novel. Nothing truly set it apart other than its mythology but as it is not my culture that the book describes, I can’t comment on it further.

But, despite all these, it is a phenomenal debut novel and along with my many issues, I also love many things about it. I loved that everything tied back to family. The book juxtaposes Zelie and Inan’s family, showing how similar and different they could have been and how family support can make or break you. Another thing I really liked was that Zelie’s brother, Tzain, played a major role in the book, journeying with the group to their promised land. I had expected him to be some inconsequential character.

Another thing that made Children of Blood and Bone so great was the rounded characters. I’d go so far as to say that the least rounded of them all was Zelie. Tzain, Amari and Inan all went through character growth, whether for better or for worse and I was pleasantly surprised to see my perceptions and feelings towards these characters change as the book progressed. Amari was annoying af in the beginning and I could not understand for the love of God why she was given her own perspective but by the end of it all, Amari is my cinnamon roll! I love her so much!

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As one of the most anticipated books of the year, Children of Blood and Bone did live up to its hype and was an incredibly entertaining read with ups, downs and turn arounds. However, no book is perfect and it still has its flaws. But, in the end, I cannot wait for the second instalment and I hope I can get my grabby hands on it early!

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. This review edition may differ from the final edition.

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