Monday, March 19, 2018

Book Review: Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha #1)

Release Date: March 6, 2018
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Length: 525 pages
Source: Purchased Book/Audio Book

Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and 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 the enemy.



Protagonists: In the land of Orïsha, magic used to be everywhere and exist in everything, that is until the day of the Raid when soldiers with majacite weapons slaughtered the maji, those who could wield magical gifts from the gods, and magic died. Zélie is a diviner, someone who was supposed to be a maji before magic went away. Now she's treated like trash by the monarchy and she wants to fight back. Incidentally, she bumps into a rogue princess named Amari who just so happens may know how to bring magic back. However, their quest will be perilous as they're being tracked by the crown prince of Orïsha, Inan, who wants to eradicate magic just as much as his twisted father. All three of these main characters were so brilliantly complex. There were a couple of times, specifically with Inan, that I thought his character development was moving along too fast, only to realize what the author was really doing which took me by surprise for a minute before everything sunk in, and I really enjoyed what she did with his character. I love Zélie, she's a bit hotheaded and impulsive, but she fights for the freedom of her people and over the course of the book she really comes into her own, and while character development is all about getting stronger, what I really like is that Zélie's strength and character arc doesn't always come from good moments, in fact, there are many horrific moments that define who Zélie becomes. Finally, there's Amari, who I also grew to love, though I felt she wasn't featured as much as Zélie and Inan, she probably grows the most in this story and while I don't want to talk too much more here, I will say that Amari's character arc pretty much blew me away.

Romance: Honestly, I'm not too sure what to write here, mainly because even though it's been a while since I finished this book, I'm still trying to figure out not only my feelings on things but what feelings are still applicable going into future installments. On the whole I really enjoyed the romances in this book, they don't distract from the main plotline, and instead really help to elevate the story being told here. First, there's the obvious romance, since it's heavily hinted at in the synopsis, and that is the romance between Zélie and Inan. I'm a huge fan of the hate to love trope and I really fell in love with these two characters, basically because of how realistic their romance eventually seems. At first, there's a lot about a "connection" between the two, but when their romance really starts to be tested, that's when I really found myself in awe of just how real the romance started to feel, warts and all. There is another romance in this book, though not as obvious and while it doesn't get nearly as much time in the spotlight as Zélie and Inan's romance, I'm definitely looking forward to how it develops in the future.

World Building: This book is dense. I mean, there's so much story packed into this book and while it's over 500 pages, there's still so much that happens in this story and so much about the world that we learn. I've been on something of a Fantasy kick lately and while I find myself enjoying most of them, I've become aware that most fantasy worlds share a lot of similarities that make it hard for certain fantasy worlds to stand out among the crowd, but not this world. This world is so rich and vibrant that it sticks out easily. I loved how everything in this world is described because I truly felt the world come to life before me, well after I did a bit of Googling so I could form a better mental picture because there were a few things I wasn't familiar with. The wildlife of this world is incredible and terrifying and every city in this world felt a unique from the last. I love the world of Orïsha, from the vibrant culture, the entrancing folklore, and fearsome fauna that roam the landscape, and that's not even getting into the fantastic magic system in this world. In this world there are, or were, ten maji clans, each boasting a different gift from the gods, some were elementalists, some healers, and others could connect with the souls of the living or dead. Each type of maji that we see in this world is fantastic and the powers they can wield are mighty, while I think there's still more to learn about magic, the story of where it went, which is the focus, more or less, of this book, was an interesting one to learn. Then there's the political intrigue as we have a very punishing monarchy that oppresses diviners who literally have no way to fight back. A monarchy that places taxes on diviners just because of who they are and who will put you into the stocks, a death sentence essentially, if you can't pay your taxes. This is a world that has a lot of faults, but I do like that the author really explores the complexities of this world and doesn't just have a right and wrong side.

Predictability: Reading this book was almost like taking a breath of fresh air. While I do like to see how authors will approach different tropes, such as the heir reclaims their kingdom trope, It was exhilarating to read this book, that, while it does have a few tropes, really comes off as something unique, while still feeling a bit familiar. I'm trying to figure out how many things I was able to figure out ahead of time in this book, and aside from the very obvious, there wasn't anything I was able to figure out. In fact, this story has some really phenomenal twists that utterly blew me away, and one that nearly made my heart stop.

Ending: How is it that this ending was so epic? Well, honestly I know how it was. The author shows a phenomenal final climax from multiple perspectives to really fill out the scope of what this final clash means for not only these characters but the world as a whole. What I'm personally annoyed about though is that there's a gigantic cliffhanger at the end of this book and there's so much left up in the air and I just need to know what happens right this second and I can't wait to see how our heroes move forward in the next installment.


Okay, I'll say it, this is hands down the BEST BOOK I'VE EVER READ. No joke, the fantasy world is rich and dense, the characters are phenomenal and flawed, and the story is just so unbelievably epic and I can't wait to see what happens after that climactic ending.


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