By Robert Drinkwater
When I first heard of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, it was described as ‘the next Harry Potter series’, and I can see why. It is full of magic, deep lore, and three protagonists. I was enthralled from the very beginning. The story follows Zelie, who lives in the land of Orisha, a land that was once full of magic, but has since been wiped out all because of the ruthless King who rules over that land. This same king also had every maji (people who can use magic) executed (including Zelie’s mom). However it is soon revealed that Zelie can help bring back magic to the land. With the help of her brother and a runaway princess, the three embark on an epic journey across the land to bring back magic.
From the start, I was hooked. I was drawn in to this fantasy land along with its characters. I was intrigued by the lore and overall plot of the story. From the start Zelie must travel across the land to a sacred place in order to bring back magic. During this journey we as readers get to know more about the land of Orisha, along with the main characters. The characters were what really brought this novel to life. Each one had their strength and weakness and they all had a journey of self discovery, that by the end of it, everyone was more developed. It is also important to note that this is a multiple point of view character book. The point of view chapters are from the perspective of Zelie, Amari, and Inan, Amari’s brother who is hunting for both Amari and Zelie. A lot of times with multiple POV books the narration can get mixed up and it becomes difficult to tell the narrators apart, but this was not the case for this novel. Everyone felt individualized and unique in their own way, and I found myself empathizing with each of these characters. Each POV character had their own voice and style.
Personally, Amari was my favorite character. I know Zelie is the main protagonist, but Amari has probably developed the most out of all of these characters. She goes from some shy princess to a total badass warrior. By the end of the novel, she showed more leadership skills. I’m really hoping that she’ll end up becoming the Queen of Orisha eventaully. I also liked the other characters, as everyone had their own struggles and character development throughout the novel, but I just felt like Amari stood out and I look forward to what she’ll be up to in the second novel. I also enjoyed Inans chapters. He was such a complex character who I just kept switching my opinion on whether or not I loved him or hated him.
This book was action packed from the beginning. It kept me on edge knowing that each character was in a dangerous situation. The stakes were high and it was intense from start to finish. It was layered with unpredictability as I found myself guessing what would happen next along with fearing for the lives of these characters.
Adeyemi has mentioned that the lore of this book is based off of West African folklore. She has also mentioned that An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir was a huge inspiration when writing her novel and I could definitely see a lot of parallels, such as oppressive government, a ruthless tyrant, and epic journey. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the works of Leigh Bardugo, Sabaa Tahir, and Victoria Aveyard. Fantasy works such as this can be a good form of escapism and I think this book would be a good choice for students especially who are studying for finals, as it would be a good book to take a break from studying and delve right into the magical world of Orisha.