Children of Blood and Bone

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Mar 2018

Member Reviews

Holy crap. This book is absolutely incredible. I don't think I have read a book this good in a long long LONG time! 
I will be writing a full review of this book in the next couple of days. But... wow. 

I need to collect myself.

The writing style, the world building, the characters and my GOD the magic in this book. Absolutely breathtaking. I cannot get over how this is a debut book and I NEED to know what happens next!
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I need the sequel! Tomi Adeyemi has created a masterpiece that will capture millions of readers! I loved all the characters and the plot was amazing!
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I was super excited for this book from the very first time I heard it, and it delivered in every way! A great adventure from start to finish.
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This is the unpopular opinion but this book just wasn't for me. I know it was very hyped up and many, many people loved it. I was excited to read it too.  But I felt like it was just the same old YA storyline and for some reason, it just didn't hook me in. But I hate leaving negative reviews, so maybe it was just me. Maybe it wasn't the right book at the right time for me.
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Regretfully, this was a DNF for me. Just one of those hugely popular things that didn’t work for a particular person, I guess. Nothing against Ms. Adeyemi!
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Where do I even begin?! Tomi Adeyemi is a phenomenal writer! Her world building is fantastic and her magic system was awesome. I loved everything about this book from start to finish. The pace was great, the characters all complex and intricate and the plot just kept twisting and turning. Gripped from beginning to end!

Zélie was such an amazing character! As the protagonist of this story I never had a moment where I didn't like her. She was spunky, bossy and confident when need be. She knew what she was capable of and she never gave up. Zélie is definitely my favorite character of all the others. She matured throughout the journey to restore magic to her people and as a maji she was just like her mother. I predict that she may even be more powerful than her mother.

Prince Inan was a shocker for me! I did not expect him to be what he was. I always considered him to be a spoiled brat, but learning about his upbringing and knowing that his father was a grade A dick, I felt bad for him. I didn't like how he played the fence between good and evil.

Princess Amarai was a character I saw as weak the whole story up until the end chapters. She is a spitfire and a beast. She may seem weak and fragile, but when the girl needs to kill she goes all out. I loved her boldness and how she stood up to her father and her brother. She complained a lot, but seeing as she was a sheltered princess it made sense for her to. She grew into herself throughout this whole story and I can't wait to see how things change her even more in the sequel.

Tzain, Zélie older brother, was a funny guy. I don't know whether I liked him or not. He was totally overbearing and seemed to blame Zélie a lot. I feel as if he has a lot of growing to do within himself. He was too serious and didn't know how to live and have fun.

The romances were so stinking cute! Tzain and Princess Amari I didn't care for at first, but I loved how they helped one another bring out their quirky sides. Tzain was too uptight and Amari was too reserved, but together they had fun and laughed. Now, Zélie and Prince Inan was a romance I was all over! Sort of the hate to love trope, but it worked considering they were enemies, but technically on the same side. I adored those two love birds together and their little stolen moments together.

Mama Agba was like a sweet old granny to me. I loved how fierce she was and how she encouraged Zélie throughout the story. She was essential to Zélie's upbringing and I loved it. King Saran is an evil twisted bastard. I did not like him one bit. He played the part of a villain perfectly. He was a terrible leader, a horrible husband and an even worse father. The way he treated his kids killed me. I'm glad he met the end that he did.

That ending left me a bit hollow. The ending definitely was what I wanted, but not how I expected. Is Inan dead? Is Amari a maji? I need the sequel right now!
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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the eArc I received!
So this took me about 3 weeks to read, which is really strange for me. I'm not sure why...since It's definitely exciting and well written, I just think I struggled to stick with it when something crazy was happening every chapter. I was in the mood for a more relaxed read and so I read romance novels at the same time as reading this. Also, it's the first in the series so chapter hangers don't affect me as much as they do with characters I adore. 

That being said, I did really love this! I was in between a 3 or 4 though given that it let me down at some points. But I went with 4 since the emotional aspects of this book are so so strong and well done. 

Things I loved:
-Amari!! I just love her so much. She's so fierce and I adored how it ended with her (view spoiler)
-Zelie and Tzain have such a well developed sibling relationship, that is complex and layered. 
-The emotions! Especially having to do with friends and family. Very deftly done and made me cry a lot. 
-Inan is (view spoiler)
-There is like, one white person in this book maybe. It's nice because the prejudice isn't coming from white people towards the diviners, but other people of color. And that's obviously a very realistic issue but isn't done in many books! Tomi discusses the issues of colorism, racism, and police/military/state brutality so...clearly but also subtly. I can imagine someone reading this and not knowing it was going to tackle these issues and just absorbing the messages and lessons she communicates so well. It is both an intense fantasy whirlwind and a loud cry for social change and racial justice. It's brilliant. It does both of these things so so well and I'm impressed by how Tomi handles it. Sometimes it can feel like fantasy authors are being too obvious with their social messages or beating the reader over the head with them, but in this book it feels natural. She lets you see multiple sides to the story, with narration from Zel and Amari and Inan, and I think most readers will end up on Zel's and Amari's side and be slightly angry at Inan for not fighting the system as he should, or using his privilege in the right way. Anyways, one of the best parts of this books is how the author tackles real world issues in a fantasy setting. 
-The twist at the end is great! And made me really excited for book 2, which I feel like will be even better. 

Things I had problems with
-sometimes it moves TOO fast. There is something happening at the end of every chapter and sometimes i just wanted a break to see the characters be more introspective. The pace means that the emotions are also intense and then resolved quickly. That's an issue for me. Despite enjoying the family emotional stuff, I felt as if some relationships lacked depth because they just happen too quickly.
-namely, Inan and Zel. I can't get behind this ship. Maybe that's the point since all the stuff that happens at the end but I can't tell for now. 
-I really felt as if the more interesting relationship was Amari and Zel..in a friendship way but also as a potential romance. There is no LGBTQ rep in this at all, which is fine given how much other great rep there is, but the chemistry between Zel and Amari is palpable and they would make a great couple. 
-The magic system is...not as developed as it could be. The ending bit and how Zel does the ritual didn't make a lot of sense. Things got explained too quickly. I think some of my disappointment is that the reviews for this say that the world building takes a lot to get through but I felt as if it was the opposite—a bit too shallow at parts and very easily understood. I thought this was a world with a huge amount of depth but the magic system just seemed simplistic at points. 
-The plot is fairly repetitive. It's basically like the classic characters go on quest to recover magical objects thing. Except...they are captured twice, not once, and rescued twice, not once. Basically this just meant that the climax moments lost momentum because similar situations had already happened. Im not explaining this well, but the plot wasn't innovative or particularly surprising, at least until the last 20 pages. 

Overall, this was a mixture of things I really enjoyed and love, and some minor annoyances.
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This book was certainly not what I was expecting it to be. It was very intense, but I found it so empowering. I loved reading all about Zelie, and the way she kept fighting through everything, no matter what hit her. I didn't really think the romance was a necessary part of the book, but I know how most people love a good romance so I totally get why it's included. The magic, the inventiveness of the story, the way they really developed Zelie, it was a wonderful read.
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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 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 Children of Blood and Bone 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, Children of Blood and Bone 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!

Conclusion:

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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This sampler was awesome! Adeyemi's writing is superb, and the complex world building had me from page one. Read this book if you haven't already!
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It was full of heartache, sexual tension, betrayal and magic! I loved every second of it and can’t wait to read the sequel.
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Fans of Shatter Me and An Ember in the Ashes will love Children of Blood and Bone! The book is set in the fictional land of Orïsha, where a once powerful people called the Maji lived, but the king destroyed them, along with all magic in the land. Zelie, a Diviner, along with two others, go on an adventure to bring back the magic, and end the oppressive reign of the king. Their quest revolves around a variety of magic objects found throughout Orïsha. At the same time, Inan, the prince of Orïsha, is on their tail, willing to do anything, even kill, to stop the magic from returning. Children of Blood and Bone has something for everyone: Adventure, Romance, Murder, Friendship, and MAGIC!!
Tomi Adeyemi creates a stunning and unique world, inspired by Western-Africa, with a plot driven by female POC characters. Children of Blood and Bone is an amazing YA fantasy, and it also tackles larger issues issues like race relations, and how intolerance leads to oppression. It is an amazing debut for Tomi Adeyemi, a can’t put down read. Children of Blood and Bone is undoubtably going to be one of the best books of 2018.”
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I was very excited to be able to read this book.  I had heard so much about it, so when I was able to get the book here I was over the moon.  My daughter had also got to meet the author and get the book signed.  So, we decided to read the book together.  
I was not aware that I did not get the whole book and was beyond disappointed.  I am giving he book 5 stars, what I read was incredible and I love the story line.  I will now have to wait until my daughter is done to finish the book.
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Even though I didn't get to read an ARC I still wanted to share how amazing this book was. 
The most impact impression made by this debut novel is that the characters  are all POC AND author as a POC getting such high levels of attention. Keeping in mind , despite all the long history of publishing, the dismally small fraction of authors of color getting published, this novel took steps for more YA authors and readers to expect to see them selves in book son the best seller or at least hard cover fiction shelves!
he playing field is not level. I hope this novels's success, whether everyone who has read it agrees with its purported fabulousness, pushes the door that much father open and demands that much more attention paid to authors, characters, stories, and readers of color from The Big Six .
If you have read vast quantities of fantasy you may be slightly disappointed after all the hype this book has received. Yes, it is not 100 % original, but how many novels are these days? The originality in this book are the use of non-western cultural elements and word building treatments given to a basic magical adventure plot. 
Humans can only imagine magic and adventures, drama, romance and epics, so many ways, all based on our own past legacies and experiences-- this novel uses elements of Nigerien mythology, mysticism, and magic, something many westerners will find new hence some of the excitement. 
The underlying message about systemic oppression ( in this instance because of who has power and who wants to keep them from using it) and fighting back against it is not new but we all enjoy our stories of young adults and children learning their power and standing up for light against dark--again not original but still entertaining and inspiring.
For a debut novel? This is a strong start. I look forward to reading more of Adeyemi's work.
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The first time I read this book I blew through it and afterwards felt as though I missed a few things, so I decided to go back and read it again and take my time. And boy did I miss a lot. 

Adeyemi creates two strong female characters Zelie and Amari and I love them both. Granted at times they both got on my nerves. I loved how Adeyemi had a "character" reversal. In the beginning Zelie is strong and outspoken while Amari is meek and soft spoken; then after Zelie's torture Amari's strength really starts to shine through and Zelie becomes meek and soft spoken. The reader still sees Zelie's strength, but she is definitely not as forceful as she was.

Now let me talk about Inan for a moment. I sooo wanted to punch him in the throat. He got on my nerves. Prince Inan (say that sarcastically). 

He discovers that he is maji, but is afraid of it because of what his father, King Saran, has said about the maji. He carries this pawn around that came from a game he and his father used to play. And I kept thinking, "when is he going to let this dang thing go?" To me it was a symbol that his father is using him to further his agenda, which is true. Although he was on a quest to find his sister, Amari, and bring her home he was also on a quest to find Zelie and . . .

Kill her. Kill magic.

I love Adeyemi's descriptions. They are vivid and really pull you in - makes you feel like you're there. One of my favorite descriptions is of the Gombe River Valley.

After the six days traveling through the hell of the desert, the lush forests of the Gombe River Valley are a welcome sight. The hilly land breathes with life, filled with trees so wide one trunk could fit an entire ahere. We weave in and out of the towering giants, moonlight spilling through their leaves as we travel toward a winding river. It's quiet roar hits my ears like a song, soft like the crash of ocean waves.

At the outset of the novel I was intrigued. Bisi one of Mama Agba's students asks: "Why do they hate us?" And Mama Agba's reply was. . .

They hate what you were meant to become.

I thought about that and thought that no truer statement could have been made. People don't like you or they hate you for all sorts of reasons. Some of them valid, but most often they aren't. Most of the time the reason someone is not liked is based on ignorance, fear and/or misunderstanding. And the reality is just because someone doesn't like you doesn't mean you should stop being the best you you can be. And I'm done. Off my high horse I get.
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Overall, I’m honestly so surprised Children of Blood and Bone was a debut: the characters, the pacing, the writing, and plot were all practically perfect. I would highly recommend it.

I received this book in return for my honest opinion ~ Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read a great story.
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This book was exactly the YA fantasy I needed as a child, and still need today.I have never felt so strong a connection to a book's history and culture as I did this one. I am so grateful to the author for this book, and will look out for the sequel
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expected an intense hate/love relationship or... any intense feelings between the two main characters. I expected strong characters. Here is neither. I know, it’s only 23 %  of the book but.... I just keep finding reasons why I don’t like the girl. 

DNF at 23 %
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I suspect, though, that I'm not the only one who nurtured these fantasies of being suddenly wrested from my ordinary experience to have magical adventures. Hence the popularity of "chosen one" narratives, particularly in the young adult genre. Tomi Adeyemi builds on the legacy of the Percy Jacksons and Pevensie siblings that came before, but for her debut novel, Children of Blood and Bone, she grounds it thoroughly outside of the "white people in Western countries" place it has lived for so long. She creates as her world Orisha, loosely based on Nigeria and the magic in her tales comes from the mythology of the region. There used to be magicians in this world, the maji, divided into ten clans with a special connection to gods and goddesses and their representative elements. But then a cruel, autocratic king cracked down and slaughtered the maji. The adults, anyways. The children were left behind.

The loss of her mother in the raid that ended magic haunts teenage Zelie even years later. She takes after her mother in that she's a Diviner, born with the distinctive white hair that marks her as a potential maji and therefore subjected to discrimination. Her brother Tzain, though, is "normal" like their father, who's never recovered from the loss of his wife. Their lives are forever changed when one day Zelie heads to the capital city to go to the market, and runs into Amari, the country's princess, fleeing her father and the palace with a powerfully important scroll. That scroll, along with other artifacts, has the power to bring magic back to Orisha. Zelie, Amari, and Tzain find themselves on the run from the King and his son, Amari's brother Inan, who discovers much to his dismay that he's not as dissimilar from the Diviners he hates as he'd like. An unexpected connection between Zelie and Inan could be what saves them all...or what dooms them. 

This is not my usual type of book: I don't read YA particularly often, and it focuses heavily on plot over characterization and prose. Nevertheless, that plot moved forward so relentlessly that it was impossible to resist getting swept up in it, even when it veered toward the ridiculous. From nearly the second we meet them, our characters are under threat, and no sooner does one danger pass than another arises. Even as the story zooms, Adeyemi does some quality world-building, introducing the reader to a deeply earth-rooted system of magic in a way that gave enough detail to be intriguing without gratuitous information-dumping. It's refreshing to read a story that doesn't rely on the same familiar Christian and/or Eurocentric myths for inspiration.

That being said, while the details of the story are fresh, many of the beats are eye-rollingly familiar: enemies to friends, hate to love, capture and rescue. There are serious, serious deficiencies in character development...no one feels like more than a set of keywords and relationships that the readers are clearly supposed to get deeply invested in are so thinly sketched that the "payoff" barely registers. Prose quality that might elevate the more rote elements is absent...the writing isn't at all bad, but neither is it ever more than serviceable. The book doesn't feel like it's meant to be taken in and of itself, but rather as a springboard: for a movie, for sequels. While it's compelling and compulsively readable while it's in your hands, it loses a lot when it's over and you have time to think about it. I maintain only a vague sort of "if it's on the Kindle for less than $5" interest in continuing the series. If you're into this genre and these kinds of stories, you'll probably very much enjoy this book. If you're looking for something to keep you entertained on the airplane, this is a solid choice. If this isn't the kind of story you're predisposed to like, though, this is skippable.
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I didn't connect with this book in the way that I had hoped. But I'm glad it was written and has been getting so much attention. I probably won't read the sequel but I'm excited for the inevitable movie.
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