Skip to main content

Book Review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

The first part of Orisha trilogy, Children of Blood and Bone by debutant author, 24 year old Tomi Adeyemi, who  has studied West African Culture and Mythology, is worthy of our time and effort that it takes to read through the 600 pages of this adventure.

This is one of the very few books that I have read from the #YA category so I did not have much of an idea as to what to expect and so I dived right in soon after getting the book. The fact that I have always wanted to read African literature and never got much around to it, also prompted me to pick this book before a few others. Add to this, my interest in mythology and can imagine me rubbing my hands in glee as I started Children of Blood and Bone.

First in the Orisha trilogy by debutant author Tomi Adeyemi (@tadeyemibooks ) the book starts off with a young girl looking forward to her graduation ceremony from a training school where an old seer teaches young girls to use a staff. But this is no ordinary girl we learn soon enough. She is Zelie and she is the one chosen by the Gods to bring back magic to her people and land.

Children of Blood and Bone is the story of a maji (magician) Zelie, who inherited magic from her mother. A spirited girl who seethes at the wrongdoings of the King's soldiers and who finds it difficult to keep her voice down, Zelie hates the King of Orisha with every fibre of her being because her mother (and other majis like her) was murdered on his orders so that the magic was wiped out of Orisha.

The story is told from different perspectives of the three characters - Zelie, Amari and Inan. Though the book's mainstay is magic but I could perceive the author's underlying thoughts on highlighting discrimination via her story. The author has done a commendable job of bringing to life the girl's pain at losing her mother and my heart ached for her everytime I read a passage about her mother's murder or her associations. Poignant, probably is the right word here. 

Sample these, the very opening lines of the novel, 

I try not to think of her.
But when I do, I think of rice.
When Mama was around, the hut always smelled of jollof rice. 

You, me and almost everyone else can find a resonance with this in parts. Won't we?

The story does flow well but somewhere in the middle it starts to get weighed down by Zelie's dashed hopes, every now and then, as she faces hurdle after another in reaching her final destination, the place where she is to perform the final ritual to bring back magic. 
There is a lot of violence in the book which I would not comment on for the time being as I think the plot warranted it to an extent but considering the fact that it is aimed at young audiences is it appropriate, remains to be seen. Tomi in an interview with The Guardian says that every moment of violence in the book is based on real footage.

Coming to the writing I am a big fan of the use of simple language and short sentences which should work wonderfully for the young audiences this book is aimed at. The magic whenever it comes into play- in creating the images of Burners wrecking havoc on King's army or Healers and Connectors lending their touch to Zelie and her team- is very detailed and a joy to read.
The book leaves you asking for more at a very crucial stage and I can't wait for the other two books to come out. 

Personally I prefer to read a series when all the books are available. Do you too?

Title: Children of Blood and Bone
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Genre: Young Adult, Magic, Fantasy, Mythology
Paperback: 600 pages 
Publisher: Macmillan
Language: English
Rating: 4/5


Rohit Sharma said…
Wow, Awesome this sounds. I just finished one of the books based on the life in Africa and was shocked n amazed by it.
I will definitely give this one a read but like you said, only after the series is finished as I just can't wait for the other parts to come along. I can't take a long break between the books from the same series.
This goes straight to my TBR. Thanks for the recco.

Popular posts from this blog

A case for non-fiction or better understanding of kidlit

If you are a parent there are more chances than one that YOU have handed your child a book to read. Or you have chosen to bring home the books that you think that she might like to read. If any of these hold true then we are almost alike and no this is not an article that tells you how wrong you have been all along in bringing your child the books that you choose. This is just a few of my thoughts on this very subject
that I gathered today morning as I wrote an Instagram post.

Let me begin at the beginning.
Today my soon to be 4, son sat down with a book and was at it for good 10-15 minutes. No, it wsn't a tome. It wa a small picture book on trucks. My friend gifted him this book on trucks on his first birthday. The chap was fascinated with it from the moment he got it. You could flip pages and see bright pictures of different types of trucks and then you could open little sliding screens to find out men in uniform who drove a certain kind of truck.

Unsurprisingly his first words …

Reusable cotton pads: My first experience

I had been trying to bring changes for a sustainable living for a while now and using reusable cotton pads for Aunt Flo's monthly visits was an idea that appealed massively to my senses. After searching here and there I found a Kolkata based manufacturer- Shomota- who were also involving women from underprivileged background in manufacturing these pads as well as sharing the profit from sales to make these pads available to girls and women in interiors of West Bengal. BONUS point- I have also come to realise that sustainability is more efficient and worthwhile if you choose local. Also the fact that we are dumping non biodegradable waste on the planet and that is equal to some sort of violence in my head and I have been brought up on the beliefs laid by the Arya Samaj movement, I needed a better option than the mass marketed sanitary pads. I looked and examined a few option that I realised were available to me before making up my mind on the reusable cloth pad.

Why I chose cloth p…

Of new resolutions and newer authors

The year has started on the right note. I have already read two authors whom I had not read before falling hard for the one being hailed as Japanese Steig Larrson- Keigo Hagashino.
That is what got me thinking about new year resolutions  (I know we are done with the first quarter) which I haven't made in years. So here is a list of authors that I would like to sample this year.
1. Manu Joseph
2. Pico Iyer
3. Anthony Horowitz
4. Margret Atwood
5. Toni Morrison
6. Chimamanda Adichie
7. Jo Nesbo
8. Neil Gaiman
9. Terry Pratchett 10. Alice Munro/  Walker
But I also realise the futility of making a list like this as there are just so many authors, poets, writers and just so many works coming to fore everyday. A book group might help, you would think but let me tell you that it complicates things further. New recommendations, fantastic and not so fantastic reviews, pictures, blog posts and what not really makes matter well,complicated.
All said and done, it is but human to try and so…