Book Review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi #1

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.