*Confession* I love Harry Potter, The Twilight Saga and anything else remotely magical; Lord Of The Rings I see youuuuuu. So when I heard that there was a BLACK fantasy novel I found my way to Foyles and scoured the ‘teen’ section with more enthusiasm than anyone in their 30’s should’ve shown. I knew I had to read it and more importantly, I knew I wanted to tell you about it.
Why was I so excited? Well, a lot, if not all of the fantasy literature I have read just isn’t from the perspective of people of colour. That’s why this novel; Children Of Blood And Bone (first published in 2018 and Tomi Adeyemi’s debut) struck a chord with me before I even got past the second chapter. It also lends a lot of its language from Yoruba, which is from the Nigerian tribe that my family originates. It is so rare that in literature, and especially this specific genre: someone like me would feel so seen and for that, I approached this book with a bias that I wont even try to deny.
“This story moves at a pace that will leave you behind if you do not pay attention to each word”
Tomi’s debut book landed with a bang and I decided to wait for the dust to settle and the hype to cool before I read it. Simply because it is nearly impossible for ANYTHING to live up to the kind of social media hype that this book got when it was first published. I was really worried that with all of the noise surrounding this titles release there was just no way it could live up to the expectations.
The bones of the story are very familiar. An insecure, potentially inferior ruling class that uses force, violence and fear to oppress the inherently more powerful lower class, who are also the darker skinned of the two. It’s a story we have seen in literature and in real life for centuries and the premise of this book is that magic is alive, or at least it used to be. There are certain people (the Maji) who are blessed in the magical arts and this is not ok with the regular shmegular people (the Kosidán)
This story follows our heroine Zélie Adebola as she attempts to restore magic to the kingdom of Orïsha, magic which was killed years before along with her mother and the Gods that the Maji people held dear. The Gods that provided the magic that disappeared one terrible night. Yes it is a coming of age tale, as many young-adult titles are. It is the characters, the culture and the clear research that has gone into this book that sets it apart from other novels of the same ilk.
This story moves at a pace that will leave you behind if you do not pay attention to each word, after-all it is building an entirely new world and with that comes a certain amount of confusion. Am I entirely confident that I know what a Lionaire looks like? No. Does the magic make all that much sense to me? Not quite. Easy to read? Yes. Enjoyable? Oh 100% and that is why I am awarding this book 4 worms out of 5.
I am yet to read the rest of the story (Children of Virtue and Vengeance is out now) but I am looking forward to getting back to the kingdom of Orïsha and seeing how my new friends are holding up.