Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone

eBook - 2018
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Seventeen-year-old Zélie, her older brother Tzain, and rogue princess Amari fight to restore magic to the land and activate a new generation of magi, but they are ruthlessly pursued by the crown prince, who believes the return of magic will mean the end of the monarchy.
Publisher: New York : Henry Holt and Company, 2018
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781250170989
Characteristics: 1 online resource (531 pages)
Alternative Title: Children of blood & bone

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May 03, 2018

I have been anticipating this book for roughly a year. There was an incredible amount of hype around this book for a quite some time.

Of course, people tend to get nervous when books are so hyped up. Will what you're finally reading live up to expectations? Will it not? Will it be slow to start, derailing some, before it takes off? Will there be a moment where you think to yourself 'oh no' before it immediately takes a turn for the worst? Hype can sometimes be a bad thing, setting the book up to be more than it could ever hope to achieve. 'Children of Blood and Bone' was not that book for me, it lives up to every expectation I had. A book with these characters and this plot was so very needed, I loved every moment of it.

The characters were incredible - their struggles, their grief, their anguish, their decisions were above and beyond in terms of relatability, realism, and emotion. The fantasy genre is my bread and butter, I adore it, and this story (this upcoming trilogy) is a beautiful addition to it. I can't wait to see what this will help inspire going forward because it absolutely is inspiring.

Now we rise.

Apr 28, 2018

I'd been anticipating this book for months. I was thrilled when I finally got my hands on it at the library! Unfortunately, I finished it feeling rather underwhelmed.

First, the positive. The world-building was fantastic. Adeyemi has created a truly unique system of magic. It's refreshing to see a story based in a fictionalized West Africa (Orïsha), where every character is a person of color. We need more of this! I also loved the friendship between Zélie and Amari, which develops in a very believable way. The plot follows a fairly typical hero's journey. Despite being told from multiple points of view, this is very much Zélie's story.

Ultimately, I found the book too long. I'm a fast reader and I struggled through it. I think it would benefit from being at least 150 pages shorter, especially since it is the first in a trilogy. I also didn't care for the romance between Zélie and Inan. I'm not one to cringe at romance, but their chemistry wasn't there for me and I felt it distracted from the overarching plot. This seems to happen often in YA fantasy!

Apr 27, 2018

Told from the alternate viewpoints of the main characters, this immersive fantasy series is a much-needed breath of fresh air in a genre that has long stagnated from the constant reuse of tales set in Medieval Europe. Instead, Adayemi has crafted an engrossing adventure, wherein characters of color are featured as integral figures, rather than assuming stereotypical periphery roles. The world-building and lore of this novel realm--Orïsha--are also derived from West African culture. Moreover, the interweaving of classic fantasy themes, like magic, and the contemporary Black Lives Matter movement, makes for a powerful, moving read. Adayemi's debut series will most certainly trigger a sorely-needed shift in the evolution of modern fantasy.

DCLadults Apr 23, 2018

This was a 4 1/2 rounded to a 5. I loved the story and the passion in the writing, but some of the action scenes could have been better developed, which is what cost it a 5 star rating. I connected with the characters and loved the subtle romance element. The author’s comparison to the African American experience comes through beautifully, but even more, she deftly shows how a conflict can continue to spiral out of control when fear and ignorance are left to rule our actions.

Apr 23, 2018

Highly recommend this read. I loved it and couldn't put it down.

Apr 19, 2018

"When fantasy meets black lives matter."
....The Atlantic magazine, April issue 2018.....

DPLjennyp Apr 06, 2018

Fast and engaging, this YA fantasy sucks you in and doesn't let go. Great read.

Apr 03, 2018

I wanted to love this book--I generally love fantasy novels rooted in traditional Yoruba religion, and sympathize with the author's desire to transpose some of the trauma behind the Black Lives Matter movement. But the book is full of bad movie cliches--painfully trite chase scenes, a rickey jungle bridge that snaps a few steps from the end, and too many characters wearing I'm Destined To Die buttons--and the sheer predictability got to me.

I also had a lot of trouble with the last third of the book, in which several characters change their minds about important topics (often magic) so rapidly that it felt not like character growth, but like plot convenience. Even worse, a brutal torture scene is central to the evil of some characters, but another brutal torture scene is instantly forgiven when the characters decide they're on the same side. It felt very fake.

Parts of the book did emotionally touch me, especially the point in Zelie & Inan's relationship when he has to grapple with his privilege meaning that he'll never understand her, and when she has to confront how much her fear limits her. (And I am generally not a fan of enemy-to-lover plots in YA fantasy, or that relationship.) But the ending felt like it was all action, no emotion, and it didn't make me want to read the sequel.

I know a lot of people will object to the brutality of the violence in a YA book, and I'm torn. The author is clearly channeling some of her own feelings about the repeated murders of black people by police and other authority figures, and I see the value of that. But I found she isn't a good enough writer to pull it off, and that a lot of the deaths felt cheap and predictable, like watching a video game.

The fact is there are much better writers (Sofia Samatar, Helen Oyeyemi, Nnedi Okorafor, Nalo Hopkinson, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Kai Ashante Wilson) writing African-inspired sf&f, and this author needs the skills to bring her ideas to life.

Mar 22, 2018

I started this book because I liked the cover, the map, the blurb inside, and what little I had read. Then I saw "Black Panther." Then I read the rest of the book in two sittings, and started with Nnedi Okorafor's "Who Fears Death."

These are all amazing. The amount of African culture is simply amazing. I feel it is something I, as a European-American am not very aware about, to my own detriment. The absolute wonder of Africa is brought through in "Children of Blood and Bone" (CoBB), and it hints at a larger world, but we don't really care about anything outside (not yet, at least!) because the world of Orisha is grand enough for this adventure!

The magic of the world has been stolen: there are no more maji, leaving only the diviners, who will never be able to express their hidden abilities. Zelie Adebola, her brother, Tzain, some royals (Amari and Inan), and a whole host of characters work to try and bring the magic back into Orisha by restoring the bond between maji and the gods.

PLOT: Amazing: well-balanced and well-written, the book will not disappoint. Told from different points of view, the plot plunges you from one end of the continent to the next, with heart-felt characters and moments that we wish could last forever (alas, the story must go on!)

CHARACTER: Every character, especially Zelie and Inan, experience development, and this too is balanced. Tomi Adeyemi (the author) knows that we don't change on a dime: this does not happen. There are also no glaring "characterization confrontations," where characters say one thing, yet go back on their word repeatedly ("Zenith: The Androma Saga"). I loved the characters, and can't wait to read the sequels/watch the movie (yes! a movie!!!)

ACCURACY: lots of Yoruba is used in this book, with Yoruba being the language spoken in Nigeria (Adeyemi is Nigerian American). Don't worry, most of the translations are provided. Hints of alternate, magical, European empires are present, but they do not play a large role, at all, in the story, and so the plot and accuracy remains focused.

RECOMMENDATION: I loved this book, and I will not stop going on about it to my friends. I think it is an important, yet simultaneously enjoyable read. There are connections made in the book to police violence and that messed up disparity between African American communities and European-American/American communities. I loved this book, and I haven't read something this good in a long time. :))

Mar 11, 2018

How it all started:
"The idea for the novel which would, eventually, be sold in a seven-figure book and movie deal, came to Adeyemi in April of 2016. She had graduated from Harvard with a degree in English the year prior, and was working as a data analyst in Los Angeles. One morning before work, she spotted an illustration of a Black girl with bright green hair on Pinterest, and couldn’t get the image out of her head. “It was so epic,” she told me, still speaking fondly of the image that incited her on her own epic two-year journey, and counting. Adeyemi walked around showing the photo to coworkers, and was dismayed they didn’t see the magic she did.
“They were like okay, let’s get back to work. But I was like, how can any of us work? I’ve gotten ideas from pictures before, but this was the first time I was so captivated. I was like, who is this girl. What is her story? What is a day in her life like? I couldn't get it out my head,” she said. Adeyemi would have to answer these questions herself.
That evening, after bouncing ideas around on the phone with her boyfriend, Adeyemi established the skeleton of the book. The girl would be a fisherman’s daughter, who would meet a rogue princess in a marketplace, and be dragged into an adventure. The rest, she said, proceeded in a “series of explosions.” When her coworkers left the office at the end of the day, Adeyemi would stick around for another four, five, or six hours, writing the story."


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