Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
After witnessing her mother’s murder, Zelie is left in a world where she is an outcast. Years ago the king of Orïsha ordered that all maji—people endowed with magical powers from the gods—be killed and as the maji died, so did magic. When the king’s daughter, Amari, steals a scroll that brings back these magical powers, she fortuitously runs into Zelie and her brother, Tzain, and the three of them begin a quest to bring back magic. As they struggle to find the other artifacts necessary to perform the magic-saving spell, they are hunted down by Amari’s brother, Inan, who isn’t quite sure about how he feels about magic or his newfound powers. The closer they get to success, the harder it is to know what is right and whether or not their quest will benefit society.
Children of Blood and Bone has a lot to live up to. Prior to its release the movie rights had already been purchased, and critics were saying it was bound to be the best book of the year. In certain ways it lives up to the hype, but in others it falls just short of the outstanding marker. The story is complex, intriguing, and moves along at break-neck speed. While the pacing of the book makes for an easy and quick read, the author sacrifices real character development and understanding of their motives. Amari certainly changes the most throughout the book, and her path from spoiled princess to brave warrior is inspiring. But characters like Inan and Zelie change their opinions on issues so quickly that sometimes it isn’t realistic or believable. The author purposely wrote the book as a response to police brutality and race relations, and she successfully makes her point without compromising the story. All in all, this book is an excellent debut novel, but certain parts of the story leave the reader confused and lost.
*Contains mild language, mild sexual content, and moderate violence.