The first time I heard of Tomi Adeyemi was through a video of her interview on Good Morning America that was sent to my high school whatsapp group where she talked about the seven-figure book advance and movie deal she secured(secured the bag). I remember saying to myself that day, “I’m definitely gonna read this book”. Fast forward to May, 2018 The Children of Blood and Bone was gifted to me.
The creator of a mythical land called Orïsha, Tomi taps into an imaginative lineage as she merges West African mythology into a world that resonates with reality. Orïsha was once a kingdom of magic. The people that could use magic are called “magi’ such as Zélie’s mother who could raise the dead and control elements and others who could control air, water, light, heal, read minds and so on. One night, magic deserted them and the magi were brutally murdered by a tyrannical king. Zélie is left to mourn not only her mother, but the birthright of magic lost to her. She remained a divîner after she turned thirteen like the others but with a desire to get back what was hers. An unforeseen encounter with the princess sends her on a journey that will give her the chance to restore magic back to Orïsha.
Zélie’s journey is filled with so many hiccups as is expected. Her character is portrayed as a young girl who is forced to be a grown-up, fight for survival and was chosen to lead her people out of the blue. She had to step up to the task unwillingly with her fears hidden. Her brother Tzain, is the expected big brother who is always by her side to keep her safe admist her stubbornness. In the time of every life matters, the characters in the book reflect the personal struggles we go through; the desire to be seen, heard and recognized.
I’m a huge fan of YA and the book is that with a mix of fantasy and adventure(Harry Potter fan). I mean, who doesn’t love some magic???? I read the book on a weekend and after reading the first chapter, I was hooked. It’s one of those impressive stories that the more you read, the more it becomes important to you. The story was told by three characters and it has an intense progression. It’s not the kind of book you drop and get back to, you want to know what will happen every step of the way.
One of the things I felt was unnecessary (because this is a review) was Zélie’s love story. The destruction committed by her love interest was too significant for her to fall in love with him, spiritually/mind reader or not. I absolutely felt there was no need for her to be paired up at all. The love story I was really hoping for was that of her brother and the princess. That is a story I look forward to reading in Book 2(I can’t help it, I’m a fan of young love/ love). I also didn’t like the black magic bit and that white hair was the defining distinctions of majis. I just couldn’t imagine young black people with white hair. I can’t wait to see how this plays out in the movie.
Children of Blood and Bone had representations of Nigeria especially Yoruba culture in terms of names, city names and Yoruba beliefs. I was surprised that the heroine’s name isn’t Yoruba and that of her brother, the prince and the princess too. However, I liked that the author included the culture and brought the book home to her roots. Some Nigerians may dislike the inaccurate representation of these things but I didn’t mind because the book is fiction.
Tomi Adeyemi brought magic to life in this book and I couldn’t help but visualize the story as a movie. I like that it was unpredictable. There were so many unexpected twists and turns. It’s a mix of Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, Maze Runner and The Divergent Series with a splash of magic.
Would I recommend you read this book???
Yes, all 532 pages.
Why? To inspire you to dream big, challenge yourself, be true to yourself and be the change the world needs.
Have you read the book??? I would appreciate your thoughts if you have. If you haven’t read it, I would like to know if I just convinced you to.