Children of Blood and Bone
This book deserves all the hype it got. Touted as "black lives inspired fantasy," given comparisons to Black Panther and Game of Thrones, Adeyemi's Children of Blood and Bone is magnificent.
Set in a land called Orïsha, loosely based in West African traditions, the book follows four protagonists. Orïsha used to have magic — until an anti-magic king came along, tearing magic from the land and killing all the majis (magic people) above the age of 13. In Orïsha, the majis are marked by their white hair, and typically their magic awakens at age 13 (before their magic is awakened, they're called divîners.) But there are no more majis in Orïsha.
Enter Zélie, the daughter of a maji, who accidenatlly saves Princess Amari, the daughter of the king. Amari stole a scroll from her father that can transform divîners into maji; alongside Zélie and her brother Tzain, they go on a quest to bring magic back. It's a pretty straightforward Y.A. fantasy novel, but it's radical in how it is also an allegory for the modern black experience. Adeyemi explores racism, police brutality, legacies of slavery, and more — but does it through this magical tale. Adeyemi explained to the Guardian, "Every moment of violence in the book is based on real footage...It’s not my intention to be gratuitous but I want people to be aware that these things are happening and that the actual videos are much worse."
The tagline of the book hints at the radicalness: "They killed my mother. They took our magic. They tried to bury us. Now we rise." Children of Blood and Bone already is advertised as part of a planned trilogy (and a movie deal is already secured). As Adeyemi told Entertainment Weekly, her mission is: “Write a story that’s so good and so black that everyone’s going to have to read it — even if they’re racist.”
In an article titled "Is Tomi Adeyemi the next J.K. Rowling," the writer explains, "You can see the rigor of its author’s methods on every page. The world-building is meticulous, its boundaries precise. This is how Adeyemi operates — thoroughly. And it’s why her book is such an earth shaker. Her social commentary is bolstered by a mythology so fleshed out and immersive that thousands of readers are basking in Orïsha the way they used to (and still) bask in Hogwarts."
Adeyemi's Children of Blood and Bone already is advertised as part of a planned trilogy (and a movie deal is already secured). As Adeyemi told Entertainment Weekly, her mission is: “Write a story that’s so good and so black that everyone’s going to have to read it — even if they’re racist.”
I enjoyed Children of Blood and Blone for four reasons: amazing world building (I am a sucker for a well-fleshed out fantasy world), the action was well plotted, the love interests WORK (and there's no love triangle, the bane of YA fiction recently), and it the story was something different. Fresh and engaging and eye-opening.
Get the book here: https://amzn.to/2xgbaKP