{ Review } Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi + BookCon storytime

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“You crushed us to build your monarchy on the backs of our blood and bone. Your mistake wasn’t keeping us alive. It was thinking we’d never fight back!”

Read in July 2018

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Children of Blood and Bone is a fantasy inspired by Nigerian mythology taking place in the fictional land of Orïsha. In this world some are gifted with magic, they are called ‘maji’ and their hair is white, sign that they were touched by one of the Gods. At their thirteen’s birthday, they would develop a kind of magic depending on the God who touched them. Magic thrived and it used to be celebrated until King Saran, thinking that no one should be that powerful, especially when it could help overthrow him and massacred all the maji on a day that will be remembered as ‘The Raid’. Magic has now disappeared and to be sure that it’ll stay gone forever, descendants of maji (called Divîners since they don’t have any magic left) are oppressed and persecuted if not killed.

Eleven years ago, Zélie witnessed her mother’s death during the maji genocide and the way her body was left on display on the day is carved in her memory. Her mother was a powerful maji making Zélie a Divîner, her powers dormant. She now lives with her father and older brother Tzain the coastal village of Eloirin. All the inhabitant have to pay a Divîner tax which price keeps getting higher or else they would have to end their life as slaves, and this time they don’t have enough money to pay it. After a good catch at fishing, Zélie and Tzain leave to the biggest fish market to trade it.

“Let them taste the terror they make us swallow.”

At the market, they run into Princess Amari, the younger daughter of King Saran who disagrees with her father’s actions and is trying to flee the palace. Guards are chasing her and Zélie and Tzain end up reluctantly helping her escape. Amari is nothing like her father, she eavesdropped on a conversation and heard that magic can be brought back with a missing scroll and she is willing to turn her back on her royal and privileged life to find this powerful artefact to undo the King’s years of persecution. Amari and Zélie are two of the narrators, and the third and last one is Inan. He is Amari’s older brother and future king. He is tasked to chase down and stop his sister. Inan really was a great and layered villain to follow, and having the antagonist perspective was a refreshing change.

I really loved the friendship between Amari and Zélie, it was so gradual and it slowly became the purest and most genuine relationship in this book, their very different upbringings created some prejudices, especially on Zélie’s side, and the way the walls they created to protect themselves came down one by one was heart-warming. And thank’s god their friendship was there because the two love pairings (Zélie/Inan – Amari/Tzain) were ones of the worst cases of insta love I ever witnessed. Character-wise, I felt more interest toward Amari and Inan than I did with Zélie and Tzain, I just think that they faced more interesting struggles and their plot really caught me.

“I won’t let your ignorance silence my pain.”

The world-building so well crafted, we clearly see the West-African heritage and Tomi Adeyemi was clearly inspired by real-life African divinities, beliefs and superstitions. I appreciated the power range going from the most harmless such as taming animals to most dangerous such as controlling people and that was so interesting. Obviously (and thankfully), the whole cast of characters was black and yet the perception of the skin colour had a big importance in this book, how the royals wanted to be as light as possible (and even powder their skin) and how darkness of skin was a sign of poverty it honestly blew my mind.

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*STORYTIME*
Now that my review is officially done, I wanted to address one issue I got when I was supposed to meet Tomi Adeyemi at Bookcon on June 2019. For those of you who don’t know, when you go to Bookcon, you can pick –free- author signings tickets before the show begins, and you know for a fact that you’ll meet the author once you’ve booked a ticket. One of those I chose was Tomi’s signing, and the first thing that bugged me was that when I received my ticket I saw that they asked us to buy a book at the signing booth if we wanted anything signed. Some authors ask you to buy a book some don’t, and I already find the concept kind of weird because if you get a book signed, it’s that you bought it first, one way or the other. Now here’s where things got… weird.

Children of Blood and Bone is a debut novel, so if you go to Tomi’s signing you’ve already read the book which means you most probably already own it (especially if you booked tickets to get it signed to begin with). I still went and thought that maybe I could sell back the copy I already own, and while on the line, a lady came and told us that Tomi wouldn’t personalize the book she signed. I mean that’s kind of rude, all the authors I met, even the famous ones such as Leigh Bardugo or Cassandra Clare personalized at least one book, if not all of them. I was really bothered by the way this was handled, especially since, as I’ve said, Tomi is a debut author, so I left the line and gave my ticket to someone else. I don’t know what you guys think about it, but it kind of disheartened me to read the sequel of this book. If anyone has an explanation on that I’d be happy to hear it.

“You have your duty and your heart. To choose one means the other must suffer.”

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Have you read or will you read this book?
What did you think about it?

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French Book Blogger and avid reader 📚 - YA, Adult, NA, Fantasy, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance -, LGBT & disability rep 🏳️‍🌈, Ravenclaw Potterhead △⃒⃘, English teacher 👩🏼‍🏫 living to travel 🌍, proud mom of Padfoot 🐕 and Juniper 🐈

7 thoughts on “{ Review } Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi + BookCon storytime

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