17 April, 2018

[Review] Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Series: Children of OrÏsha #1
Release Date: 06 March, 2018
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co - Macmillan Publishers
Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Fairy Tales & Folklore / Social & Family Issues / Prejudice & Racism / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Sword & Sorcery
ISBN: 9781427295507
Edition: Audiobook
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Written: 20 March, 2018
Summary: They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

See more by Tomi Adeyemi at her Website.

I’d seen ads for this book since November of last year. That might be a slight exaggeration, but it was definitely around by December. And I have to say that it definitely lived up to the hype from all the ads. To preface, I have limited knowledge of the Yoruba religion and therefore cannot accurately state whether or not it’s accurately represented in this novel or not.

In the opening portions of the book we’re introduced to Zélie, a young diviner who craves to have her magic back. She craves revenge against the kosidán, especially the royalty who killed her maji mother and left them all without magic. As she starts out a battle against a kosidán girl named Yemi in her training sessions, Zélie tries to focus all of her rage into winning the match to graduate in Mama Agba’s class. This class ends up interrupted by crooked guards who have come to demand more taxes against the diviners. Though Zélie’s mouth gets her in trouble with the guards, the true issue arises when Zélie’s older brother Tzain who appears to alert her to danger with their father. It’s established early on that Zélie tends to make a large amount of mistakes, partly due to her constant anger and rage at the kosidán who make the lives of diviners worse. Of these mistakes, she feels them wholeheartedly as her brother always seems to be cleaning them up behind her.

In order to meet the guards demands for more taxes, Zélie and Tzain end up heading for the marketplace in Lagose to sell a fish. Though she is successful in selling the fish for a hefty sum of 500 gold pieces, Zélie ends up caught in the crown princess Amari’s escape from the palace. Amari, having just stolen a scroll that can bring back magic to diviners and transform them into maji they were supposed to be. Slowly, Zélie becomes more entangled with Amari though she struggles with the concept of dealing with a kosidán princess who knows nothing of the outside world. Tzain is also dragged into the mix when the pair return Mama Agba’s powers of foresight. The trio set out for the holy place of the maji to perform the ritual to bring back magic. Unfortunately things continue to go awry for Zélie as they’re being pursued by Inan, the crown prince and Amari’s brother.

The book follows their struggles, dealing with the death of those who try to help them, Zélie trying to come to terms with her new powers, and her connection with Inan who has awakened as a maji of the mind. The story becomes an intricate dance between Inan and Zélie at points, with her feelings switching between love and hate multiple times along with his.

Readers will be enthralled by the magic and struggle of the characters, latching on and clinging to every word. Choices and words spoken have consequences, and nothing speaks louder than the actions one takes to follow their heart and their desires. Readers will be left wanting more as the book closes out with a new dire mystery for everyone involved and Zélie’s choice might affect more of the population than she originally thinks.

Though I cannot completely identify with the characters, I loved this book. It’s mystery and magic were captivating and I cried multiple times during the story, raged with Zélie at the injustice of life, and hoped for multiple things to work out for the better. I look forward to reading the next book in the series whenever it should arrive.


  1. a little sad that you didnt' connect with the characters ..good that you liked the other parts

    1. In fairness, I did connect with them on one level, however I don't feel that anything I've experienced in my life can meet the level of pain that Zelie and her companions feel throughout the book. Still, it was a lovely book and I keep encouraging everyone I know to read it.