“It doesn’t matter how strong I get, how much power my magic wields. They will always hate me in this world.”
I should start by saying, I’d been dying to get my hands on this book for months! I know, I know. Hyped books. But this one called out to me. And JUST LOOK AT THAT COVER!!! It’s stunning! Even with the hype, and the gorgeous cover, when Holly announced this was the March #grishabuddyread, I was determined to stay on schedule and not read ahead. Yeah….. that didn’t quite work out…..
Children Of Blood And Bone is exquisite. Simply put. From the very beginning, you are pulled into the rich and tragic history of the land of Orisha. A land that used to have a direct connection to the Gods, through the magic of the diviners. Ten great Maji Clans, each with their own power according to the God they connected with. Until a ruthless King destroyed magic and killed the Maji who could wield it.
Zelie remembers the time of magic. She remembers the powers her mother once had. She remembers how helpless she felt when the guards carried her away. She remembers seeing her body in the tree, left as a reminder for all to see.
“Even in the darkest of times the gods are always there. Whether we acknowledge them or not, they always have a plan.”
In this new world, a world without magic, the King’s guards call Diviners ‘maggots’. They raise taxes arbitrarily until families with Diviners in them are forced to sell them to the stocks. Where they work until the debt is paid off. Or death comes. Guess which one wins the most?
Through chance, Zelie runs into Amari, desperately fleeing the guards, scared for her life. Except, this isn’t just any girl. She’s the princess. Just like that, a new path opens before them both. A path that offers a chance to bring magic back once and for all. With the crown prince relentlessly chasing them, determined to eradicate magic, Zelie must learn to control her powers or lose them forever.
“Magic doesn’t give us peace. It only gives us a fighting chance.”
There is so much to love in this book! SO MUCH! Zelie is an amazing protagonist. She is strong, determined, and yes, powerful. But she struggles with the fear of unleashing magic into the wrong hands as much as she fights to ensure that magic survives the Kings plans. She is full of doubt and hope, each conflicting with the other, in a way that makes her feel very real to me.
As much as I loved Zelie though, let’s take a moment to talk about Amari. Because, girl! Trained as a child to fight, Amari is still full of fear. And doubt. She sees the right path, took it when she knew it would make her life forfeit. She acts even when she’s terrified. And who she becomes? Let’s just say we all need to channel a little more Amari in our lives.
“He wants to believe that playing by the monarchy’s rules will keep us safe, but nothing can protect us when those rules are rooted in hate.”
There are some powerful messages written throughout this book. The poison of hate, how ideology and belief can be so damaging. The questions of power, not just how to gain it or keep it, but how to fight it. Each characters struggles with their own views, whether to fight hate with peace, or throw the hate back at them. Rather than stick with one perspective though, characters change as their experiences shape them.
Adeyemi does such a phenomenal job of highlighting how fear of people who are different, fear of being powerless in the face of great power, propels these beliefs forward, cementing them in the core of the society. The discussion of power and fear is immense, and is really the heart of the story. Diviners fear the King for his power over them. The King fears Diviners for the power they might yield over people without magic. The story shows us over and over: fear creates hate. In all directions.
“We are all children of blood and bone. All instruments of vengeance and virtue.”
Children Of Blood And Bone is impressive in every possible way. It is epic in scope. Rich in detail and history. Mesmerizing and addictive, it was a book that despite it’s length (525 pages) I could not put it down and read over the span of several hours. After finishing and letting the words sink in, I still don’t feel that I can do this book justice. It’s a book about magic. It’s composed in a world of fantasy. But that doesn’t change the very real things this book raises. To take from the Author’s Note at the end:
“Although riding giant lionaires and performing sacred rituals might be in the realm of fantasy, all the pain, fear, sorrow, and loss in this book is real.”
And you’ll feel them all.
Children Of Blood And Bone was published March 6. Be sure to hop over to GOODREADS for more reviews, and links to all your favorite retailers. This is a book you won’t want to miss!