Disclaimer: I am not a professional book reviewer. This is just for fun. Also, minor spoilers do lie ahead.
This is a book that pulled me in with its cover and kept me in its pages with its story.
I fall in love with the fantasy genre again and again when I find novels rich with world-building, and this could not be more true with Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.
This novel has the classic ingredients of the fantasy genre with a solid magic system, a touch of the mystical, and a journey across an unknown land to the reader. What makes this novel so fantastic is its rich culture and world-building.
Often times, fantasy novels have a familiar taste in the worlds they live in. I admit, even I feel at times the worlds I create are like any other you find in a basic fantasy novel.
Adeyemi does an unbelievable job of blending the real world with her fantasy world of Orïsha, and she uses a part of our world that does not get nearly enough attention.
There is a richness in cultures we do not see our shelves that Adeyemi taps into. The traditions, culture, and mythology of Africa bleed into the world of Orïsha, making it a complete breath of fresh air of all the fantasy stories that seem to pull their page out of a European book.
Now, please do not get me wrong. I still very much love those kinds of fantasy novels. I will never get enough of a good bard inside a busy tavern with elves and dwarves.
However, it is absolutely refreshing to find yourself in a world you are not familiar with. For me, I know very little about the folkish tales and ancient stories of Africa, so reading this book opened my eyes to that unfamiliar world. Despite the fantasy aspect, it made me interested in learning more about African culture and mythology. For a fantasy novel, that’s a wonderful gift Adeyemi could give.
It’s also amazing to see a person of color graced on this cover. The stark contrast of the white flowing hair and the beautiful dark skin of the woman on the cover just pulled me right in. There’s nothing like it on the bookshelves, and I hope it is the first of many in the fantasy genre.
Children of Blood and Bone inspires me to write a novel I’ve always been scared to write. My family is from Colombia in South America, and I can’t tell you how many times they’ve told me to write about life in Colombia. Unfortunately, I’ve been to scared to try, because I just wouldn’t know how.
Adeyemi has given me a reason to try. I would love to write a fantasy novel that, despite all the magic and other-worldly aspects, highlights a culture that does not get enough representation on the shelves. I hope to truly take on that challenge one day.
I am also grateful for this book for all that it has a taught me as a writer. As I work on my trilogy, this book has opened my eyes on how I can improve several parts of my outline.
As I flipped through the pages, I didn’t think things could get worse, but they always did. Although it took me a while to really get into the novel, once I did, I enjoyed every single bit of it.
The character arcs of Zélie and Amari are my absolute favorite. Amari’s transformation inspired me to believe in myself, and Zélie’s fall to rock bottom absolutely destroyed me. Both of their arcs felt like mountains with the highest peaks that I’ve read in a long while.
I will admit, I was not here for Zélie and Inan. I knew from the beginning there was some chemistry, and I was not a fan. Though, I admit, the nickname “little prince” was very cute.
I just felt like it was forced. I just kept thinking, “Okay, obvious love interest, here we go.”
So, I was actually quite glad to see where they ended up, because I was not expecting it. Adeyemi really played with my emotions here, but you know what? That’s her job as a writer, and she did it well.
Side note, I was definitely shipping Amari and Tzain from the start. Their subtle romance just blossoms as the story develops, and I loved every second of it. ❤
As for the villains’ side, I was immediately intrigued by Inan. I love that though he starts as a villain, he develops into a, for lack of a better term, human. So, when I got to the end and saw the decisions he made, even I was sincerely conflicted with how to feel about him.
King Saran is a fantastic villain. He is cold to his core, but with a solid reasoning, and that makes a far more developped villain than most.
I could honestly go on about this book forever, but I will end with this. From the magic system to the land of Orïsha, this book genuinely has everything.
Though a solid book with over 500 pages, it’s not dense. It doesn’t drag. It has suspense, and it breathes new life into an established genre.
I am so glad to have picked this book up, and I am so excited to dive back into its world with the sequel.
I would also like to acknowledge Adeyemi’s author’s note in her book. She used her voice to bring attention to police brutality against the black community, and that is something to be admired. It highlights an idea I’ve always loved about fantasy: that it is hardly an escape from reality, rather it is a way of understanding reality.
With 10/10 lionaires, I highly recommend this book to any who want to explore a familiar world through the lens of fantasy.