Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha #1)
by Tomi Adeyemi
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.
Source: I borrowed a digital copy from my library
Children of Blood and Bone was one of the most disappointing books I’ve read this year. I It was incredibly overhyped, in my opinion, and my expectations were fairly high after seeing so much praise from other readers.
I borrowed the book from my library digitally and had been on the hold list for quite some time. It took me the entire 3 week time frame to finally finish it, which is saying something when I can normally finish a book within a couple of days. I almost DNFed the book at least a dozen times, only slogging through it because I had waited to read it and I knew if I returned it, it would be another few months before I could pick it back up again.
The book was very slow and underdeveloped. The characters weren’t very well fleshed out, making it difficult to care about their dire circumstances. There were different POVs from first person narration and all of them had the same voice. If I was reading, put the book down mid chapter, and picked it back up, I had to go back to the chapter heading just to figure out who was narrating or try to pick up some context clues, because aside from their immediate surroundings, there was little difference between each POV. This is a huge pet peeve of mine and I don’t understand why authors don’t embrace third person narration if they can’t seem to get their character’s voices right.
I felt that Children of Blood and Bone was a mediocre YA fantasy novel full of the same awful tropes that seem to dominate the genre sometimes. Awful romance pairings, flat characters, repetitive writing, and the same story arc that I’ve seen so many times despite the unique setting and cast of characters. The book was incredibly long, yet it lacked world and character building. I almost feel as if this a big experiment to see if authors and publishers can get away with producing mediocre YA novels with simplistic themes if the marketing is right, but it’s probably more correct to say that some books just do well with the right marketing and others don’t and it’s probably difficult to even predict how it will go.
The only real positives that were brought to the table were the diverse cast of characters, the fact that the story wasn’t Euro-centric, that the author herself is from Nigeria, and the book itself is inspired by Nigerian mythology. I do understand why the own-voices movement exists and I’m glad to see more authors springing up from various backgrounds writing unique fiction, but it’s just unfortunate that it’s the only positive thing I can say about the book. (It is also quite disappointing to see so many reviews on Goodreads from Nigerian readers who claim she didn’t even get the mythology right.)
Reviewing books is sometimes difficult because it’s so subjective. I’ve admittedly given terrible books lots of stars because it was thoroughly entertaining or I could ignore some of the negatives. Other times, I’ve given wonderful books less stars because I expected more from it or something about it bothered me. I think perhaps this is one of those books that is important due to the audience craving a point of view they can relate to and understand and could perhaps be a part of something bigger, when publishers are actually attempting to give rise to more voices in fiction. This can be a breath of fresh air for some readers and perhaps that’s why it received the praise that it did. For me, there was nothing about the book that overcame my problems with it, so I can’t rate it highly.