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Children of Blood and Bone: The Orisha Legacy 01 (Legacy of Orisha) Paperback – 8 Mar 2018
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Black Girl Magic indeed! It's no surprise that this epic trilogy opener has already been optioned for film. Full of cinematic action sequences (the most memorable of them set underwater and employing an army of the dead) and creatures worthy of Star Wars (horse-sized 'lionaires' have saber teeth and horns), it storms the boundaries of imagination. Yet it also confronts the conscience. Adeyemi's brutally depicted war between the noble, lighter-skinned kosidans, and the enslaved, darker-skinned majis poses thought-provoking questions about race, class, and authority that hold up a warning mirror to our sharply divided society. (The New York Times)
Infused with rich mythology of west Africa, Adeyemi’s lush world-building and consummate plotting breathes new life into a YA fantasy epic. Themes of oppression and racism resonate all too strongly in today’s political climate. The cliffhanger ending may leave some readers reeling but, rest assured, this is first in a trilogy. (Observer)
Epic fantasy YA debut of magic and war. (Guardian)
Tomi Adeyemi has created a lush, vibrant world, full of legend and lore, more than enough to sate even the most ravenous fantasy fan. She deserves special commendation for steering away from the creatures so often shoe-horned into fantasy novels, and instead creating her own magical beasts, who fit seamlessly into the narrative. There are swoony moments, shocking moments, terrifying moments, and heartbreaking moments. It's a masterful debut, and one many readers will adore. (Melinda Salisbury, author Sin Eater’s Daughter)
This highly anticipated fantasy novel earned its 23-year-old Nigerian-American author a seven-figure deal. The first instalment of a three-part young adult trilogy, it draws on African myth and folklore and was reportedly inspired by the Black Lives Matters movement. The film rights were snapped up before the book was even published. (Irish Independent)
In one of the most highly-anticipated fantasy releases this year, Tomi Adeyemi spins a luxe tale of magic, adventure, and forbidden love. Zélie lives in a world once ruled by magic, but mass-murders decreed by a new king have all but stamped her people out, and she has a narrow window to bring the magic of her lands back to life. Fans of Leigh Bardugo and Game of Thrones will gobble this up. (BuzzFeed)
Epic in scale and size… it’s a whirlwind read thanks to immersive world-building, powerful characters and ferocious plotting. Themes of prejudice and oppression are particularly poignant in the current political climate. (The Bookseller)
The Harry Potter I should have had. (MostlyLit Podcast)
All our bookselling instincts tell us Children of Blood and Bone is a book apart. Posted to YouTube, author Tomi Adeyemi’s surge of tearful joy at seeing her debut in the flesh instantly went viral, lending something very real and important to the long journey of her novel finally finding print. This is a tale brimming with courage, injustice, magic and star-crossed love, as young Zélie comes to terms with the extraordinary gifts she has been forced to keep hidden and the revenge that burns in her heart. With sweeping, prescient themes of race and heritage, Children of Blood and Bone is poised to be the breakout YA hit of 2018. (Waterstones Loves)
This year’s big fantasy breakout... [an] epic story of family, love and magic. (Stylist)
Magic can burn, turn tides, light the darkness and bring back the dead. But magic is gone. So one girl must bring it back in the first in a gripping fantasy trilogy.See all Product description
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I also felt that the story's message was pretty poignant. It presented a world where an entire group of people have been down-trodden for years - stripped of their right to defend themselves and treated like second-class citizens in their own country - which is certainly something that resonates with the politics of today. However, it also does a great job of showing that this isn't so clear cut. The maji and the kosidán are both guilty of terrible crimes in this story and the novel makes clear that there will never be an easy peace between the two races. While there are good and bad people in the novel, there are also a lot of shades of grey and terrible situations that move their hands.
In terms of structure, the novel flows well and I certainly never got bored despite its length. Adeyemi's writing is very evocative and easy to read. However, it should be noted that the print edition has a very small font. If you have any visual impairment, I'd suggest buying an eBook of this novel. While I did love every minute of reading it, there were a few small things that frustrated me. The main one was the ending, as the novel broke off on a very abrupt cliffhanger which left a lot hanging for the sequel. The story also felt a lot like Avatar: The Last Airbender. If you've watched this excellent cartoon, you will recognise a number of characters and plot points that were lifted directly from this series.
In terms of character, I also had a few issues. On the whole, I loved the core cast. They were all very complicated characters who learned and developed through their experiences as the novel progressed. Zélie learned to not see the world in black and white, Amari found her courage and Inan was forced to choose between his duty to the throne or the people he would one day rule. However, the characters were all wildly indecisive. I appreciate that they were in a difficult situation, but Inan in particular would flip back and forth between wanting to destroy magic and protect it at a drop of a hat.
There were also a couple of romances in the story that felt really shoehorned in. After taking half the book to trust Amari, Zélie forgave and developed feelings for Inan within a couple of chapters. The relationship between Amari and Tzain also felt forced. They exchanged smiles a couple of times and then seemed to become a couple out of nowhere. Neither of these relationships felt very natural and I felt they could probably have been saved for a later story.
Anyhow, on the whole this is a really promising start to the series and, despite my issues, I would definitely recommend it. I am really excited to see what adventures the sequel will hold.
Why did it have to end there?! This is serious Book Hangover material. BE WARNED. Sometimes I think publishing a series one book at a time should be outlawed.
What a read. What a cast! What a great story. This is one of the best books I've read in years - I think the series is going to be incredible. It is such a beautiful celebration of African culture, love, family and the unerring belief in doing the right thing. It is also a novel filled with unexpected twists and turns. I never knew how each chapter was going to end, never mind the whole story.
We meet Zélie when she is competing in a fighting competition. She's bold, stubborn and has a vein of anger running beneath her veins, along with the crushed remnants of her maji heritage. Crushed, because magic was wiped out years ago, during a brutal massacre called The Raid. Zélie's mother was murdered during this same massacre, and now she fights so she will never have to suffer that same fate.
The first chapter had me hooked, and I was perfectly happy to read a novel focused on this fighting competiton. But that's not the story Adeyemi wanted to tell. Within a few chapters, Zélie has left that world completely behind her, after running into Amari, a princess who has escaped the palace with a relic which has the ability to bring back magic.
The tale which ensues is thrilling. Adeyemi writes her characters with so much depth, so many emotions bubbling to the surface, that the reader can't help but become embroiled in the narrative. It certainly helpes that the novel is written from the perspective of our 4 main characters: Zélie, her brother Tzain, Amari and her brother Inan. Each character is clearly defined, different from the others and motivated by their own, detailed backstories.
There is a strong thread of family running through the entire novel, which resonates with me as I'm one of four siblings. There is nothing more important than family for keeping you grounded, telling you when you've messed up, and lifing you up when you've done something well. Children of Blood and Bone is a true celebration of family, and it was a truly enjoyable read.
I cannot wait to find out what happens next.
P.S. This novel has been optioned for film release - if you're someone like me who loves to read the book first, get in there quick!
The POV shifts between three main characters: Zélie, Amari, Inan. The plot is fast-paced and intense with only a few areas of let up, so be prepared for a roller-coaster of a read. The story covers oppression, genocide, racial control, and many other ills that ail the real world. Having said that, it doesn't read like an allegory but as true fantasy.
The characters come to life, and while they have moments of immaturity, this only makes them more real based on the ages they're supposed to be. I would expect older teens to swing between childishness and adult maturity. In a way, this aspect lends the tale an element of coming-of-age as well as the other points mentioned. From page one, the characterisation and scene-setting pulled me right in.
While the ending is a bit of a cliff-hanger, the storyline does round up a lot of loose threads. However, this is not a stand-alone novel. This is the first ever book I've bought just because of its trailer. That led me to Amazon's look inside feature, and from there, I never had a choice! I can't wait for book 2 to be released in 2019. I can't recommend it highly enough.
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