Book Review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (4/5)

34728667They 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.

This book is great! The fantastical setting is rich in lore and magic and ritual. The writing is great – Adeyemi keeps the story moving.

Children of Blood and Bone is an epic fantasy, full of exotic locations, rich culture, and steep prejudice again those born with magical blood. Zélie, her brother Tzain, and the princess Amari must travel across the land, dodging the royal guards and soldiers, discover the lost artifacts of magic, and make it to the temple in time to bring magic back – for it was cut from the world by the king.

This book had a rich world, steady world building, and a main character full of fear and bravery and fire.

But.

Yeah, I know, there’s a “but.”

The story dragged. We switched POV characters and some scenes were repeated solely to gauge the other character’s reaction to it. The level of violence was a bit steeper than I would have liked, and that violence felt like a pushing point for the plot. We kept meeting new characters only to have them die only to make the main character feel guilty about it. That it kept happening annoyed me.

Tzain felt flat and undeveloped. Tzain was only in the story to protect his sister and add drama when Zélie started to develop feelings for Inan, who spent the majority of the story hunting them. I gravitated toward Amari’s story; she rose from “pretty princess with no backbone” to a warrior princess.

There was just so much happening in this book, that I was ready for it to end. By the time I got to the last twenty-five or so pages, I started skimming just to get it over with. I was ready for the story to be over. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good story – it is a very good story and well worth your time if you’re a fantasy reader.

And let’s talk about by biggest beef with this book – Inan and Zélie’s relationship. They hate each other in the beginning, and while I love a good enemies-to-lovers twist, their relationship did not feel organic. They hated each other and then suddenly they meet, he’s obsessed with her, and then they have to work together, and then they’re in love. Within the course of a few chapters. It felt so rushed and forced.

This book was deadly serious. I mean, a little comic relief would have made this book GREAT.

Overall, Children of Blood and Bone gets a 4 out of 5 from me. If you read YA fantasy, I highly recommend this book. Will I be checking out the rest of the series? Oh, yeah. Is it the best thing I’ve ever read? Nah.

 

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