Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone

Book - 2018
Average Rating:
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"Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and 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 the enemy."--
Publisher: New York : Henry Holt and Company, [2018]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781250170972
1250170974
Branch Call Number: Adeyemi, T
ADEYEMI T
Characteristics: 531 pages ; 24 cm

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singidunum_25
Apr 19, 2018

"When fantasy meets black lives matter."
....The Atlantic magazine, April issue 2018.....

DPLjennyp Apr 06, 2018

Fast and engaging, this YA fantasy sucks you in and doesn't let go. Great read.

l
lostintheshelves
Apr 03, 2018

I wanted to love this book--I generally love fantasy novels rooted in traditional Yoruba religion, and sympathize with the author's desire to transpose some of the trauma behind the Black Lives Matter movement. But the book is full of bad movie cliches--painfully trite chase scenes, a rickey jungle bridge that snaps a few steps from the end, and too many characters wearing I'm Destined To Die buttons--and the sheer predictability got to me.

I also had a lot of trouble with the last third of the book, in which several characters change their minds about important topics (often magic) so rapidly that it felt not like character growth, but like plot convenience. Even worse, a brutal torture scene is central to the evil of some characters, but another brutal torture scene is instantly forgiven when the characters decide they're on the same side. It felt very fake.

Parts of the book did emotionally touch me, especially the point in Zelie & Inan's relationship when he has to grapple with his privilege meaning that he'll never understand her, and when she has to confront how much her fear limits her. (And I am generally not a fan of enemy-to-lover plots in YA fantasy, or that relationship.) But the ending felt like it was all action, no emotion, and it didn't make me want to read the sequel.

I know a lot of people will object to the brutality of the violence in a YA book, and I'm torn. The author is clearly channeling some of her own feelings about the repeated murders of black people by police and other authority figures, and I see the value of that. But I found she isn't a good enough writer to pull it off, and that a lot of the deaths felt cheap and predictable, like watching a video game.

The fact is there are much better writers (Sofia Samatar, Helen Oyeyemi, Nnedi Okorafor, Nalo Hopkinson, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Kai Ashante Wilson) writing African-inspired sf&f, and this author needs the skills to bring her ideas to life.

t
Tauriel
Mar 22, 2018

I started this book because I liked the cover, the map, the blurb inside, and what little I had read. Then I saw "Black Panther." Then I read the rest of the book in two sittings, and started with Nnedi Okorafor's "Who Fears Death."

These are all amazing. The amount of African culture is simply amazing. I feel it is something I, as a European-American am not very aware about, to my own detriment. The absolute wonder of Africa is brought through in "Children of Blood and Bone" (CoBB), and it hints at a larger world, but we don't really care about anything outside (not yet, at least!) because the world of Orisha is grand enough for this adventure!

The magic of the world has been stolen: there are no more maji, leaving only the diviners, who will never be able to express their hidden abilities. Zelie Adebola, her brother, Tzain, some royals (Amari and Inan), and a whole host of characters work to try and bring the magic back into Orisha by restoring the bond between maji and the gods.

PLOT: Amazing: well-balanced and well-written, the book will not disappoint. Told from different points of view, the plot plunges you from one end of the continent to the next, with heart-felt characters and moments that we wish could last forever (alas, the story must go on!)

CHARACTER: Every character, especially Zelie and Inan, experience development, and this too is balanced. Tomi Adeyemi (the author) knows that we don't change on a dime: this does not happen. There are also no glaring "characterization confrontations," where characters say one thing, yet go back on their word repeatedly ("Zenith: The Androma Saga"). I loved the characters, and can't wait to read the sequels/watch the movie (yes! a movie!!!)

ACCURACY: lots of Yoruba is used in this book, with Yoruba being the language spoken in Nigeria (Adeyemi is Nigerian American). Don't worry, most of the translations are provided. Hints of alternate, magical, European empires are present, but they do not play a large role, at all, in the story, and so the plot and accuracy remains focused.

RECOMMENDATION: I loved this book, and I will not stop going on about it to my friends. I think it is an important, yet simultaneously enjoyable read. There are connections made in the book to police violence and that messed up disparity between African American communities and European-American/American communities. I loved this book, and I haven't read something this good in a long time. :))

s
singidunum_25
Mar 11, 2018

How it all started:
"The idea for the novel which would, eventually, be sold in a seven-figure book and movie deal, came to Adeyemi in April of 2016. She had graduated from Harvard with a degree in English the year prior, and was working as a data analyst in Los Angeles. One morning before work, she spotted an illustration of a Black girl with bright green hair on Pinterest, and couldn’t get the image out of her head. “It was so epic,” she told me, still speaking fondly of the image that incited her on her own epic two-year journey, and counting. Adeyemi walked around showing the photo to coworkers, and was dismayed they didn’t see the magic she did.
“They were like okay, let’s get back to work. But I was like, how can any of us work? I’ve gotten ideas from pictures before, but this was the first time I was so captivated. I was like, who is this girl. What is her story? What is a day in her life like? I couldn't get it out my head,” she said. Adeyemi would have to answer these questions herself.
That evening, after bouncing ideas around on the phone with her boyfriend, Adeyemi established the skeleton of the book. The girl would be a fisherman’s daughter, who would meet a rogue princess in a marketplace, and be dragged into an adventure. The rest, she said, proceeded in a “series of explosions.” When her coworkers left the office at the end of the day, Adeyemi would stick around for another four, five, or six hours, writing the story."

https://www.refinery29.com/2018/03/192699/children-of-blood-and-bone-tomi-adeyemi-author-interview

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