Government drone by day and book lover and geek girl by night!
Wow. This book from beginning to end was fantastic. I had some issues with the book going from Zelie, Amari, and Inan. I thought the chapters showcasing Zelie and Amari's POV were the strongest. Inan's were the weakest to me. I also wish that if we were going to get Inan's POV we would have also gotten Tzain's. The world building was so good and though I am not fond of cliffhangers in my books, this one was well done. We got to see a lot of development with regards to Zelie and Amari and I can't wait for the next book in this series.
"Children of Blood and Bone" is the first book in the Legacy of Orisha series by author Tomi Adeyemi. Told in alternate first person POVs we follow a maji named Zelie, and Princess Amari and Prince Inan.
Zelie is one of the maji (dark skinned with white hair) who are treated as lesser than in the Orisha world. Many years ago maji had the ability to do magic. When the current king ordered all maji to be hunted down and killed, magic left Orisha. Zelie has the urge to fight back, but knows that doing so could cost her what is left of her family. When she goes off to sell some fish near where the royal family resides, she comes across a girl (Princess Amari) who she ends up helping escape. This leads to Zelie, Amari, and Zelie's brother Tzain going off to do what they can to restore magic to Orisha.
My favorite character ended up actually being Princess Amari. Watching her development through the story of doing what she knew was right even though it would pit her against her father and her brother was fantastic. Her final fight scene was epic. I mean I was hooting and hollering.
Zelie I found to be way too harsh concerning Amari. I was getting sick of it after a while. I get why she was angry, but after a certain point I didn't get it especially because of her "feelings" for Inan. Speaking of that, the whole thing with Inan felt forced to me and not necessary. I loved that Zelie was going to do what she could to restore magic and that she was not going to stop til the king was off the throne. She was stubborn and didn't think things through enough at times, but was definitely passionate.
As I said above the POVs with Inan were the weakest in my opinion. Honestly I think to make the book stronger it would have been better to just focus on Zelie and Amari. In the end though I did feel sorry for Inan. No spoilers, but dang. Once again we get an exciting scene.
We have a ton of secondary characters in this one, but it's easy enough to keep people straight. Maybe in the next book though the author would want to include a character's list at the beginning of the book. Some people will like that.
The writing was lyrical. I always get worried that many books get a bit too "purple prose" but this one does not. I could picture every person, every scene, every fight, every goddess. I loved it. I was hungering for some art in this book. The flow was a bit off when we would switch from the two girls POV to Inan's, but not enough to wreck my enjoyment of the story. I also want to praise Adeyemi for being able to write credible fight scenes showcasing magic and also swords and staffs. One of the biggest letdowns when I read any Young Adult fantasy novels is when people are fighting with magic. It never makes sense and or sounds convoluted as anything. I am still disappointed with "The Bone Witch" since when the author of that book talked about using magic it sounded boring.
Author Adeyemi at the end of this book says that she wrote this after watching news story after news story showing unarmed black men, women, and children being gunned down the police in the United States. She names so many women and men who have died in this country, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Jordan Edwards, and so many others. Telling us that we have been knocked down too much and now it's our time to rise, to rise like the maji (the Diviners) that we see in this story rise.
This story takes place in the fictional Orisha. We have a lot of information told to us throughout this book and I seriously loved how Adeyemi plays with African mythology as well as with allowing a look at colorism in the African American community as we know it. It's very pointed that in this book that Zelie is dark skinned with white hair and the ruling family is all about not going out in the sun, having brown or lighter skin.
The book does end on a cliffhanger which as I said above I as a rule am not fond of at all. I like each book to conclude an arc/plot of that story and just move onto the next thing. When you leave things twisting in the wind it can become frustrating as a reader. I didn't mind with this one since the possibilities it left us with are exciting.