Zelie is a young girl from a fishing settlement in Ilorin where she lives with her Baba and her brother Tzain. She secretly learns to fight under the tutorship of Mama Agba, the village seamstress. When her father cannot pay their taxes, she ventures out to Lagos, the biggest city in the whole of Orisha to turn some coin. When a young noble girl tugs at her dress and asks for help, does she turn the other way and prevent her reckless nature from sidelining her mission or do the gods seem to have a different plan?
Book Title: The Children of Blood and Bone
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company, a trademark of Macmollian publishing group
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Genre: Young Adult fiction( Fantasy)
The children of blood and bone is set in Orisha a land ruled by the mighty Saran. Magic is extinct and the former welders of magic, the diviners, identifiable by their silver white hair are despondent. They are victims of every evil mankind can inflict upon his brother, they as good as slaves, they are targeted, maimed, raped and picked on for every raised hair on Saran’s or his soldiers’ back.
Zelie goes to Lagos with her brother, Tzain, to get a good bargain for some fish their father caught to pay up for the raised taxes, failure to do so warrants a lifetime in the stocks where they become labourers for the king, stripped of their humanity. She meets Amari, the princess of Orisha, who is now a fugitive because of the scroll she stole from the palace. They go back to ilorin, their home, after defeating the King’s soldiers and their captain, Inan, prince of orisha, where Mama Agba, the village seamstress and Zelie’s mentor, reveals that the scroll contains the ability to induce the ability to perform magic for dividers who simply touch it. They become Maji. She then sets them on a journey, after seeing a vision of Amari, Tzain and Zelie climbing a mountain, to return magic to orisha.
Inan is never too far off their tail on their journey, as his wish is to protect Orisha and regain his father’s honour, and he discovers some unique ability when he, mistakenly, touches the scroll.
The story is symbolic as the author explains that she writes for her people, black people in America who face stigma at the hands of some entitled whites and the book serves as a beacon of hope to future generations of blacks. It is riddled with almost-there-but-we-messed-up scenes, love-or-something-similar-to-lust, undying friendship, conflict and avatari mysticism. It’s definitely something to look for and I’m expecting a sequel real soon.
Beautifully written, dialogues where appropriate, we saw the whole story from three different perspectives which is something I particularly enjoyed. I had a glimpse of what was going on in each person’s head, this made me have a well rounded understanding of the storyline.
The main character is black, I guess that can be considered a pros though , I believe that not doesn’t really matter. It is set in a mystical orisha where they cook jollof rice and plaintains, this brought it close to home and I could easily imagine that since I’m Nigerian. There are not many books, of this type, set in Africa but seeing this gladdened my heart because people are rising to the task of telling our stories. Big ups to Tomi Adeyemi and Nnedi Okorafor.
This book was a long book. I feel she dragged the beginning, some parts weren’t necessary really and it was hard not to read and keep checking for how close I was to the end of the book.
I don’t understand the hype, but the book felt very foreign. She was writing about Orisha where she mentioned Lagos, Warri, Gombe and the likes, mainly places in Nigeria, and she did use Yoruba to make the incantations, but it looked like she didn’t try hard enough to come up with names of her own and it still felt un-African. She used words like panthanaire, lionnaire, leopadaire and it just made me so weak. It sounded like she just borrowed these real names and made them have a ring that, despite her attempts, didn’t really fit into what she was trying to create. I really don’t know why they say it’s the Nigerian Harry potter but I don’t agree. It was looking more Avatar-ish than that.
The action scenes were great but as expected. I think the likes of Game of thrones have set a new standard for how epic books like this should be.
The book is fairly predictable. If you read fiction and you watch movies, there is nothing new about the book. It is stereotypical but just in a different setting. I won’t be surprised if I see underwater kingdoms and mamiwater (mermaids) in the next story.
He’s such a sweet guy, he loves fiercely and uses his head. I was particularly impressed when he took a sword for Amari.😍
Father’s eyes bulge. Hot blood leaks from his heart onto my hands. He wheezes, crimson spurting from his lips as the rest spills across the stone. Though my hand shakes, I plunge the blade in deeper. Tears blur my vision. “Do not worry,” I whisper as he takes his last breath. “I will make a far better queen”.
This was the part where Amari kills her father. This was when I knew that she’s more than she thinks she is, more than I thought she was.
I give it a 3/5 meaning its readable. There’s nothing new in this story that hasn’t been done before but if you are a lover of fiction, you would enjoy it.
About the Author
Tomi Adeyemi is a badass writer, creative writing coach and a graduate of English literature from Havard University. Shele studied West African mythology, religion, and culture in Salvador, Brazil ( I don’t understand how this works). If you’re a writer and want to improve in your craft, wrute some page turning plots, go to her website at tomiadeyemi.com
Children of blood and bone is her first published book.