Rating – 4.5 out of 5
Years ago, before the beginning of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi magic was in the ground and air of Orïsha. Then one night, magic was destroyed as all the Maji were killed and a ruthless king ordered the end of magic. Zélie barely remembers that night but constantly feels its repercussions in her community as they have lost their only claims to power and she herself lost a mother. Now, she is thrust into an intrigue with the royal family for the fate of all magic at a moment where everything is at stake.
“I won’t let your ignorance silence my pain” ― Tomi Adeyemi, Children of Blood and Bone
Why I liked Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Children of Blood and Bone caught my eye due to being highly lauded. I was drawn in by the visceral aesthetic in which it was written. The story is told with a sense of magical realism so that it is pervaded with the magic that the story is about. Adeyemi, a Nigerian-American, also depended upon West African mythology and the Yoruba culture (an ethnic group native to Nigeria and Western Africa) to tell this story of magic and power.
With the magic of the land of Orïsha mostly gone the balance between the weak and strong has been disrupted in a way that has caused great levels of inequality in the country. Beyond that, there is a deep sense of loss around the magic since it meant both a loss of power and the people they loved. Zélie lost her mother to the Maji purges and because of her life has been marked by loss. The Maji are seen as less than, like maggots, for deigning to think that they could have something as powerful as magic. I think this is a reflection of what we are experiencing now with the systemic disempowering of different groups. We blame people for being disempowered while simultaneously taking away their power. This cycle only leads to more xenophobia and destruction. Unless and until we understand these systems of power for what they are and then work to change them, these types of stories will be relevant.
Beyond the importance of the topic, the book has a cinematic and grand air about it. In fact, the rights have been bought by Fox (and now Disney!) so they have the option to bring this book to life. With cinematic scenes like a Zélie animating an army of the dead while underwater or any scene with an Lionaire as a mount, it’s easy to see how this book would become an epic film on par with many other adventure stories.
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