Every book, regardless of genre or category, carries one consistent message to chew on. At times, it can seem rather obscured and complex – other times, it blatantly stares you in the face. The message of Tomi Adeyemi’s debut, Children of Blood and Bone, stands out clear as day: The oppressed will eventually rise and fight back against the forces that once held them down. Keep reading to see what we thought of the book!
Children of Blood And Bone Summary
In the magical and fervently detailed land of Orisha, war between the maji and the kosidan elites has a deeply common and unfortunate cycle of violence yet to be broken, even with the ruling king having eradicated his challengers – or so it seems.
Seventeen-year-old Zelie Adebola knows the ruthlessness of the kosidan all too well considering her own mother, a maji herself, was killed in a raid eleven years prior. As a result, Zelie and her remaining family maintain a mundane lifestyle as fishers in the humble village of IIorin.
One day, Zelie catches a valuable fish and aims to sell it in the bustling city of Lagos for a fair amount of money – the only option she has to keep herself and her family members from indentured servitude. Tzain, her brother, agrees to join her.
While there, they encounter a disguised Princess Amari Olubori among the crowded market area, attempting to escape her guards and the palace due to her closest friend, Binti, being killed by her father, King Saran, for having magical abilities.
A magic scroll – the ultimate catalyst in Binti’s demise – lies in Amari’s possession, hence why she’s on the run. Unknowing of Amari’s true disposition and identity, Zelie agrees to help her escape Lagos. With the help of Tzain and Nailah, Zelie’s pet lionaire, the trio does just that and head back to IIorin.
When Zelie discovers that she herself may have hidden abilities after touching the magic scroll, specifically as a Reaper, she goes to her instructor, Mama Agba, who informs her that this was all fated and that she is meant to bring magic back to Orisha, with Tzain, Amari and her brother Prince Inan as support. Zelie then begins her journey of self-discovery, inner strength and perseverance all while combating every obstacle thrown her way.
It’s apparent this is Adeyemi’s very first novel, as certain areas of the plot may have been a bit rushed as well as the character development needing more nuance than what is initially provided. However, the story overall is engaging, the world building is quite rich, and the general message of the book follows through to the end.
Children of Blood and Bone purposefully brings a wider focus to the state of the world and the various ways in which marginalized people have been consistently oppressed, as well as simultaneously retaliated against such forces.
With themes such as colorism, vengeance, genocide, betrayal and abuse of power at the forefront, The novel is an ambitious first installment in the Legacy of Orisha trilogy, and readers of all ages will thoroughly enjoy.