I had been seeing this book being talked about a lot on Goodreads and so bought it out of curiosity. I am reading The Children of Blood and Bone in response to a prompt (Written by someone of a different nationality/color/ethnic group than you ) on the WriteTribe reading challenge #ReadBravely
You can check out my reading challenges and the books I have signed on here
Title: The Children of Blood and Bone
Genre: Fantasy Fiction / YA
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American author, based out of San Diego, CA. She graduated from Harvard University in English Literature. Tomi went to Salvador, Brazil to study about the West African mythology, culture and religion. She feels very strongly about the atrocities committed against the black lives and has woven the angst in this tale.
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Zelie was a six years old the night the cruel King Saran of Orisha sent his soldiers to wreak havoc on their lives. Her father was brutally beaten while her mother was dragged in chains and hung from a tree. Her brother Tzain shielded her from this barbarism as best he could. But to date she cannot forget the sight of all the maji, including her mother hanging from the tree.
The maji were the true possessors of magic and held connections with various gods. The Burners summoned the flames, the Tiders played with the waves, the Healers could cure sickness, the Welders connected with metal to wield its powers while the Reapers like Zelie’s mother, summoned the souls.
King Saran burned down and killed all the diviners while culling the connection of magic. Soon no more maji were left. Rather the ones left had no magic to gather and harvest.
Zelie’s clan moves onto firm a small fishing community by the sea and try to put the past horrors out of their hearts. But the cruelty of the wicked king follows in the form of harsh taxes, brutal force, rapes and her people bonded into slave labour.
One such tax raise sends Zelie to the main town to raise some money when she collides with the Princess Amari who it seems has decided to betray her father in favour of the maji. When Zelie saves her life, their fates entwine and now they must both try to work together to bring back magic in Orisha.
Prince Inan is sent by his father to bring back the princess but at a discretion for her betrayal cannot be known. The kings guards had discovered a magic scroll which when touched, evoked magic in the magi. Amari had run away with this scroll and now needed to be brought back at any cost.
The king abhorred magic and will do anything in his powers to quell it. His hatred for the maji or the maggots as they have been hatefully nick named, is legendary.
But while pursuing Zelie and Amari, Inan realises he posses magic which has somehow manifested inside of him. Fearful of his father’s wrath at this discovery while helpless in his love for his sister, Inan must now choose. Love or duty?
Meanwhile Zelie, Amari and Tzain have embarked on a quest to find an ancient temple to bring back magic. Pursued by the king’s guard, they race against luck and time to change the fate of Orisha. All the time Zelie is trying to hold onto her emerging powers which seem to be out of control.
What happens when Inan catches up with them? Who lives and who dies? Does magic come back to Orisha? Read on this brilliantly written 525 pages epic by Tomi Adeyemi.
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Lasting impression on me:
This is a brilliantly written fantasy fiction and I bow down to the fantastical prowess of Tomi Adeyemi. I am seriously hooked and can’t wait for the next one in this trilogy or maybe more than that.
The setting of the book is Africa, which by itself is so unique and new for me to read about. The descriptions of clothes, the head gears, facial features, and the ebony/sand/caramel skin tones – all of it so refreshing and new. The names of people and places, the customs, traditions, food and the various animals woven into the tale are all so exotic. Like I said- it’s a refreshing change to read about a rustic setting with tribal influences in a fantasy fiction.
Then there is the championing of women in the tale which has made me very partial towards the book. The female protagonists are head strong and intelligent who itch to make their place under the sun. Their social standing is below the men but they possess great equanimity and wield it gracefully. Most of the men are shown to treat women with respect and love, deferring to them when need be.
This is a book for young adults, for the romance and sibling rivalry depicted in it, would find resonance with them. So would the mindset and thought process of the many teenagers in this book who are struggling against the oppression.
And the writing is fresh and free, for the words are laced with experience of pain and longing. The dialogue of war-torn Africa and police brutalities are reflected in the world spun in this book. The authors note echoes that sentiment and requests the readers to empathize with what’s happening in Africa.
I loved the tapestry of African tribal world woven with amazing ease into the story of a world where magic was ripped out by force. The characters and descriptions left me wanting for more.
I completed this 500+ page book in a matter of two days, it was absolutely un-put-down-able for me. I am longing to read next and am rating this one at 5/5 stars. A must read for fantasy fiction lovers; more so if you also have loved writers/stories from Africa.
Check out my review of The Indian Sherlock Holmes – Feluda who is a genius of a character, created by Satyajit Ray.
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