Children of Blood and Bone
Children of blood and bone is a fantasy story written by Nigerian American writer Tomi Adeyemi. The story is set in the mystical land of Orïsha where magical and non-magical beings used to live in harmony until king Saran ordered a raid to kill all the Maji (Humans given magical powers). On this deadly day, the Maji were incapable of defending themselves because the gods took magic away. During this raid, the king killed all the Maji and spared the diviners (their children) but subdued them to live like slaves. The story focuses on the aftermath of that raid and the process of bringing back magic so that the children of the Maji, known as Divîners, have the power to reclaim their human rights.
I loved reading this book because I love fantasy anyway but reading a fantasy book set place in Nigeria made my heart smile. In the book there’s a map of Orïsha that uses real names of Nigerian states and cities which gave me a lot of nostalgia. The Maji clan also speak Yoruba so there’s some of that in the story, and if you understand that language you would probably really enjoy that.
The book is narrated by each main character’s point of view, so the reader gets to experience the story from different perspectives. This was probably my favorite part about reading this book because reading 527 pages from one person’s perspective can get old. But every chapter threw me for a loop because the story is so intense, but also because the narrative changes based on whose perspective we’re hearing from.
Here’s my thoughts on each character:
Zélie is the main character and the gods chose her to be the Mamalawo (like the female version of bablawo, which is the Nigerian term for witch doctor) that will restore the connection between the Maji and Oya (Deity of life and death) and bring magic back. Zélie is a young divîner who witnessed her mother get murdered during the raid. I enjoyed seeing her mature as the story progressed and watching her overcome all the obstacles she faced. It was interesting to see how her love interest almost sabotaged her mission but I’m glad she didn’t allow her emotions get the best of her.
Inan is the son of Saran the king of Orïsha and the heir to the throne. He was raised to believe in the phrase Duty Before Selfto prepare him to be a selfless and ruthless king like his father. But plot twist…Inan is a Maji and has magical powers which he discovers on his quest to destroy magic. Honestly, his character annoyed me because he was so flip-floppy. One chapter he supports magic and in the next he doesn’t so I didn’t like him. But his character taught me about the struggle of breaking away from your upbringing and doing what you know is right.
Amari is the princess who witnessed her best friend and servant get murdered by her father. Her servant Binta, was a divîner who received magic once she came in contact with a magical scroll that King Saran tested out on her. Once she witnessed this, she stole the scroll and fled the palace, then found Zélie during her escape in a wonderful turn of events orchestrated by the gods. She starts off shy because she has been silenced all her life but as she joins the journey to bring back magic, once everything is done, she ends up becoming the queen Orïsha.
I highly recommend this book because it’s a fun and easy read. Be warned, there are some gruesome chapters with a lot of bloodshed and fighting but other than that, the story is meant to remind us that we are all connected as children of blood and bone.