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Children of Blood and Bone ‘a very timely and engaging read’

Understanding the many inspirations that helped to build Children of Blood and Bone is crucial, says Marli Spriggs

Book Review: Must Reads For Youth

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (15+)

Explore Tomi Adeyemi’s Orïsha nation, a fictional African nation where magic has been stolen by the oppressive monarchy, in Children of Blood and Bone. This fantastical novel follows 17-year-old Zélie, her older brother Tzain and rogue princess Amari on a mission to restore magic to their homeland and defeat the tyrannical King of Orïsha and Prince Inan.

Adeyemi draws inspiration from many sources: Yoruba culture (a Nigerian ethnic group), Western fantasy, involving magical elements, some mythological folklore, and the worldwide Black Lives Matter movement. Adeyemi’s plethora of cultural and intertextual references thoroughly enrich the novel’s world building.

Additionally, understanding the many inspirations that helped to build this novel is crucial when dissecting the overarching themes. Notably, Adeyemi uses the clashes between the Orïsha people and the monarchy as a powerful metaphor for racism’s power dynamics in modern society, and showcases how cruelty can weaken and divide a country. Thus, Children of Blood and Bone is a very timely and engaging read in the wake of the democratisation of antiracist education.

Furthermore, the structure and narration is immersive and compelling, as perspectives alternate between the four main characters: Zélie (the strong-willed magical protagonist), Tzain (Zélie’s level-headed brother), Amari (the curious rebel crown princess) and Inan (Amari’s merciless brother, loyal to the monarchy and determined to thwart Zélie’s mission).

From confrontations between Zélie and Inan in the dreamscape, to the ever-changing point of view, Children of Blood and Bone is surely a gripping novel that will keep you on your toes. I especially enjoyed Zélie’s descriptions of magic, as well as the development of the Orïsha political landscape regarding magic, as not all magic users share the same ideals. The Legacy of Orïsha trilogy has been mesmerising readers since its release; I recommend Children of Blood and Bone to anyone looking for works that detail African folklore, as well as those who enjoy novels with alternating perspectives.

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Published March 06, 2023 at 7:39 am (Updated March 06, 2023 at 7:58 am)

Children of Blood and Bone ‘a very timely and engaging read’

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