They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.
I loved the main and supporting characters who are multidimensional, flawed and relatable. Kelie was bold, assertive, impulsive, and though she had her fears and doubts, she was courageous to face them head-on. She was passionate about her cause and not afraid to fight for what she believed in. By contrast, Amari was gentle, patient and even indecisive at times. However she was a fierce warrior who knew when to strike with her sword. I liked that both Kelie and Amari were strong female MCs- they were willful and independent, though they also had a soft and vulnerable side. Inan, the prince of Orisha, was the third POV character in this book. I liked that, in addition to being a love interest, he took on a morally grey role and had important character flaws which made him interesting to read about.
I also enjoyed reading about the relationships in this book- the romantic as well as the platonic ones. I loved the slow-burning chemistry in the romantic relationships. I also loved the sibling dynamics between Zelie and Tzain, and Amari and Inan. In addition I loved that there were strong and positive relationships between the female characters.
There were quite a few secondary and minor characters in the book, and unfortunately due to the circumstances in the plot, some of them did not survive. I wished to have gotten to know these characters better before they were killed off.
The plot was engaging and well-paced. I liked that the characters were given a series of tasks to accomplish, and that with the resolution of one issue, another problem was always on the horizon, so that the plot continued rolling.
I also liked the representation of people of colour in this series. I liked the idea of bringing attention to issues such as racism in a subtle way through the fantasy storytelling.
Usually I am not a huge fan of multi-POV books however I find that the 3 alternating POVs worked well here.
Overall I enjoyed the writing style and I liked the worldbuilding aspect in this book. Descriptions were detailed but not overstated, and while I was reading I did feel immersed in the culture of the towns and cities the characters visited. I liked that Orisha had its own religion and politics as well, all of which were portrayed vividly in this book.
I also liked how people’s belief in the gods was linked to how magic worked. My only complaint was that I wished to learn more about the “rules” of magic- what was doable, what were the limits, and what were the consequences. Although the limits of “regular” magic vs “blood magic” was alluded to in this book, and there seemed to be consequences to using blood magic, I feel that these things weren’t too clear.
The Bottom Line: 4/5 stars!
Overall The Children of Blood and Bone was a fast-paced YA fantasy novel with strong characters and great chemistry between them. After reading this book, I will definitely be looking out for book 2!