“Children of Blood and Bone,” by Tomi Adeyemi. Copyright 2018, Henry Holt and Company (525 pages, $18.99).
It has been said that Tomi Adeyemi might just be the next J.K. Rowling. Thus began my interest in Adeyemi’s work. However, when I first opened Children of Blood and Bone and found other parallels among different genres and fandoms instead, this reader was pleasantly surprised.
The cultural love and representation that Adeyemi writes for her characters parallels with that of the Black Panther universe and is evident in every line, with the cast of characters straying from your typical Anglo-Saxon fantasy heroines and heroes and their love of their heritage and culture. Then, the reader begins to understand the mythos of this mythical land with the character’s connection and belief system to their fantastical god-like influences, paralleling with Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books in some ways by some citizen’s having “gifts” bestowed to them from their deities. In addition, all of this was set in a similar dystopian world much like that of Katniss Everdeen’s in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games where, in order to survive sometimes, you have to fight. There is magic just like in Rowling’s books as well, but this magic in Adeyemi’s debut novel is more primal and centered with the world, their beliefs, and those wielding the magic rather than to incantations and wand wielding.
The story begins with Zélie, the main heroine, learning to fight in the repressive society of Orïsha. Here, she is a minority amongst her people, a divîner, a potential wielder of magic, and must protect herself and her family with any means that she can from her wits to her strength. Zélie is a typical heroine; strong with a sense of what is right when it comes to the oppression of those in the kingdom of Orïsha, but also quite stubborn. It’s hard to change her mind about preconceived notions once she has made them. After meeting our main heroine Zélie, Amari enters. She’s the princess of Orïsha; a kindhearted girl who is naïve to the ways of her father’s kingdom and how he treats those who are divîners. Zélie and Amari meet and travel together to restore magic to the divîners and both grow and mature along the way; Amari becoming more knowledgeable about her kingdom and more assertive with herself and what happens to the future of her kingdom, Zélie becoming more patient and understanding of Amari and those whom she doesn’t always sees eye to eye with. There are fights, fantastical displays of magic, and heroism along the way with this beautiful novel that resonates in today’s modern world, so pick up Children of Blood and Bone, travel with Zélie and Amari, and learn the lessons they do.
Kayleigh Dyer is a Library Assistant at Graham Library. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (336) 570-6730.