Series: Legacy of Orïsha #1
Published by Macmillan Children's Books on March 8th 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic, Fantasy, Diversity
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Booktopia
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Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and 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 the enemy.
If you’ve been anywhere near the YA community lately, you’ll know that Children of Blood and Bone is one of the most hyped of books of 2018. The hype beast is a hard one to live up to, with rising expectations with every review. Not to add to it or anything, but this book definitely DOES live up to the hype for me and I can see why people love it so much. With a stunning magic system, a complex and intriguing cast of characters and a constantly evolving story of rebellion, Children of Blood and Bone was a brilliant read that I couldn’t get enough of.
STUNNING MAGIC SYSTEM
The book starts off with Zélie, a diviner with Reaper magic in her blood, struggling against the oppression of her people and her family. Diviners have dark skin with symbols etched into their skin and white hair. Their magic is now dead after the King ordered the execution of all majis, and her mission is to restore magic to the lands and rise up against the oppression.
It doesn’t matter how strong I get, how much power my magic wields. They will always hate me in this world. I will always be afraid.
Inspired by West-African mythology, I loved the lore of the land and how the world-building was shown through the characters and their actions, rather than told to the reader. The magic is one of the best parts of the book, with different maji clans featuring different deities. I loved the mix of elemental and more intangible powers, such as the powers of healing, life and death and dreams and memories. As we encounter diviners who slowly regain their powers over the course of the book, we witness many of these powers in action and it’s absolutely brilliant. The magical caste-based system is both symbolic and reflective of the oppression that happens today, featuring a rich, intricate world filled with magic and rebellion.
I absolutely loved Zélie as a character, she’s strong and ferocious with a tough exterior, but inside she struggles with the weight of responsibility on her shoulders. Her memories are plagued with a traumatic childhood, but she constantly uses this to push herself for a better future. She’s supported by a cast of characters that is just as strong, with her brother Tzain accompanying her on her quest. The sibling relationship was so real, as Tzain and Zélie constantly bicker and constantly try and protect each other by making silly decisions.
The other major set of characters in the book form an interesting grey area when it comes to the King’s rule – Princess Amari, a privileged Princess who has escaped the confines of the palace, and the villainous Prince Inan who is carrying out his father’s orders to execute Zélie. I loved seeing their character arcs play out and watching it unfold over the course of the book. I loved Amari and how everyone dismisses her as a sheltered Princess, but the darker side to her helped her develop a stronger purpose throughout the book. Even though he’s a villain, I loved what Inan brought to the story – he believes he’s doing the right thing by following his father’s orders, but it’s his heart that conflicts with his mind. His flip-flopping conflict drove me crazy throughout the book, though.
A STORY OF REBELLION
Through the perspectives of Zélie, Amari and Inan, we see a story of rebellion and misunderstanding unfold. It’s a constantly evolving adventure that doesn’t shy away from darkness, violence and blood which was surprising at times. The book will pull you in one direction, and then death and destruction will follow which leads into another. It’s a long book by YA standards at almost 600 pages, but there are so many twists, turns and changing goals that I never really felt the length of the book.
Despite her obvious fear, she still fights. No one allows her to run away.
I do have some reservations for the romance, which evolved a bit too quickly with some of the characters making complete 180 turns when it comes to their thoughts. I wasn’t really happy with how it was left at the end of the book, although I agree that it did draw out some interesting parts to the characters.
The ending was absolutely mind blowing, with twists that I really didn’t see coming and had me gasping at the end as I thought…DID I JUST READ THAT? (Sidenote: I had the same reaction when I read the characters letting out a breath they didn’t know they were holding. TWICE. But I digress).
I am a princess, not a prop. Do not treat me any differently. My father is responsible for this pain. I will be the one to fix it.”
Children of Blood and Bone is an important story of rebellion – one that reflects oppression of a marginalised group, and how one girl breaks free from this oppression to create a better life for her people. With it’s dark, brutal plot, exciting fast pace and a stunning magical system that is well developed, I absolutely loved this book.
Trigger warnings: Death, child abuse, self harm, slavery and oppression
Rating: 5 out of 5
Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me this book for an honest review!
Children of Blood and Bone is available from Australian bookstores for RRP$16.99.