Book Review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

August 19, 2018

Happy Sunday! If you’re in school, I hope the first couple days treated you well.

I always like to start off my school year with a good book to read, so today I’m bringing you a book that I recently read and really enjoyed - kind of.

There was a lot of hype surrounding this book, so you’ve probably heard of it:

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.
In case you don’t want to read that, here’s basically what it’s about:

magic // persecution // fantasy Africa // conflicted characters // betrayal // death // sibling love // loyalty // action // romance

(yes, I made an aesthetic for it. Don’t ask.)

I have to admit, though, the summary . . . wasn’t actually why I picked the book out. I decided to read this because more than one person described it as:

An African Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Yep, you read correctly. That was LITERALLY the only reason I picked this book up.

And my rating?

4/5 Stars

I ended up enjoying this book a lot, but there were some things I just couldn’t get past. Let’s take a look. . . .
The writing. I don’t know why, but I really liked the writing style. I also liked how it was told from three different perspectives, and all of them felt relevant. (I do wish that Tzain had gotten his own POV. Maybe in the next book, though!)

The characters. I LOVED the characters. I felt like Zélie (the main character) was strong without being in the Strong Girls™ cliché. Tzain . . . I felt like his character should have been dwelled on more, because I really liked him. Amari’s arc from (okay, I’ll admit it) mostly a wimp to being courageous was pulled off well. And, of course, I can’t write this review without mentioning:

Inan. INAN. <3 I LOVED THIS KID. I’m not sure if we were supposed to love him or not but he is honestly up there in character rankings with Zuko. (Coincidence? ;) ) He was so conflicted, and he had a good heart but just kept messing up. Seriously. If you read this book for nothing else, read it for him. :)
Most of the plot. For the most part, the plot was pretty creative, with some wicked plot twists. And just a warninig: you will probably cry. I will say no more to avoid spoilers.

Inan’s power. Okay, Zélie’s power was cool, but come on. Inan’s was far more superior. And the fact that he kept repressing it was just so sad and I HAVE NO WORDS.

The romance. By “romance” here, I mean that the two pairs are HIGHLY shippable and I love them both.

Inan. Did I already mention him? I feel like he deserves to be mentioned more than once.
The cover. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but that cover’s kind of weird. I mean, why is her hair sticking up, and ????? I just don’t get it. If someone does, please explain.

The similarities to ATLA. Aaaannd, here’s the part that I’m kind of anxious to discuss. For the first 200 pages, there are definite similarities to Avatar: The Last Airbender. To mention a few: (warning - minor spoilers)
  • Older boy with no powers and younger sister with powers living in a village by the sea
  • Also their village is oppressed by the horrible nation they are nearby/living in 
  • MC learns that they have immense power and must use it to save the world (or at least, the non-magic users)
  • Group have a large pet they use for transportation
  • Son of main villain hunts group down with knowledgeable sidekick
And the list goes on. It’s kind of uncanny.

At first I thought it was coincidence, but if you read the acknowledgments, the author credits the creators of ATLA for creating stories that inspired her. So . . . it’s a little weird, guys.
The violence factor. I’ll go into this more in the Mature Content section, but for now, there was a scene of violence that was very disturbing and was referenced repeatedly throughout the rest of the book. I didn’t like it, needless to say. 

The romance. Okay, I personally felt like both the romances were a little rushed, especially Zélie’s and Inan’s. Within 90 pages, they went from hating each other to loving each other. Amari’s and Tzain’s wasn’t that bad, but the main romance was . . . unrealistic, I thought.

The ending. This is very spoiler-y, so I put it in gray font. Okay, I was really confused. Did Inan die? Does everyone have magic now, or . . . Mainly I have issue with Inan. If he died. . . . Well, we all know that he’ll probably come back to life . . . right?


Okay, end spoilers.
Violence. Yes, I mentioned this. And I’ll try to keep it as spoiler-free as possible, as this does happen later in the book. But basically, one of the main characters is tortured very graphically. I really didn’t care for it.

And I get it, if someone was tortured that way they would probably have PTSD about it. But I felt like this character had flashbacks to it waaaayy too often, and these were still somewhat descriptive. The last parts of the book were marred for me, personally, because of this.

Cursing. There are a few curse words said, but they’re few and far between, and I didn’t think they were that big of an issue.

Magic. This part of my review is more from a Christian perspective, but the main character has the power to raise spirits from the dead, which is, obviously, a little creepy. If things like this bother you, you probably shouldn’t read this.

Innuendo. Not much, but I caught more the second time I read through it than the first. One or two mentions of brothels, with no description, etc.
This book was actually quite good. Aside from a couple things that I feel could have been done differently, I liked this book! Definitely recommended.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to deal with an overfull school schedule.


Have you read Children of Blood and Bone? Do you want to read it? How do you feel about torture scenes?

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  1. This book looks so good, I really need to get around to reading it.
    Best of luck on school!

    1. Yes, you definitely should read it! And thanks! Good luck with yours as well! (though I understand that you’re homeschooled, so . . . good luck!)

  2. Sounds interesting to me. I might get a copy of this and find time to read this. Thanks and good luck on the schooling.


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