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.
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page count: 531
Let’s start with the basics: I am *in love* with the cover! Like, for real. Just look at it. It’s gorgeous. Lit. So pleasing to look at.Okay, moving on. How much, on a scale of 1 to 10 do I love a good old dark mysticism story? The correct answer is 11. I do love this stuff. But it has to be really good. And the one expanded in Children of Blood and Bone is actually excitingly good. The book is part of the Legacy of Orïsha trilogy, so I am expecting more and better!
I grew up surrounded by mysticism. I read folkloric tales about magical objects and miraculous heroes, about death and life, about mythical creatures, I heard stories from old men and women about horrifying exorcism acts and bloody rituals, I grew up believing my grandmother can do spells and her mother was, indeed, a witch, believing in the fabulous healing powers of herbs and cures and in every sinister curse and paranormal story I heard. This book just feeds my childhood lost stories and pets them on the head. I know, I’m macabre to think of that, but when you grow up with such things you don’t consider them that bad, but kind of normal. Like a legacy.
The book starts in a powerful note, almost like a scream: Zélie, the protagonist, remembers with pain in her heart and mind how her Mama was being taken away by the King’s guards and killed in front of everyone with other majis. Eleven years in the future, Zélie grows up in an environment magicless, even though she has in her the seed of magic. The people like her, the children of the once killed majis are called divîners and they are considered the no-ones of the land of magicless (yes, this made-up word again!) Orïsha.
„Duty before self” and „Kill her. Kill magic” seem to be the most sang verses of the anthem of the book. When Inan discovers his link with Zélie, his mind goes poisoned by these dark words. Zélie knows his secret, that he is a maji too, and this drives him mad and in their tentative to get rid of each other, they start feeling their connection stronger and stranger.
Besides the interesting Nigerian mythology, the Yoruba belief, around which the book seems to revolve, another interesting path to follow is the development of the characters and how their faith changes.
Of course, there is going to be a star-crossed love story, which for many of you might seem a bit off, but for me, it was just part of the unforgivable process of breaking my heart, okay? Yes, the story gets more and more intense as you devour the pages with your all five senses, making your heartache and your mouth go crazy with uncontrollable words of surprise (Have I mentioned that I’ve dropped the F-bomb in a train full of people while reading this book??).
Everything that seemed normal at the beginning is turned around at the end, nothing is what it was supposed to be. „Let feeling become your eyes,” Zélie says, and this is exactly how you are going to get through this book. Feeling it.
Zélie is a very interesting character because she has a different kind of reaction to everything that happens to her. Zélie from the beginning is the Zélie that wants to defend herself and her family without magic because she is absolutely sure that magic doesn’t exist anymore, so this is where her rage and intensity come from. Always the personal experience is the roughest and tends to change the paths we chose to go. Zélie seems, whatsoever, to suffer the most, only because of the intensity of her feelings.
The most interesting character of all is, however, the persona of Amari. If she’s going to think forever at sweets and foods, then you know I can relate more than anything to her. She’s my type of girl! But, for real now, her development is truly amazing. She enters the scene by being a shy little princess, too afraid to even breath wrong in front of anyone, and she ends the first part of the story by gaining depth, power and knowledge. Her pure spirit is the one that helps her unravel her true self, her „inner lionaire” that just waits to be awakened. Her determination is her weapon and her good heart is her luck. It seems like nothing could stand between her and her desires.
The relationship between Zélie and Amari is beautiful. They have a spark from the beginning, but that spark seems to ignite a whole fire until the end. They start burning together, sharing everything they have, caring for each other, loving each other like sisters. What a beautiful feeling they develop!
Behind all this fantastic story, however, an ugly truth is being hidden: the oppression is real. It is happening in the world we are all living in, it is affecting real people with real feelings. So this book is, also, an awakening call for humanity.
„I won’t let your ignorance silence my pain”
A real pain that is beard by real people. Tomi Adeyemi feels deeply the pain of her nation and she’s willing to share a bit of it with us, making the whole amount of her readers her own Connectors.
From this book, as from any book that has ever been written, we have to learn something. And from this particular one I’ve learned that no matter what, we have to fight for what we believe in because there is always a way.
„We are our own people. We make our own choices”.
Yes, indeed. But for that, we have to open our eyes and let our feelings flow.