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.
At the time of writing this review Goodreads have rated this as 4.3 out of 5
It’s all I can do not to scream. I dig my nails into the marula oak of my staff and squeeze to keep from fidgeting. Beads of sweat drip down my back, but I can’t tell if it’s from dawn’s early heat or from my heart slamming against my chest. Moon after moon I’ve been passed over.
Today can’t be the same.
Let me start with this so it’s on the table in front of us – I did not finish Children of Blood and Bone. I picked this up months ago and started but couldn’t quite get into the first few pages.
‘No worries’, I thought to myself. ‘Sometimes books don’t feel like talking to you at that particular time. I’ll read a few others and come back to it.’
So I did just that. Read a few more books and came back to it. I got a bit farther ahead and it just fizzled. I was a little annoyed with myself because I’d wanted to read this the second I’d heard of it but again I just thought it was timing.
Two weeks ago I picked it up again but this time with the promise of my full commitment and no other distractions.
It has taken me two full weeks to get to page 90 of a 525 page book. I haven’t picked up a single other book during that time and I have tried so hard to make this work but I’m stretching into a third week and I haven’t read anything but CoBaB and I haven’t even succeeded in that.
I really didn’t want to quit this, I really didn’t, but in the end I needed to be honest with myself – I was bored by it and the thought of trying to make it to the 525th page wasn’t one I was relishing. Especially as I have so many more books I want to read!
Usually I am Ranty McRantFace about books that I don’t like/ rate lowly but because I just feel so sad about this one I won’t be ranting about it. I am taking no pleasure in writing this review because of two reasons:-
- I was genuinely so excited and hyped to read this book because I’d heard it was a unique and wonderful story
- I follow Tomi Adeyemi on social media and she is a darling. Her website/ videos on plotting & writing are incredibly useful and she knows her craft very well. I like her as a person very much.
But I’m honest. Just because I like the author doesn’t mean I have to automatically adore their work. It’s a shame because in this case I was hoping I would. Like I said, Tomi Adeyemi just seems delightful and so I wish all the success in her writing career.
First of all – if you like/ love this book I can completely see why you would. It’s a bit cliche but when I was reading this I was almost saying to CoBaB, ‘it’s not you, it’s me.’ I just didn’t connect with it and that’s that.
Now I’m going to say the stuff that a lot of people would disagree with. It relates to the ‘I’d heard it was a unique and wonderful story’ comment above.
I didn’t find this unique. I was reminded strongly of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard which is great if you like those books (and many do) but as I didn’t this was always going to be a problem.
I found this to be a very typical YA story. In fact there were lots of typical ‘checklist’ items that I picked up on in the 90 pages I read:-
- Young adult heroine fighting against a totalitarian society with a ‘them vs. us’ set up
- Unique trait or ability that makes them special
- Gets embroiled in a situation by accident/ has situation thrust upon them
- There is a sibling
- There is a wise mentor
- Love interest who protagonist tries to convince herself isn’t a love interest
I don’t know if anyone gets involved with an arena/maze/other battleground or if there is a love triangle or if anyone becomes the voice of a rebellion because I didn’t get that far. Maybe the book steers sharply into originality after 90 pages but I just didn’t stick around long enough.
I understand the themes that the author is incorporating – racism and persecution and these are relevant and important. I also enjoyed the elements of the magic system that I had witnessed so far and the setting makes a refreshing and welcome change but for me the cons outweighed the pros.
Unfortunately me and Zelie were just never going to be friends. She has too much Mare Barrow in her. I understand the concept of ‘plucky’ young rebel but sometimes plucky can read as selfish and if a character is a risk taker but without a care about how their actions impact others I struggle to connect. Zelie is angry, and justifiably so, but I didn’t want 500+ pages of anger and bitterness of a POV character – again that’s on me and my personal preference.
There are two other POV characters to break this up though – Amari and Inan – the royal siblings. Amari is gentle and sweet (of what I read so far) but was just too gentle and sweet (The Load) and Inan didn’t have much of a personality coming through (yet?). There was also the setup of a romance between Inan and Zelie which automatically put me off and again had the shade of Mare Barrow/ Cal to it. Inan/ Zelie immediately connected in YA insta-love/ fated connection and I suppose I was just over it.
I just struggled I guess… with the characters, with the backstory dump of exposition that occurred so quickly into the book, with the generally slow pacing of what I’d read so far and with my belief that this was going to be another formulaic YA book.
I completely understand why this is popular and I am aware that my opinion is the outlier.
Maybe it does pick up after 90 pages. Maybe 90 pages isn’t enough to read of a book to get a measure. Maybe I should just keep trying.
Except I know I won’t because I can’t.
I will politely say this wasn’t for me but that I can see why its won hearts of others and that I am surprisingly sad that I couldn’t finish this.