Review of Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone
by Tomi Adeyemi
High School    Holt    533 pp.
3/18    978-1-250-17097-2    $18.99

When magic suddenly disappears from the kingdom of Orïsha, King Saran seizes the chance to murder all the maji (rare and powerful magic-wielders), leaving alive only the divîners (children born to be maji but too young to have yet developed their powers). Eleven years later, Zélie, a divîner whose mother was murdered in the raid, is at the market when Saran’s daughter Amari begs for her help. The princess has stolen a magical scroll, which, when Zélie touches it, awakens her power to command the dead. Joined by Zélie’s brother Tzain and pursued by Amari’s brother Inan (whose own power comes to life when he accidentally touches the scroll), Zélie and Amari set out to use the scroll to restore magic to Orïsha permanently. Zélie, Amari, and Inan share narrative duties, and each has a compelling growth arc, particularly Zélie, whose initial self-doubt is eased by reliance on her hard-won martial skills and her increasing love of magic, but who suffers a paralyzing crisis of confidence at the climax. The delicious romantic tension that develops between Zélie and Inan and between Amari and Tzain adds extra layers of complication and reader engagement. References to Nigerian culture and geography (Yoruba is the language of magic here) give this fantasy a distinct flavor, further distinguished by the intensity of emotion evoked by the impassioned (if occasionally overly dramatic) prose.

From the May/June 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Anita L. Burkam

Anita L. Burkam
Horn Book reviewer Anita L. Burkam is former associate editor of The Horn Book Magazine.

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