Elizabeth's Reviews > Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2018-reads, fantasy, series, young-adult, wow, politics-fantasy, so-beautifully-diverse

You cannot read this book in one day. That is all. If you can, I stand in awe.
Normally, I can read a book this long in one day. But notice it took me three? Because it's so good, it's hard to keep up with the action & pacing. My head was spinning.

The plot is incredible. Everything in this story leads to something - no page is wasted. Every word packs a punch. The thoughts. the conversations, the dream sequences - they all build into this tornado frenzy of a life and death climatic battle.

All this plot centers around intricate world building. Cites, fishing villages, desserts, gladiator contests, holy temples, mountains and palaces. I'm left gaping, rereading, trying to figure out how everything fits together.
Stories of gods, and magic. Murderous tyrants, backstory, ancient history. It all matters so much to this story and is woven into the narrative without being completely overwhelming. (HOW???????)

“I teach you to be warriors in the garden so you will never be gardeners in the war.”

While this is a story of magic - it is also a story of racism and power. Moving, and convicting. I can see both sides - the magi's abuse & complaints against the monarchy. Surprisingly, I can also see what the monarchy fears the magi.

Why do we fear what we can't understand? Should we fear those who have more power? How should you use your power?
This story is rich in questions. Moral dilemmas - and the decisions aren't easy. They literally will decide the fate of people's lives. Of the entire kingdom of Orïsha.

“When your opponent has no honor, you must fight in different ways, smarter ways.”

Finally, the characters.

Zélie is the unmistakable protagonist. From the very beginning she is feisty. She hates the mistreatment, the injustice of the monarchy. You know she's going to do something, whether she lives is another question.
I like Zélie. Her pain is deep and heart wrenching. I feel for her, but I also keep my distance. I suppose I think like her bother, she's too impetuous, too rash.
I don't know whether to trust her decisions or not. Is it good to be so motivated by personal vengeance?

“As long as we don't have magic, they will never treat us with respect. They need to know we can hit them back. If they burn our homes, we burn theirs, too.”

I adore Amari.

At first, she's a tiny bit annoying. But I love her gentle, unbreakable spirit. Amari is a contradiction of everything - her family, the palace life, her personally.
I felt like her character journey was the most beautiful. Unlike Zélie, Amari isn't motivated by personal vengeance. She's grieving, but she isn't hateful. She genuinely loves her father and brother. She wants to fix broken things, and when she sees what can't be fixed, she still finds a way to make it right.
Amari hasn't been taught to be brave or selfless. Yes she is completely brave and entirely selfless.

(view spoiler)

The odds were against us then. Reality told us we would fail. But again and again we fought. We persevered. We rose.

Inan. Inan. Oh my word, Inan.
I didn't fall in love with Inan. I never trusted him. Even reading his own thoughts, I felt this prince was confused. Does he hate Zélie or not? Will be obey his father? Is he a murderer?
Every time Tzain said not t trust Inan, I was like, YES! He's bad. Years of bigotry just doesn't fall away. This kid needs some major work. He is major work.

Duty before Self. Kingdom before King

So, you might have noticed I gave this book 4 stars. The whole world is giving it 5 and I'm being stingy with just 4. Why????
Ok, so first, the writing was old and new at the same time? It's old in the setting and magic, but Zélie has such a modern dialect. She uses very American phrases like 'Okay' and 'screwed'. It felt contradictory to the setting? Anyway, that was a small thing.

The plot was very, VERY dense. Sometimes I was confused? And some things felt forced into the plot just to create more suspense and drive the stakes higher.

I also was confused about magic appearing later? And why some people with magical abilities don't have completely white hair?

Otherwise, this was a stunning story. It ended with a confusing swirl of a cliffhanger - as in, I have NO IDEA what happens next.
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Reading Progress

December 6, 2017 – Shelved
December 6, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
March 20, 2018 – Started Reading
March 23, 2018 – Finished Reading
March 24, 2018 – Shelved as: 2018-reads
March 24, 2018 – Shelved as: fantasy
March 24, 2018 – Shelved as: series
March 24, 2018 – Shelved as: young-adult
March 24, 2018 – Shelved as: wow
March 24, 2018 – Shelved as: politics-fantasy
March 24, 2018 – Shelved as: so-beautifully-diverse

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