Melissa Stacy's Reviews > Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
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I did not find the contents of “Children of Blood and Bone” to be anything new, important, ground-breaking, or enjoyable in any way. The book’s cover is beautiful, and the intentions of the author are admirable. But the novel’s execution is profoundly flawed, to a shocking degree. My review examines the extraordinary amount of ableism in this book, the main character Zélie’s appalling lack of morality as a protagonist, and explains why I find the explicit allegorical messaging in this novel to be offensive and problematic. In conveying these thoughts, my full review became too long to fit here on Goodreads. If you would like to read my thoughts on this book, you can find my full review at this link –

https://melissastacy-thoughtcandy.com...
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Reading Progress

December 31, 2017 – Shelved
December 31, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
March 26, 2018 – Started Reading
March 26, 2018 –
page 28
5.33% "This novel opens in a similar way to "Red Rising," with a *lot* of world-building terms thrown onto the page all at once. I had to read Chapter One twice before I could make sense of the hysterical action (a classroom fight scene that is interrupted by an almost-rape) which is followed by a long, long section of info-dump delivered as a wisdom-lesson to the main character and her classmates.

*sigh*

I dread this"
March 27, 2018 –
page 47
8.95% "The chapters are named for the POV characters telling each section of story. Chapter 3 started out as dull as chapters 1 and 2, but picked up by the end and became pretty gripping. Nothing like watching a sociopath king murder an innocent young woman to make me start rooting for someone to chop off his head.

It feels so cheap, though. The premise is also illogical: the maji children would not have been left alive."
March 28, 2018 –
page 68
12.95% "Stuff be blowing up all over the market, guards chasing these girls, some bottle bomb gets flung at some panther-riding a-holes, then a lion jumps in to save the day, Zelie grabs onto the cat, the cat jumps for the fence, and in that split second... THIS happens:
"a shock like lightning surges through my veins"
"igniting my being"
"Time seems to freeze as I look down, locking eyes with the young captain."

lol WHY??"
March 29, 2018 –
page 80
15.24% ""Now that we have the scroll, I long to leave Amari stranded in the forest, let her starve or become a hyenaire's prey." p.80

On pages 58-67, Zelie risked her life numerous times for *no* reason to save Amari, a complete stranger, and then Zelie finds out Amari is a princess, and says THAT quote. Zelie did ALL that work... and then wants Amari to just die.

This book is FULL of the most ridiculous plot holes. :("
April 7, 2018 –
page 185
35.24% "Pages 158-166 are one long info-dump of deity history and clan history that felt so painful to read. Sooooo many info-dumps in this book.

Then the characters Run Away Again, and yet another adult dies because Teens Must Save The Day. SAVIOR TEENS. Thank you, brave teenagers, for saving the world every 10 seconds. Adults are so ignorant and useless, obviously, unlike teens who are totally awesome and righteous. ugh"
April 12, 2018 –
page 228
43.43% ""You're a maggot now, little prince." Her eyes darken. "You should be scared, too." (page 228)

The word "maggot" in this novel is like the n-word, a hateful word used to dehumanize an entire people being enslaved and destroyed in this story.

Zelie, the main character, is speaking that dialogue above. It's not the first time she has used the word "maggot" in hate, the same way it is used against her.

I'm NOT a fan."
May 7, 2018 –
page 458
87.24% "I am embarrassed to admit that I had to read this book twice in order to understand it. The writing is confusing af and the book is loaded with so many plot holes I think my brain died.

If two main characters have sex in a magical dreamscape, does it still count as sex? And what are their awake bodies doing while they're having trope-heavy Healing Sex?

This book is 100% aggravation and 100% brainless."
May 9, 2018 –
page 525
100.0% "I am so impressed with myself for finishing this book. I had zero investment in the characters, the world, or this flimsy plot -- to bring magic back to fantasy Nigeria, aka nonsense land. A setting full of villains, honestly. This ought to be an "antihero" book for as anti-heroic as this story was.

How do I even write a review for a book this bad? So much awful to unpack here, so little review space to type in."
May 23, 2018 – Shelved as: 2018-reads
May 23, 2018 – Shelved as: books-i-really-dislike
May 23, 2018 – Shelved as: no-thanks
May 23, 2018 – Shelved as: recommended-for-no-one
May 23, 2018 – Shelved as: unlikeable-protagonists
May 23, 2018 – Shelved as: why-do-i-hate-myself
May 23, 2018 – Shelved as: ya-fantasy
May 23, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-16 of 16 (16 new)

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message 1: by Joe (last edited May 23, 2018 07:29PM) (new)

Joe Valdez Thank you for linking to your full essay, Melissa. You put a lot of thought into why this novel did not work for you. When I read about about fictional portrayals that are offensive or done in poor taste, I wonder about who is beta-reading these manuscripts, whether the author knows anyone of the opposite sex or different backgrounds who can check how negatively people are portrayed in their manuscript, or whether the author just doesn't care.


message 2: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Hear hear. Excellent review. Thanks for sharing.


Melissa Stacy Joe wrote: "I wonder about who is beta-reading these manuscripts, whether the author knows anyone of the opposite sex or different backgrounds who can check how negatively people are portrayed in their manuscript, or whether the author just doesn't care."

In this case, the author's parents are Nigerian immigrants, and her mother gave her the Yoruba phrases for the incantations that are in the novel. Publishing houses rarely pay for content editing anymore, if at all. This book was line edited and proofread. I think most content editing is put on the author now, to pay for before the manuscript is acquired. Literary agents do a lot of content editing for their clients now, too. As cited from a news interview, the author says that this book went through 40 drafts in 18 months (from first to last), and it's a 525-page novel.


Melissa Stacy Amanda wrote: "Hear hear. Excellent review. Thanks for sharing."

Thank you for editing!! What a project!! Eesh. But it felt so good to get it done! ^.^

You made those sentences shine!! <3

xoxoxo


Alice Great, in-depth review! Thanks for taking the time to write this. I laughed when you mentioned calling that nation Orisha was like calling it Holy Spirit. It reminds me of the people with magic in the Grisha series are called Grisha, which is a nickname for Grigori like Greg.


Melissa Stacy Alice wrote: "It reminds me of the people with magic in the Grisha series are called Grisha, which is a nickname for Grigori like Greg."

True! But at least the characters in "Shadow and Bone" aren't speaking Russian. Leigh Bardugo has her characters speak Ravkan in her fantasy land of Ravka, whereas Tomi Adeyemi puts Yoruba directly into her novel.

Tomi Adeyemi's heritage makes this an own voices novel, but what she did with this book feels so lazy. A white author without Nigerian heritage would have been charged with cultural appropriation. I watched a lot of interviews, and I couldn't find any mention of the author visiting Nigeria, just that fellowship trip to Brazil. Given what I read from own voices reviews, I would be shocked if Ms. Adeyemi participated in any religious ceremonies in Nigeria before writing this book. But who knows.


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ I appreciate your thoughtful analysis, Melissa!


Melissa Stacy Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ wrote: "I appreciate your thoughtful analysis, Melissa!"

Thank you for reading! That is a long review to read through. Thanks for taking the time to consider it. :)


Nenia ✨️ I yeet my books back and forth ✨️ Campbell Ugh, I agree with everything you said!


Melissa Stacy Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ wrote: "Ugh, I agree with everything you said!"

Thanks for reading, Nenia! :)

By the way, when Mary Ravager of Tomes posted about the recent call out situation, regarding this book and Nora Roberts, I saw on the main page for this book that your review is #1 on the Community Reviews. I was glad to see that! ^.^

I read your review again, but then wondered: did you change your review from its original form? I remember reading your review months and months ago, back when you first posted it, and I thought you wrote something different than the version that's posted now.

Regardless of my faulty memory or whether you made alterations, I love your reviews, and I was glad to see your review featured prominently on the page for this book! :D


Nenia ✨️ I yeet my books back and forth ✨️ Campbell Melissa wrote: "Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ wrote: "Ugh, I agree with everything you said!"..."

Oh, wow! #1? I had no idea!

No, I don't believe I changed anything. I normally post an "edit" when I make revisions beyond correcting a typo, because I believe in transparency.


Melissa Stacy Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ wrote: "Oh, wow! #1? I had no idea!"

Yeah!! I was like, Go, Nenia, Go!!! So glad to see you at the top of my review list! ^.^

"No, I don't believe I changed anything. I normally post an "edit" when I make revisions beyond correcting a typo, because I believe in transparency."

Ahhhhh, thank you for clarifying! I appreciate it! I must have had your review confused with another. Sorry about that! You're always so brave with the reviews you share, and super funny. :)

While I don't plan to read books 2 or 3 in this series, I'll be interested in watching what happens with the sales and marketing hype regarding the sequels. A lot of sequels have a 60% drop in sales (or more), and I'm curious if that will be the case here.

Of course, if the covers of the sequels are as beautiful as this one, I can see people buying the sequels just to keep as works of art on their bookshelves. The design of this book jacket *and* the book's interior are remarkable.


Nenia ✨️ I yeet my books back and forth ✨️ Campbell I'm curious about the sequels too. I know I probably shouldn't read them after my experience with the first, but I also know I probably won't be able to help myself.

Do you think you'll try to read them and see if they get better?


message 14: by Melissa (last edited Jan 04, 2019 06:14PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Melissa Stacy "Do you think you'll try to read them and see if they get better?"

That's a good question. I'm very much like you: I do sometimes swear off a series and then pick up the sequels anyway. The biggest curiosity I have with the sequels in this series is in regard to the content I didn't even mention (or barely mentioned) in my own review, and that concerns the pornified romance/sexual content between Zélie and Inan.

**spoiler warning**

Here in book 1, Inan mind-rapes Zélie throughout the book, weaponizing her own thoughts and memories against her without her knowledge and certainly without her consent. The two of them have sex in his dreamscape, and then he betrays her, and I honestly wonder whether the author will continue to use mind-rape as a plot device in the sequels.

I also wonder if the author will ask the question some readers have asked: if Zélie's "first time" having sex was in Inan's dreamscape, does that "count" as sex? The only reason I would care is due to the following: if Zélie is romantically "done" with Inan at the end of book 1, and she starts a new relationship with that pirate-guy (who is maybe Arabic or something? I forget his name, but he's the captain of the ship that takes her to the temple) -- anyway, if she develops a relationship with that guy in book 2, and they have sex, will the author write a new "first time" sex scene for Zélie? Will Zélie regret having sex with Inan? Will Inan end up being end game for Zélie?? (If so: gross, but *very* typical for YA fantasy.) I'm curious to know how the author will handle all of this.

But. And this is a *very* big but: I honestly don't think Tomi Adeyemi's prose will improve at all, because she has no reason to believe she needs to improve as a writer. Her sales and readership have all validated the idea that she's a spectacular author who is already at the top of her game, and I found the prose in "Children of Blood and Bone" to be painfully juvenile, repetitive, nonsensical, and just an absolute slog to push through. I can't see myself ever caring what happens with the actual plot of the book, other than a curiosity to see how it compares with the ending of "Avatar: The Last Airbender."

I recently skimmed through the first half of "Muse of Nightmares" just to examine the sexual content, because another reviewer had posted that the book had explicit sexual content, and I decided I should see for myself. So if I do pick up "Children of Virtue and Vengeance," it will be to skim for the same reason.

If you do read and review the sequels, I will *definitely* be eager to read your thoughts on them!! :D


message 15: by Louly (last edited Oct 11, 2020 01:01PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Louly Hi! I'm Nigerian-Yoruba and I recently read your review. I don’t think this book is an accurate representation of my culture or language. You could even call it problematic. I also agree with you when you raised issues, like the majis using their magic for selfish purposes and destruction. And the story being too cliche and tropey. Nice review.

By the way, in your review, you wrote: "it struck me that the author naming this fantasy-Yoruba-speaking land Orïsha was like naming it “Holy Spirit." I just wanted to say this: Òrìṣàs aren't spirits, They're deities. Gods. The Holy Spirit is a presence, not a physical manifestation. But Òrìṣàs are. Like Norse or Greek gods. So in CoBaB, it would be more like them calling themselves gods/deities instead of holy spirits instead.

Also, you wrote: “With “Children of Blood and Bone,” the publishing industry has finally mainstreamed an all-black YA fantasy onto the market, but the teenage protagonists are nothing like the white protagonists in Harry Potter. This saddens and upsets me a great deal.” Maybe I read this wrong but were you comparing the black characters to the white ones? I agree that the characters in CoBaB were awful and one dimensional but saying that you expect them to be like the white ones in Harry Potter is questionable. It was like saying they should be “whiter” or “they’re awful because they’re not white.” Also, the characters in Harry Potter weren't exactly saints either. I believe the CoBaB characters should be awful in their own right. (Again, this is just my perspective. I do not mean to be offensive or rude. This might not be what you meant.)

Could you please reply to me back about the above concerns?

I already read the two own-voices reviews you posted on GoodReads (in fact, I found your review on Ijeoma Agbaje's review). But I do appreciate you putting it out there nonetheless. Here are two other own-voices reviews I recommend:

- https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
- https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


Melissa Stacy Louly wrote: "I already read the two own-voices reviews you posted on GoodReads but I appreciate you putting it out there nonetheless. Here are two other own-voices reviews I recommend: "

Thanks for sharing, Louly. Hope you have a good day. :)


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