Book Review: Avatar the Last Airbender meets West African Mythology | Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Title: Children of Blood and Bone | Author: Tomi Adeyemi | Published:
2018 by Henry Holt Books | Pages: 531|Format: Ebook

In the world of Orisha, the Maji were once great and powerful people who had the gift of magic which were given from the gods. Threaten, the King of Orisha eradicated magic and executed all Maji. Except for their children.

Zeile Adebola, born a child of the Maji, remembers the night they killed her mother. She remembers when magic and hope was stripped from her people. Now with the help of an unexpected ally. She has the chance to overthrow the Monarchy and bring back magic once and for all.

“I won’t let your ignorance silence my pain.”

Rating: 3 Stars

Action-Packed, Unique and Not-an-overall-bad book.

This book had certainly received a lot of hype in the book community and I can completely understand why. It has an interesting take on fantasy genres by centring around West-African mythology and a religion based magic system. Therefore, I was dying to see how the book portrayed that and delve deep into this unique world that Tomi Adeyemi has built.

Unfortunately, the hype got to me and left me quite disappointed. I was expecting so much from this book and it just didn’t deliver.

‘You crushed us to build your monarchy on the backs of our blood and bone. Your mistake wasn’t keeping us alive. it was thinking we’d never fight back’

The main issue that I have with this book is the world building. Well… not necessarily the world building itself but how it wasn’t explained enough.

Due to the book being fast-paced, the reader is thrown into a world where nothing is really explained. Important things, such as spell casting for the Maji and even the little things such as the way certain terminologies were used and what they meant. This lead to a constant use of google search to try and understand what those terms meant. Which meant you were disengaged from the story.

It just seems that the reader was expected to know the world and understand the ways and the culture.

‘I teach you to be warriors in the garden so you will never be gardeners in the war.’

One of the things that was a hit-or-miss in this book was definitely the characters development.

Written from the alternating perspectives of Zeile, Amari and Inan, it was evident that Adeyemi had written a character driven book. It was interesting to see the different experiences and standpoints that these characters when through. Tomi Adeyemi really portrayed how different these perspectives were and how it adds to the tension of the story.

I have to say, the character developments of these characters was done very well. You really got to see that progression and growth within these characters. It really made you empathise and root for them, as these characters come to their own.

‘Perhaps I made a mistake. Maybe a lionaire lives in me after all.’

However, the other character developments was a complete mess.

It was just the way the character drastically changes their viewpoint, so quickly, from one extreme end of the spectrum to the other. There was just no progression within the character and it made them seemed irrelevant and cheapened the experience of the book.

‘His kiss is tender yet forceful, gently pushing into me. And his lips … soft.’

Romance is often used as a subplot in most YA Novels. That usually comes with certain tropes that can sometimes devalue the main plot of the story. Which, in this case, it did.

The romance in this was just terrible. The way the author had written it made it seem unrealistic and, frankly, caused more trouble than it did good for the main character.

It just fell into a typical YA trope that was not executed well. 

‘On earth, Sky Mother created humans, her children of blood and bone. In the heavens she gave birth to the gods and goddesses. Each would come to embody a different fragment of her soul.

However, with that being said, the best part of this book was definitely the magic system. It was, by far, one of the most unique I’ve ever come across. It was certainly refreshing to see a magic system that was linked to religion and mythology.

Tomi Adeyemi definitely did a great job in linking it to different West-African gods and goddesses who represent different elements and how it is embedded into the Maji culture.

Overall, it was not a bad book. I think if I had read it before the hyped I think I would have enjoyed it more. I just felt that the book needed something… more. And it just left me unsatisfied and lacking.

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Do you plan to read Children of Blood and Bone? What was the last hyped book that you read that disappointed you?


Until Next Time,

Jaz xoxo


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