Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi is a fantasy adventure set in a West African inspired fantasy world, Orïsha following the story of Zélie as she tries to bring magic back to the world.
Before I go into the low down of the book….I just want to say I’m in awe of this author. In awe. She talked on a podcast (on 88 cups of tea – check it out ) about her process for writing the story, and she completed the first draft very quickly. She then completed the revisions (again – super quickly) and submitted to a competition called Pitch Wars. For anyone who hasn’t heard of this competition, it’s US based (but anyone can enter) and it has a great reputation with agents and editors. Hopefuls submit their first pages of a completed manuscript to a choice of four mentors, and if you get picked by a mentor, they go through your entire book with you, reshaping and revising it to get it ready for the agent round. If you get that far, like this author did, then your first 250 words and pitch are put on the pitch wars website as part of the agent showcase, ready for agents to request – or not.
Children of Blood and Bone was requested by 33 separate agents. This book was in high, high demand before it was even sold to a publisher. You can see her entry here
So going back to the actual book, it’s set after magic has disappeared from the world. The ruthless king hunts down and kills every magic user, including Zélie’s mother. The children under 13 are left alive as their magic has not yet matured. Zélie is one of them.
She is asked for help by a runaway princess, who has stolen something that could change everything. Zélie decides to help her, with the intention of finally bringing magic back into the world and restoring her and her peoples’ legacy.
But they are pursued by the princess’s brother, a conflicted, brain washed prince who believes it is his absolute duty to hunt them down and destroy all hope of magic ever entering their world again.
This is such a lush fantasy world, from the depths of the jungle to the middle of the desert, the author describes the setting so well, you feel like you are running alongside Zélie, willing her to run a little faster, to succeed.
The hatred against her people is so visceral, and all stemming from the king’s own paranoia that they will rise up against him. By effectively irradiating an entire generation, he has embedded terrible racism and hatred in his kingdom, where they call Zélie a ‘maggot’ for her beautiful white hair.
This book was kindly given to me by Macmillan Children’s Books and I am so grateful for the opportunity to read and post a review of this story. The way it ends makes me hopeful for a sequel…it can’t be over yet!
You can find it on amazon in the UK here and I hope you get as lost in Zélie’s world as I did!