I am going to do this review slightly differently than my first review and hopefully it’s just as good! I will focus on four different elements of the story: basic plot, characters, setting and writing, as well as adding a few notes to the bottom.
Orisha used to be a land of magic, but everything changed several years ago, when magic vanished and maji all over the country were killed by the ruthless King Saran. Now, Zelie is without a mother and the country is without magic. However, a chance to return the powers to the country arises and she must embark on a dangerous journey to bring it back to her people. But she has a time limit, which is closing in fast. And with the crown prince on her trail, the stakes are higher than ever. If Prince Inan catches her and her companions, she will die and magic will be gone for good. But if she can finish her quest before the end of the month, the maji will have hope once again.
Zelie is the first character introduced. She’s amazing at using a staff and is extremely loyal to those she loves. Above all, she wants to protect her brother and father and live a life not in fear. However, as a diviner, someone who carries magic in their blood (but is unable to use it since magic vanished years ago) this is difficult. The king and his men despise diviners and with diviner taxes and constant attention on the white hair that marks diviners for who they are, it’s hard for Zelie to fade into the background. Zelie is the fierce, driven, strong female character who everyone wants to root for the whole way.
Amari is the catalyst. As the Princess of Orisha, she lives in the palace with her father, King Saran, as well as the rest of the royal family. For years she has been fairly clueless to the cruelty her father inflicts on the diviners. However, when she witnesses her father kill her diviner best friend, Binta, after there are hints that magic could return, she escapes the palace. Holding the only thing that could ever bring Orisha to it’s former glory, she meets Zelie and begs for help.
Tzain is Zelie’s older brother who follows Zelie anywhere, no matter how reckless what she does is. Originally furious at Zelie’s choice to help Amari, he still follows the two as they leave on a quest to return magic. However,
Inan is Amari’s older brother and captain of the army. After his sister escapes, he is tasked with tracking down the trio to stop magic from returning and to kill Zelie. Can he reach them in time or will he see what he most despises rise again?
The setting, too, is absolutely beautiful. I can just imagine all of Orisha in my mind, it is so vivid. The book starts out in a seaside town, but we get to see the capital city, a forest temple, a desert and even more!
The writing, however, is what makes this book truly special. Adeyemi’s writing jumps off the page. Everything is described in rich detail and it is easy to see the entire story in your mind’s eye. I love how Adeyemi uses words to craft a masterpiece.
The things I did not like about this book were few and far in between. WARNING: spoilers up ahead. I advise you skip this section of the review if you do not want to read spoilers. I think that the romance was not written as well as it could have been. Inan absolutely despised Zelie for a good part of the book. He literally imagined killing her! Then, they begin working together for a short while and suddenly the two of them are in love! And suddenly he’s promising he’ll do whatever he can to help get magic back. It just seems so sudden. He has been educated by his father his entire life, he looks up to his father, so how does this one person jump into his life and change his mind so suddenly? Then, when he meets his father again, he immediately begins thinking about how awful magic is. But this is a small part in the story and there are many more important things about it.
The most important part of this book is not the story, not the setting, not the writing. It is why Adeyemi wrote this book. This may not even be obvious until you read the author’s note – it is certainly subtle – but it brings the story into so much more being. The author wrote this book to spread the awareness, the pain, the hurt of the lives of black people lost to the police. She wanted to do something, to say something about the black people – men, women and children – who were killed, who will continue to lose their lives at the hands of police officers who never looked past the color of their skin. So when you are reading this book, when you read about the death of a beloved character in this fiction book, think about the deaths of so many more who were real people and could not protect themselves.
All in all, this is a 5/5 star book. There are strong female characters and the entire cast are POC.
One more thing: I buddy-read this book with Katie from The Storybook Sisters’ blog! Check out her review as well to see her thoughts on Children of Blood and Bone. Plus, you can view all of her other posts as well, to find even more fascinating books to read! Here is the link!