Children of Blood and Bone — Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha, #1)

TITLE: Children of Blood and Bone
AUTHOR: Tomi Adeyemi
SERIES: Legacy of Orïsha, #1
RELEASED: March 6th, 2018; Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
GENRE: Fantasy
AGE RANGE: YA

SYNOPSIS: Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

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This review has been in the works for a little too, but that’s because it’s a tough title for me to review. I originally received this as an eARC earlier in the year, and made it to about the 40% mark before DNFing it a few weeks before its release. I had already pre-ordered it and wanted to try it again, so I grabbed my finished copy off the shelf in May and read the rest of it over the span of a few days.

“Courage does not always roar. Valor does not always shine.”

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Sometimes, when I set a book aside and come back to it, it’s because I just wasn’t in the right mood—other times, there was never going to be a ‘right mood’ for that particular read, and that’s what happened with this one. I really thought this would be one of my top reads of the year, so you can imagine how difficult it is for me to say that I think it suffered from quite a bit of over-hyping.

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

It felt pretty predictable for the most part, a solid 150-200 pages of it was very boring to me, and most of the characters weren’t enjoyable to read about because they just didn’t feel fleshed out. Zélie was likable, if a bit simplistic, but I think the only character I genuinely enjoyed was Amari; she undergoes a tremendous amount of character growth in a very short span of time, and was honestly the unsung hero of this novel.

“We fought. We persevered. We rose.”

Also, please don’t even get me started on the forced romance in this story. This entire novel would have benefited tremendously from being romance-free, but instead we got this very awkward, uncomfortable pairing that I saw coming from the first page and found myself cringing, waiting for it to happen, until it finally did. When I, as a huge lover of romance in stories, literally end up skim reading entire pages of romantic development, there’s a problem.

“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.”

Of course, it’s not all bad; I know I sound negative and I don’t mean to, because Children of Blood and Bone has a lot of positivity to bring to the table, too. It’s so incredible to see a fantasy novel by an author of color, with entirely POC character casts, and to know that so much of it is inspired by the author’s own heritage (though I am dismayed to have seen several own-voice reviews calling the Nigerian representation flawed). I adore the author as a human being and think she is a delight, and I’m ecstatic to know that she’s already gotten such a killer movie deal for this story.

Will I rush to continue the series? Hard to say. Will I be in the movie theatres supporting the hell out of this adaptation, though? Absolutely! Also, despite my lack of being impressed by the writing itself overall, if you enjoy fantasy stories, I still strongly recommend picking this up—especially if you aren’t as cynical of a reader as I tend to be—because this book has an audience and deserves to be given a chance.

Thank you so much to Henry Holt Books for Young Readers for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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Just a 26-year-old trying to juggle motherhood, grad school, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

42 thoughts on “Children of Blood and Bone — Tomi Adeyemi

  1. Hype is such a double-edged sword, because while it brings much attention it also builds up expectations that often times cannot be filled. I am fortunate that I was able to read an eARC before all the hype exploded and I really loved the story (Amari is the best!). I have fallen victim to the hype more times than I can count (I am still freaking angry about Napoleon Dynamite), to the point that I think I am unconsciously overly critical of super hyped titles now, or I avoid them altogether.

    Thank you for writing your review and sharing your experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are SO RIGHT, hype is definitely a double-edged sword! That’s totally understandable, and I’m so glad it worked so well for you! I can’t help but wonder if it would’ve worked better for me if I’d read my eARC before the hype built up so much, too. I think it doesn’t help that several friends told me it was literally the best thing they’d read in months/years, so I expected to be completely blown away, and it just… didn’t do that for me. 😦

      Thank you for reading and for making me feel understood and valid ♥♥

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kaya! Oh, no – I can understand that for sure. 😦 I was scared to pick up the Throne of Glass series for over a year for the same reason, despite already loving the ACOTAR series – go figure. Hype can really make a series or book intimidating! I do totally recommend giving them a try, though! I like The Cruel Prince a lot, personally, but it wasn’t perfect, either – if I reread it now, I would redo my review, because it was definitely a review I wrote while caught up in the hype and the moment haha.

      Do you like audiobooks? I think the narrator for COBAB is supposed to be amazing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh my gosh, hype is so bittersweet for bookworms! Thank you, I’ll check them both out! But first, I’ve got to lower my expectations haha. It depends on the audiobook but if the narrator is good, I might just have to go that route!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely review! I’m sorry you didn’t love this book as much as everyone else. I was so scared of reading it because of the hype surrounding this book, but ultimately I am very glad I did, I ended up loving this. I’m so happy you enjoyed Amari’s development though, I have to agree that she went through such an incredible growth in the book, I loved it 🙂

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  3. Aw it is like we read two separate books 😭😂 I loved this so much! But I wont argue my case because reading is such a personal experience and I respect that haha. I do think the film adaptation will kick butt if done right 💖 still a fabulous review and I still love ya haha.

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    1. Bahaha don’t you love/hate when that happens! When you have similar tastes to a friend but you’re like, “wait, WHAT?” over their review – it cracks me up. I’m so glad you loved it!! And I definitely am still excited as hell for the movie. Bahaha thank you, I love you too!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely review, Destiny! I’ve had this one sitting on my tbr for a while, and have been scared to pick it up because of all the hype. The last super-hyped book I read was the Cruel Prince, and I was a bit disappointed by it (3.5 star read for me).

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  5. Gahhhh this post is kind of convincing me to change my rating from a 4 to a 3.5 or a 3…There were definitely some things that I liked about this book, but I don’t think that it was out of this world. I’m so glad I’m not alone, Destiny! 😭😂

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    1. Agreed! Even when I was a teen, I remember being refreshed to sometimes find books where romance wasn’t a big aspect or wasn’t in it at all, but as an adult I appreciate it even more because sometimes the romance just isn’t necessary.

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  6. I absolutely adored this book so it was so interesting to read the opinion who saw it as mediocre! Hype is really the downfall to so many damn books, and Im sorry this one didn’t live up to the hype for you 😭

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  7. This book took a me a few weeks to finish. I started as an audiobook but got bored and ended up finishing reading as a hardcopy. I really like Amarie but couldn’t care less about the other characters. I was really turned off by the forced romance and coupling off of the characters. It didn’t make sense.

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    1. I heard the audiobook was pretty good – what did you think? I’ve never listened to anything done by that narrator but she’s one of my partner’s favorites. And yes, same – Amari was the only one I genuinely felt like I could root for.

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  8. I tried a few hours of the audio book and it drove me nuts with how much screaming Zele did in the book! I also didn’t feel connected to it at all, so I’ll try again some other time. Another awesome review as always 🙂

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    1. Oh wow, really? I didn’t know that! I haven’t listened to the audiobook, I just know the narrator is usually pretty widely loved, but there’s no way I could listen to an audiobook with a lot of screaming lol. I’m sorry it didn’t work out so well for you! 😦

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I really, really hope so! I don’t believe I will request an ARC of the sequel – I try not to request sequels of books I didn’t *love*, because I would rather that copy go to someone who did love it – but I will probably grab it from the library or the bookstore once it releases!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh man, so sad when this happens. I haven’t read this one, but I just know that everyone whose review I’ve seen have loved it. I am hype resistant 😀 that’s too bad about the forced romance too. That’s never a good way to go 😮 a shame you had a hyped ARC and it didn’t work out! Must be one hell of a disappointing feeling when that happens.

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  10. Omg that sucks that you didn’t enjoy it! I know the hype is real with this one but I hope I enjoy it! I hope your next read is better!

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