It still hasn't sunk in that this happened. That I met Tomi Adeyemi at the Midland Hotel in Manchester. I know, little old me met a NYT bestselling author that appeared on Jimmy Fallon and BBC Breakfast. Is this even real life?
A huge thank-you to Pan Macmillan for hosting this evening and providing us with the most amazing food. I'm still dreaming of that steak... An equally huge thank-you to Kimi, without whom I wouldn't have been able to attend this surreal evening. Finally, of course a thank-you to Tomi herself to taking time out (on her birthday no less) to chat with us.
Children of Blood and Bone is one of my favourite novels, not just of this year, but all time. Set in a world where a group of people known as the Maji exist, or rather existed. These people were separated into different categories of magic users, everything from elemental wielders to those able to inflict disease. They were viciously hunted, eradicated and oppressed simply because they were born different. And apparently different is dangerous. Now, magic no longer exists, those that would've become Maji have that power closed off to them. One of the main characters, Zelie is one such person. After an encounter with a runaway Princess she quickly learns that magic hasn't gone, not completely...
This book is magical for a multitude of reasons, not just the plot, the characters or the beautiful prose but it's ability to make you question you're own world even though it's set in a completely different one. I got the same gut churning feeling reading this as I did when I read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (review here). What happens in these two books, is happening now. Here. On earth. And that is simply not right.
Children of Blood and Bone educated me and I intend to put it into the hands of as many people as possible.
This absolutely stunning print of Zelie didn't come from the event but I instead took it with me to get it signed. It came from the July Fairyloot box and is illustrated by the incredibly talented Diana Worak. I nearly wept (slight exaggeration but there was a lot of squealing) when I pulled this out of the box. Tomi knew exactly where this was from too which was pretty cool.
However, the amazing Now We Rise poster was from the event...and I also asked Tomi to sign it. She's so sweet. There was all sorts of merch and swag we were given from badges to temporary tattoos! Which I had to refrain from applying there and then...
Of course we also all got our books signed which was amazing but the comment Tomi wrote, it got me a little emotional. We spoke about a lot of different things but the actual craft of writing and the determination was something that cropped up again and again. She is such an inspiring woman, such a kick ass woman. I mean have you seen the Kickboxing videos on her instagram?! It was an absolute honour meeting her.
It was lovely meeting everyone. From the incredible Pan Macmillan team: Andy, Bea and Sarah. Andy certainly knew how to pour the wine..again and again and again. To, of course, Tomi and her boyfriend Jackson who I had the best conversation about gaming with, the other booksellers, bloggers and book industry professionals. As always, it was great to spend time with Kimi, Fi and Lois. Three of the most talented and amazing women I have ever met, and I'm lucky enough to call them friends.
I still can't believe that I now get to do things like this. It's an absolute dream come true.
Again, thank-you to Pan Macmillan for an amazing night.