Children of Blood and Bone appeared to be one of the most anticipated releases across the book community. I first heard about this over twitter when I saw a video of Tomi receiving her copies of the book. It was such a heartwarming video. There's also a great podcast called 88 Cups of Tea where Tomi was interviewed, I highly recommend this episode and podcast in general.
Children of Blood and Bone is a West African inspired fantasy with Avatar the Last Air Bender style magic. All of the yes.
I adored this book, it's so fast paced for being such a tome of a novel and easy to fly through considering some of the complex pronunciations. Admittedly, it took me a little bit to wrap my head around them but you get so immersed in the story that it becomes simple after a while. Immediately, we are introduced to the main character, Zelie. She's incredibly headstrong and courageous but not without her flaws. She's very quick to make her mind up about someone be it good or bad and often is proven wrong. She grew throughout the novel and came into her own, both mentally and with her Maji ability.
The way the magic is constructed in this novel appears complicated at first with all the different names for the different kinds of Maji but is so well thought out and constructed. I love how each tribe has a kind of nickname for example the Maji of Life and Death are called Reapers. I find that its details like that, that really make a novel.
The other POV characters I also liked for the most part. I found the Prince a little bit grating at times because it was so hard to distinguish his loyalties, though it did make for some very tense moments which I liked. Amari is wonderful, similar to Zelie, throughout the novel she developed as a character and I love how her arc finished in this book. I can't wait to see what happens in the next one with her. I was reading this on my break at work and couldn't put it down. I had to finish it.
I got a similar feeling reading this that I did reading the Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Children of Blood and Bone might be a fantasy novel but its themes are still very much applicable today. Reading Tomi's authors note you can feel the motion and passion that went into creating a novel that celebrates differences and exposes unfounded inequality. An incredible read.
Tomi has crafted such a rich world, with characters you want to root for and a plot that leaves you breathless. I need the next one now.