Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Copyright Date: 2018
Reading Age: 14-18
Reading Level: Grades 9-12
Awards: William C. Morris Debut YA Award, Audie Award, Goodreads Choice Awards Best Debut Goodreads Author, Andre Norton Nebula Award for Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Subgenre: High Fantasy
Children of Blood and Bone is the first book in a trilogy. Book two, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, was released in 2019. The third book in the Legacy of Orisha series was originally set to be published in 2021 but does not, as yet, have a release date—or a title. This epic fantasy story is about a girl whose mother was killed because she was a maji. The maji, people of magic with white hair, have been targeted and murdered and their power taken away. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie Adebola begins on a quest to bring magic back—as long as they can outrun the prince who aims to destroy all magic permanently.
Children of Blood and Bone has the world building of high fantasy, but builds it on top of the mythology of West Africa. It also incorporates modern issues like police killings and the politics of black hair though couched in a magical world. Themes are are approachable to teen readership and the allegories easy to ascertain. It also reexamines the wizard school trope, asking what it would be like to be hunted and feared instead of feeling chosen. Because this high fantasy story introduces the mythology of West Africa, the story can be challenging for those who are used to a more European folk tradition. That challenge is welcome, as it brings in concepts that may be new to many readers of fantasy. It follows the format of the hero's journey but includes situations fans of themes of racism and how discrimination weakens a country. While there was some criticism that this book was too long, the majority of readers felt the pacing was just right for the story. The writing is punchy though detailed and keeps the reader engaged.
This epic high fantasy story introduces the mythology of West Africa and introduces complex Black characters. This hero's journey includes situations fans of fantasy will expect but also investigates racism and how discrimination weakens a country.
About the Author
Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American writer and creative writing coach based in San Diego, California. Her debut novel, CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE, came out March 6th, 2018 and the movie is currently in development at Fox with the producers of Twilight and The Maze Runner attached.
After graduating Harvard University with an honors degree in English literature, she received a fellowship that allowed her to study West African mythology and culture in Salvador, Brazil. When she’s not working on her novels or watching Scandal, she can be found blogging and teaching creative writing to her 3,500 subscribers at tomiadeyemi.com. Her website has been named one of the 101 best websites for writers by Writer’s Digest. (About information found here. Author photo linked in image.)
Adeyemi's book is soon to be made into a movie. Discuss which parts have to be included.
Do you feel the world building really added to the story? Discuss how intricate this high fantasy world is.
Challenge issues: violence
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There are a lot of high fantasy novels with a European folklore foundation. Children of Blood and Bone has the world building of high fantasy, but builds it on top of the mythology of West Africa. It also incorporates modern issues like police killings and the politics of black hair. Couched in a magical world, these themes are brought forth in a way that is compelling to examine. It also stands the wizard school trope on its head since the book's students are taught to hate what makes them magical. It is an interesting, challenging read for teens who love magic and fantasy.