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Tomi Adeyemi

Author of Children of Blood and Bone

9 Works 8,033 Members 271 Reviews 4 Favorited

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Includes the name: Tomi Champion-Adeyemi

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I suspect that I'm not the only one who nurtured childhood fantasies of being suddenly wrested from my ordinary experience to have magical adventures. Hence the popularity of "chosen one" narratives, particularly in the young adult genre. Tomi Adeyemi builds on the legacy of the Percy Jacksons and Pevensie siblings that came before, but for her debut novel, Children of Blood and Bone, she grounds it thoroughly outside of the "white people in Western countries" place it has lived for so long. She creates as her world Orisha, loosely based on Nigeria and the magic in her tales comes from the mythology of the region. There used to be magicians in this world, the maji, divided into ten clans with a special connection to gods and goddesses and their representative elements. But then a cruel, autocratic king cracked down and slaughtered the maji. The adults, anyways. The children were left behind.

The loss of her mother in the raid that ended magic haunts teenage Zelie even years later. She takes after her mother in that she's a Diviner, born with the distinctive white hair that marks her as a potential maji and therefore subjected to discrimination. Her brother Tzain, though, is "normal" like their father, who's never recovered from the loss of his wife. Their lives are forever changed when one day Zelie heads to the capital city to go to the market, and runs into Amari, the country's princess, fleeing her father and the palace with a powerfully important scroll. That scroll, along with other artifacts, has the power to bring magic back to Orisha. Zelie, Amari, and Tzain find themselves on the run from the King and his son, Amari's brother Inan, who discovers much to his dismay that he's not as dissimilar from the Diviners he hates as he'd like. An unexpected connection between Zelie and Inan could be what saves them all...or what dooms them.

This is not my usual type of book: I don't read YA particularly often, and it focuses heavily on plot over characterization and prose. Nevertheless, that plot moved forward so relentlessly that it was impossible to resist getting swept up in it, even when it veered toward the ridiculous. From nearly the second we meet them, our characters are under threat, and no sooner does one danger pass than another arises. Even as the story zooms, Adeyemi does some quality world-building, introducing the reader to a deeply earth-rooted system of magic in a way that gave enough detail to be intriguing without gratuitous information-dumping. It's refreshing to read a story that doesn't rely on the same familiar Christian and/or Eurocentric myths for inspiration.

That being said, while the details of the story are fresh, many of the beats are eye-rollingly familiar: enemies to friends, hate to love, capture and rescue. There are serious, serious deficiencies in character development...no one feels like more than a set of keywords and relationships that the readers are clearly supposed to get deeply invested in are so thinly sketched that the "payoff" barely registers. Prose quality that might elevate the more rote elements is absent...the writing isn't at all bad, but neither is it ever more than serviceable. The book doesn't feel like it's meant to be taken in and of itself, but rather as a springboard: for a movie, for sequels. While it's compelling and compulsively readable while it's in your hands, it loses a lot when it's over and you have time to think about it If you're into this genre and these kinds of stories, you'll probably very much enjoy this book. If you're looking for something to keep you entertained on the airplane, this is a solid choice. If this isn't the kind of story you're predisposed to like, though, this is skippable.
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ghneumann | 219 other reviews | Jun 14, 2024 |
Just finished Children of Blood and Bone, and the next book is Children of Virtue and Vengeance. The emotional toll is real. While a work of fiction, the author draws on real world horror and you can tell it affected her to write it. From the horror of the guards treatment of the second class citizens of this story to the horrors of those too young who must deal with the horrors of the world. It is enough fiction to be readable, and real enough to touch the soul. Interspersed with enough with traditional Yoruba myth and language to bridge a gap in understanding. I do not know where the lines of tradition and fiction are in these stories, some are obvious, others not so much. I first found this series at the library while taking classes and did not have time to dedicate to reading it, but read enough to know I would have to come back to it. It only took me 3 days to get through the first book and now I am about to dive into the second for a few hours before bed. I'm listening to the audiobook, which adds an extra level of immersion because the voice fits the story more than my very white midwestern internal voice would.… (more)
 
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SquidgyWriter09 | 219 other reviews | Jun 11, 2024 |
Note like a 3.5. There were parts I really loved, but others that fell a bit flat, or didn’t make sense or were frustrating for that character/plot, but I enjoyed it enough to want to read the next in this series.
 
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jenkies720 | 45 other reviews | Jun 7, 2024 |
Nice narrating by Bahni Turpin, and pretty cool magic wielding, but I'm afraid I've grown weary of the story line. For me, this has begun to feel like just a vehicle for endless battles where character traits and motives exchange places to enable more excuses for battle. I'm not saying it's unrealistic, just that, if it cannot come to a peaceable conclusion after two long books, I've lost faith that it ever will.
 
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TraSea | 45 other reviews | Apr 29, 2024 |

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Keith Thompson Map illustration
Rich Deas Cover artist
Bahni Turpin Narrator
Carina Jansson Translator
Sarah Jones Cover artist
Kathleen Breitenfeld Cover designer
Richard Deas Cover designer
Mallory Grigg Cover designer

Statistics

Works
9
Members
8,033
Popularity
#3,018
Rating
3.9
Reviews
271
ISBNs
96
Languages
13
Favorited
4

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