ARC Review: Audiobook: C.J.: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

review         book

Book Covertitle: Children of Blood and Bone
author: Tomi Adeyemi
pages: 525
format: Audiobook
buy it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
rating: 5/5 (from hated to loved) or 6.5/10 (all books I've ever read)
recommended for: Fans of anything Tamora Pierce, Sarah J. Maas (like it used to be in the good old days, but CBB is way more skillful), or Susan Dennard.
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and 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 the enemy.

in depth

  • People have called this the Nigerian Harry Potter and, while it has nothing in common as far as boarding schools or Voldemorts or wands, it's very much the same in that it's badass. A fantasy like no other, intricate and solid and alive. It's big enough to give someone a head wound but it feels still too short. 

  • The characters are iconic. Zelie is an explosive main character, feisty and hotheaded and vibrantly alive. Her supernova personality is tempered by Amani's quiet slyness and Inan's brooding raincloud ferocity. Zelie is the lion, Amani the panther, Inan the thunderstorm brewing behind dark clouds. I'm not sure why Tsain doesn't get a POV, but he's no cardboard side character; he's the self-righteous jock with an easy grin and protective streak. Tomi deftly navigates the shifting dynamics between them: royals colliding with commoners, Diviners colliding with the non-magical, boys and girls blushing with first attraction. By the end, I knew them all intimately. 

  • The villain is as much a side character as society. Sure, the king is evil and he started the fall of magic, but his true triumph was marginalizing the magical Diviners from the nonmagical kosidan so thoroughly that Diviners lives are nearly expendable, Diviners are feared and hated by their own communities. It's a skillful narrative of oppression that could only have come from the poignancy of experience. 

  • The world, too, benefits from experience. Tomi's Nigerian heritage breathes life into every page, every description, every line of Yoruba, every moniker inspired by or borrowed from life. Lionaire. Panthener. Orisha. The rich smells of food and colors of cloth, the feel of jungle humidity and desert dryness. The way people speak and interact. The magic (elemental, which I love!) fits so perfectly into the worldview of the Orishan people that you could never just excise it and throw it into another story. A whole, like a tightly woven rug. It's a world Tomi is at home in, and she renders it so vividly as to make it a home for the reader too. 

  • Did I mention Tomi's writing? She's sharp as all get-out. Wickedly funny. Poignant and purring. Lyrical. She draws out the description when she needs to and stabs you with a pithy knife when it's time. It's the kind of writing that doesn't make itself obvious by clumsiness or defect; it interlocks perfectly with the plot. 

  • Narration style. So important in audiobooks, and the hook that yanked me in. I don't usually do audiobooks, actually. Not if I haven't read the book in print before. But when Macmillan offers you an audio ARC of one of your most hyped books, you take it. It was perfect, sensational. I don't know if the narrator is Nigerian, but she obviously has a familiarity with the Yoruba language. The cadences of her different voices and the natural grace with which she reads the Yoruba passages livens the text into a verbal painting. It was also notable that the Yoruba culture is rich in oral tradition, so being able to experience CBB as a story being told to me aloud had an extra importance. The songs were sung, the chants chanted, the pacing tense and dramatic. 

  • I'd recommend Children of Blood and Bone without reservation and with wild enthusiasm. I can't tell you how much I freaked out when I got to the final cliffhanger and there was no more! The sequel can't come too soon. I miss Zelie and her world. 

in a sentence

Children of Blood and Bone is a darkly whimsical magical adventure with a sweeping, epic scope and fierce heart. 


will i read this author again?  Instantly 
will i continue the series?  Gimme the sequel and see. Please? 

Note: I received this copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.  The price of the book and its origin in no way affected my stated opinions.

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