Now let me just say, the book recommendations coming out of bookstagram have been winning – the ones I end up buying that is. I remember in 2018 this book was everywhere and anywhere I cared to look on my bookstagram feed (@vuvuvena_reads if you don’t follow me yet). By the time I got a copy I was familiar with the synopsis and I had no doubt that the recipe was one after my own heart.
Tomi Adeyemi, Nigerian-American author blew out the lights with this debut novel. I recently reread it and let me just say, JAW FREAKEN DROP, I am in awe of the level of amazing I lived through in this book.
I was recently going through the most, life and work wise, and as we all know picking up a book at such times is never easy, so this is my official first read of the year and I have zero regrets.
Children of Blood and Bone is told in the first person perspective of three main characters, Zelie, Amari and Inan. Set in the magical land of Nigeria, the colour, culture and the beauty of Africa seeps through Tomi’s writing. I will confess, at some point I did google a map of Nigeria as I felt she took me through its length and breadth in this 500-odd paged YA adventure.
The actual story revolves around Zelie, a diviner (a child born with the potential gift of magic, but not yet able to practice). Born in Orisha, a kindgdom set on extinguishing magicians or maji, Zelie has kept the fire and faith in her bones alive. Early on in her life she watches her mother, a maji (a grown up with fully fledged magical gifts to manifest) killed by the Orishan army at the command of the king. Magic died with her mother.
Tomi takes us on an adventure of rediscovering and reclaiming magic. As we travel this road with Zelie and her brother Tzain, a brave princess straight out of the horrid king’s castle, Amari and her brother Inan, we have to question whether it’s Orisha’s magic that we are on a quest to reclaim or our own.
Tomi, is undoubtedly a spellbinding storyteller. I must say, in her writing I find the kind of gift distinct in African story tellers. She was born with this kind of magic, it’s palpable in her choice of words and the pictures she paints.
This book, though filled with so much pain and sorrow is a resurrection of the magical parts of us we’ve learned to numb down due to society and every horrid thing we hear or witness on a daily basis. It is a reminder of how hard we have to fight to keep our own magic alive, lest it is taken from us.
Let’s stand guard over the things that make us special.