Fabulous world-building, feisty characters
Zélie remembers when the land of Orïsha was filled with magic. When different clans ruled – Burners igniting flames, Tiders beckoning waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoning forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, anyone with powers was targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Only a few people remain with the power to use magic, and they must remain hidden. Zélie is one such person. Now she has a chance to bring back magic to her people and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must learn to harness her powers and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic.
I’ve heard a lot of buzz surrounding this Teen/YA novel and I’d already read a six chapter sampler to whet my appetite. After completing this I was eagerly awaiting more. This book didn’t disappoint. I’ve recently been impressed with the world building of recent novels and Children of Blood and Bone continued in this vein.
The pages hum with the sights and smells of a world, rich, exotic and vibrant. It’s some feat to be able to bring a world to life in so much that you can taste and feel what the author is describing. It’s apparent that there are West North African influences at play here and it is beautifully realised.
The characters, both male and female, are strong, well developed and interesting. Zelie, the main character, is excellent, feisty and fiery but kind and mischievous. Definitely a character all children can relate to. We have a great baddie in the King ( I love a baddie) and a rather unused but hopefully more prominent character in any sequel, Roen, a loveable rogue in the Han Solo mould.
The book, like so many these days, is narrated from a three perspective point of view, with the story bouncing around from character to character. Sometimes this can bog a book down, but not in Children of Blood and Bone, this tool of different perspective ensured that the pace was kept high and the reader engaged.
This was a book full of myth,legend and lore, woven together beautifully encompassing class differences, themes of racism, oppression and the use of power. There’s lots of action and there are some quite brutal moments but this is important and adds to the impact.
Things I didn’t like? Not a great deal, a slight criticism that the ending was a little rushed also I didn’t go much on the romance but hey I guess I’m not the target audience for that. A really impressive debut, a sure fire success and if not already lined up for a movie, it will be.