BookPage Teen Top Pick, March 2018
Tomi Adeyemi’s hefty fantasy debut—set in a kingdom with traditions and mythology reminiscent of Nigeria and greater West Africa—is an astounding feat of storytelling and world-building.
Seventeen-year-old Zélie is a divîner, one who is born with the ability to perform gods-given magic and easily distinguishable by their white hair. When their magic fully manifests, divîners can become maji—but that was before the cruel king of Orïsha ordered an anti-magic raid that killed Zélie’s mother. Since the raid, magic has disappeared, and divîners have been relegated to second-class citizens.
When hotheaded, impulsive Zélie and her nondivîner brother, Tzain, go to the market in the nearby capital, they end up helping a young woman escape the city guards. The girl turns out to be Amari, princess of Orïsha, who has discovered the reason magic disappeared—and a possible means to get it back. However, next in line for the throne is Amari’s older brother, Inan, who is determined to thwart the trio’s plan. But Inan has a secret of his own: There is a power awakening within him that connects him to the magic he fears and to his enemy, Zélie.
This epic is filled with fascinating landscapes, complex mythology and nuanced characters coping with a world on the brink of massive change. The royals must confront their power, privilege and the horrific deeds of the king, while Zélie and Tzain reckon with the psychological ripples of their mother’s death.
Unmistakably descended from traditional high fantasy, Children of Blood and Bone is perfectly positioned to join the ranks of sprawling speculative worlds for teens, bringing with it a much-needed Afrocentric perspective.